The Empire Strikes Back 106 – The Time of Troubles 1912-1913

18 August 1912

With the extended war, We found there was a greater need for health care. We determined it would be best to provide basic care for all people within the Empire.

At the beginning of July, Java surrendered to us. Mass recruitment for XI. Legio and XXXXII. Legio began immediately.

The German front continues to move forward. IV. Legio and XXVI. Legio are occupying the north. XII. Legio has moved from the central line to begin occupying central Germany. There has been the occasional attack from Flanders-Wallonia, but they have been easily defeated.

The northern Polish corridor has been expanded, and the southern one secured all the way to the Hungarian border. As in Germany, freshly recruited Polish forces are harassing XXIV. Legio, but they have had little success.

XVII. Legio was sent to Africa instead of Flanders-Wallonia. They should be in position to attack the Russian army early next month.

While mass recruiting begins in Oceania, Australian forces have begun to land in New Guinea.

XXXVII. Legio is holding off a Russian attack, and once they win, II. Legio will take their place to give them a chance to rest and recover.

Finally, an exhibition showing the best Expressionist works of the Empire open on 26 August. As always, you are all invited to the gala opening the exhibition.

Slowly but surely we are achieving victory. This was never going to be a speedy affair. With each rebel state brought down and returned to the Empire, we move one step closer to ending this conflict. I pray that the aggressive powers rampaging through Anatolia make it no further than that. It is fortunate that Germany seems to be close to defeat, for we can shift focus elsewhere.

– Senator Donatello Favero

Nestorius was very happy to hear about the introduction of trinket health care, but grew even happier when the news of Java’s surrender reached him. His excitement disappeared when he heard the Australians are finally taking action, as well as the news of how far the Russians have pushed in.
“Hopefully, we shall be able to beat back the Australians and the Russians soon enough. At the very least, the Germans seem to be close to surrendering.”

Hearing the news of the exhibition, he spoke; “Once again, I am honored to have been invited to such an exhibition!”

18 November 1912

After the last address, We sent IX. Legio and XVI. Legio to attack the complacent Russian forces in Anatolia, while the expeditionary army sought to bring a few provinces back under Our control.

Meanwhile, the opening of the Expressionism exhibit was a wonderful time. We are now gathering the best of the modern works for one more gallery.

The battle of Askaleh was a complete success, any Russian survivors surrendering to XXXVII. Legio. The victorious legion moved to Damascus to rest and recover while II. Legio took their place.

During these months, the social sciences department was better able to clarify how people relate to each other on a societal level.

Summarizing the war:

Germany continues to fall to us. XXVI. Legio is sealing the Kiel peninsula, but will not be able to advance to the Baltic islands due to the presence of the German Fleet. IV. Legio and XII. Legio have taken Central Germany, and are working their way west. XXIII. Legio and XXIX. Legio have left the defensive line in central Germany and are occupying the Hesse-Nassau region. X. Legio would join them, but is waiting for new recruits to join up. VII. Legio, XXVII. Legio, XXVIII. Legio, and XXX. Legio are finishing the occupation of southern Germany. Meanwhile, the American army has pacified Rotterdam and is occupying Amsterdam.

The northern Polish corridor has been expanded, and will soon be merged with the southern corridor.

XV. Legio has been fully reinforced and is preparing to land in Middelburg. We expect Flanders-Wallonia to swiftly capitulate.

XVII. Legio completed expelling Russia from central Africa. We plan to send them to fight Adal next.

XXV. Legio and XXXVI. Legio have been completely reinforced with Iberian recruits, but are waiting for new transport ships to join the fleets to bring them to the fight. XXXVIII. Legio is still recruiting Iberian regiments, and should be ready by late March 1913. As the Oceania recruitment is likely to take a few years, We are considering ship them to that front.

South Africa’s occupation is slow thanks to the hills and mountains. But the legions’ work is inexorable.

We can spare legions for Oceania because the Russian advance into Anatolia has been entirely broken. There are hints of new armies marching forth, but for now We can focus on reclaiming these lands.

26 August 1912
At the opening of the Expressionism exhibit, Nestorius and Hairini were once more in attendance, with lil’ Timon once more being babysitted by the Aeteorean HQ. Unlike last time, where they made an impression with their clothing, here they expressed their newfound joy in parenthood by wearing complementary colors – Nestorius wore a weld yellow attire, while Hairini wore a woad blue attire.

18 November 1912

Nestorius appeared alone at the Senate, something which was becoming a repeating occurrence that no one really questioned. The news of the opening’s reception made him as happy as he heard of the success of Impressionism. He couldn’t wait to see the modern pieces. Commenting on the military news; “It is great to hear that we are successfully pushing back the invaders, especially in Anatolia. Soon enough, Germany and Flanders-Wallonia will have to capitulate. While I would normally be supportive of sending more troops to liberate Oceania, I think it would be safe to only do so after the Russians had been pushed past Armenia. You can never expect what those Russians have up their sleeves.”

18 February 1913


The Philippines, Aoteorea, and Australia tried to negotiate status quo peace treaties with Us after the last address. We rejected all out of hand.

We had been receiving reports of employers working people to the point of collapse. We decided to implement basic protections against this kind of abuse. Only the most extreme of employers should be affected, and the most vulnerable workers are now much better off.

As well, We began hearing of the increasing popularity of Realist music and of Expressionist literature.

Sadly, Persia annexed Baluchistan, achieving the original aim of their war. And yet the war has become a thing so much more than that aim.

On the positive side, on December 21, Germany surrendered, giving up their colony in central Africa.

The military situation has continued to change rapidly, so We will summarize:

Germany has surrendered. Most of the legions have returned to Pannonia to rest, recover, and redeploy elsewhere. IV. Legio marched west to Flanders-Wallonia, and XXIV. Legio marched east to Poland-Lithuania.

Flanders-Wallonia is half occupied, their armies and fleets destroyed. And yet they refuse to give in. We look forward to when they are reincorporated, their spirit channeled towards Roman ends.

Poland-Lithuania is also half occupied, though they also have their overseas colonies. Their fleets have all been sunk, and they have barely any land forces left. They would agree to a basic capitulation, but they must be punished for their attack on the Empire. They will not yet agree to free Cambodia, and so XXVI. Legio and XXIV. Legio will continue to work their way north, occupying them until they surrender.

The inexorable occupation of South Africa crawls forward.

And the occupation of Adal has begun.

Senator Thaddas and his wife will be pleased to hear that XXV. Legio and XXXVI. Legio are sailing for Aoteorea to end the reign of terror there. They expect to be in sight of the coast by mid-April. A division of the Oceania Fleet has gone ahead and begun scouting the nearby waters.

It looks as if India needs assistance, and we should hopefully be able to send some now that Germany is out of the war.

Anatolia has completely returned to Our control, and the legions are pushing north to the Russian border. We hope to form a defensive line and then send forces through Persia to sweep invaders first from the possibility of attacking the Empire, and then from India.

Although if their retaking of Persia from India continues too quickly, we may find ourselves with a wide front yet again.

The capitulation of Germany is a welcome change to this war. That will allow us much greater focus on other theatres of war.

It is also good to hear that Anatolia has been retaken. The idea that those perfidious Russians were so close to Constantinople was intolerable.

– Senator Donatello Favero

Nestorius was glad that the status quo peace treaties were refused, happy that the workers received a max on their workhours, and thrilled to hear more about Realist music and Expressionist literature. Baluchistan losing its independence was offset by Germany surrendering, in his opinion, and Flanders-Wallonia and Poland-Lithuania were getting their just deserts. But before he could comment on the Russians being pushed out of Anatolia, India being crushed, and Adal being invaded, he heard the news of troops being sent to Aeteorea; “The dictatorship ruling those islands will finally fall!” he cheered, obviously very excited over the news. He only wished Kyrene was here to join in his joy.

18 May 1913


This has been a good few months.

On March 27, Poland-Lithuania finally agreed to free Cambodia in order to secure peace. XXIV. Legio and XXVI. Legio began traveling through Ukraine to head for the border with Russia.

The following day, the occupation of Flanders-Wallonia was completed and the nation reintegrated to the Empire.

We have also nearly completed gathering representatives of the best modern works of the Empire. We will hold a grand exhibition on 12 June. We are well pleased by the celebrations of Roman culture these past years.

To summarize the war:

Poland and Flanders-Wallonia have both surrendered. The legions in Flanders-Wallonia are recovering and recruiting new regiments, after which they will likely be sent against Scotland.

The South Africa occupation continues. We hope that when Cape Town is fully pacified that they will surrender.

Adal has fallen swiftly, but refuses to give in.

The occupations near Russia have been pushed back nearly to the border, and there are sufficient legions to hold the border while others push against the forces in Persia.

In fact, the threat of an invasion of the Empire from Persia now seems unlikely, which means We can send forces to relieve India.

Finally, the legions have landed in the two Aoteorean ports.

Nestorius was glad to hear of the capitulation of both Poland-Lithuania and Flanders-Wallonia. Cambodia could serve to be a useful ally if need be, but he wondered how They were going to deal with the fact that Burgundy was now dividing Roman Belgium from the rest of Roman Europe. He noted down the date of the grand exhibition, as he nodded to the successes against South Africa, Adal and Russia. Just as he was about to comment on the situation in Persia, he heard the news of the legionary landing on both Aeteorean islands.

“Hopefully, we will be able to topple the rule of Tane!”

In Aeteorea

The Waata family continued to struggle in their attempts to survive at Tipene’s camp. By August of 1912, Anaru started feeling the effects of sleep deprivation, resulting in his mother Anahera forcing him to sleep, with her taking his watch instead. As they began rotating, soon joined by Hinewai, different rumors began appearing alongside the horrifying ones. Ones that said that the Empire was coming.

Tipene himself was getting nervous. The camps around him were getting more and more increasingly hostile, especially in regards to servitus, stuprum, and more. Some even had gynaeceums, filled with enslaved women, used in incredibly fetishistic ways. In comparison, Tipene had only tortured people in a surprising amount of ways and handed people off to be experimented on. He knew that, if he wanted to establish himself above the rest of the camps in the area, he had to do what the others did – but worse.

As he began considering who he’d wanted to inflict such a fate on, one of his guards rushed in. “Sir! We have news from the north of the island!”

“Spit it out then, I haven’t got all day.”

“The Empire has landed!”

Tipene’s face went blue; “Make sure the area is prepared in case they come south. Hopefully the winter will catch them off guard. But now, I wish for no interruptions. I’ve got to deal with some women.”

Back in Constantinople

Nestorius remembered that Kyrene had given him a note and took it out.

“My wife has sent a message: ‘When the legions arrive in Aeteorea, make sure to liberate all suffering – ghettos, camps, everything;’ Alongside this, while she didn’t ask me to mention this, her family is located in the south, around the Central Otago region. If any camps are found in that area, please check if her family is in any of them.”

It seems that Central Europe has calmed now that both Germany and Poland-Lithuania have signed a peace treaty. Now we can finally push those nefarious Russians from our lands and crush those rebel states that dare defy the Empire. I aspire one day to return to my home outside Venice in a time when the Empire is unified once more.
– Senator Donatello Favero

The Empire Strikes Back 105 – The Time of Troubles 1911-1912

18 August 1911


After the Communist attack on Constantinople, We began making overtures of peace with the France, Brittany, and Britannia. While the negotiations were under way, British forces battered the defensive lines in Pannonia. The lines held long enough for the peace treaties to be signed, and no new airships stuck the lines before that point. We are developing defenses against airships, but they will take time to deploy. This peace buys us that time.

On 22 May, We began implementing school reforms. While for hundreds of years, the local church has provided free education to all comers, children were not required to attend schools. With these reforms, all children from age six to age ten will be required to attend these schools. In time this will alleviate the losses during the sack. In the meanwhile, the best and brightest from other universities are taking advantage of the new openings at the University of Constantinople.

The Eastern Mediterranean Fleet took a chance to strike at the Persian navy on 12 June. The Red Sea Fleet is moving to support them, but has had to fight off small navies from Hedjaz and Adal on the way. The resulting ‘Battle of Mascate Coast’ was a hard-fought battle, but the fleets were victorious.

In mid-June, We received disquieting news of a large communist revolution in India. We are not certain how this will affect their support in the war.

At the beginning of July, Burgundy proposed a peace in which we recognized them as a nation. In return, they offered the eagles of all the legions lost in the civil war. They had used every trick in the book to gather the eagles, and correctly recognized that We must assuage the dishonor of the eagles being lost in the first place.

Several weeks after it would have been most helpful, the legions developed effective defenses against poison gas attacks.

And as a result of the economic damage from the sack, the courts developed clear means of declaring bankruptcy, both for individuals and businesses.

On the seventh of July, Ming capitulated to Russia. This would allow both blocks of alliances to focus on our network of alliances.

Through the rest of July and the beginning of August, the legions fought on in every theater.

Just two days ago, Spain sent a message that they would completely capitulate and become a part of the Empire once more. We of course accepted their capitulation, and agreed that the leaders of their rebellion would not be punished beyond the stripping of their citizenship and their exile from the Empire.

The legions in Iberia are now moving to occupy Catalonia.

The Pannonian legions are moving to reclaim the alps and secure the German border.

Moldavia having been reclaimed, XXVI. Legio and IV. Legio are securing a supply line from Ukraine to Germany. Meanwhile, XXIV. Legio, having beaten the Russian nationalist ‘rebellion’ in Ukraine, is looking to cut all supply lines passing through Poland-Lithuania.

II. Legio is driving off any enemy armies it can in Armenia. But while it can beat any of them, they are too numerous to contain.

IX. Legio is fighting back a German expedition to save Hedjaz.

Meanwhile, I. Legio, XIX. Legio, and XXXXVII. Legio continue to occupy the Arabian nation.

South Africa is slowly being pacified.

And XI. Legio and XXXXII. Legio are securing Oceania. But their efforts may be undone by a Javan army that has begun an invasion.

In addition to England’s efforts to occupy Guyana, it has also mounted bold attacks against the UTA.

The war continues, and the Empire fights on.

The rebuilding of Constantinople continues. 10 Million Drachmas have been allocated from the Imperial treasury to cover the damage to the banking system and to rebuild the city. The new housing buildings are being built rapidly, and the plans for a new Hagia Sophia and a new Blachernae are nearly complete. How are the plans for the replacement Great Palace progressing?

Although I am disquieted to hear of our defeat on numerous theaters, I have the utmost confidence in this Empire to return from the shame of defeat and rise from the ashes once more like a phoenix. I am confident that our legions are capable enough to defeat the barbaric Asiatics and Eastern Europeans.

-Senator Palaiologos

Theodora ignored the sound of construction going on behind her. “The rebuilding of the Grand Palace is going according to schedule,” she said, “As is the investigation into why the Ministry of Security failed to stop this attack from happening. There appear to be moles and traitorous elements within my Ministry, and I will not rest until I purge them all as the rebel scum they are.”

Following the “Red Tragedy”, Nestorius, Hairini and co. worked their darnedest to help the others throughout the ruins of Constantinople. Romanitas- Romanity- was displayed all throughout. The construction of a newer, much nicer and more modern estate for the Thaddoi family would not only serve better as the continuously makeshift HQ for the Aeteorean governorship, but as a nice home for future generations of the family. Several of Nestor’s subordinates, Lykidis, Antecheirinidis and Taior specifically, all became more involved politically and resigned from the governorship.

The former two would be using the opportunity to try and get more influence, as to become nobles themselves and possibly finally become the Dalmatian governors. Whether or not either of them would achieve this goal, no one knows. Meanwhile, the latter formed his own little political group, pushing for full Romanity throughout the Empire, saying that “united, we all stand stronger” and “if the Romans of old could do it, we could do it better.” Nestorius wished him good luck, but whether or not anything will change will depend on the people.

Nestorius began noticing Hairini acting differently in that time. She had become a bit more distant from him, and the times when he does see her, it is because she’s feeling fatigued, or nauseous, or she disapproved of a meal she had. He even thought he heard her vomit. When the senators were called to get ready for the next session, she chose not to come with him.

18 August 1911
Nestorius felt somewhat lonely, despite being with the other senators. Not wanting to feel out of place, he commented on the news given.

“It is great to hear about the reforms being put in place for schools. In our time, we need to educate as many as we can. With half of Iberia back under Roman control, hopefully we’ve shown that we’re not pushovers, especially with the mess that happened a month earlier. Hopefully, we’ll be able to re-secure Oceania soon. I know someone might be happy to hear about that.”

18 November 1911

Through August and September, the legions continued fighting in their same theaters. By mid-September, We better understood why citizens of the Empire might not feel Roman, and could begin to take means to resolve these issues.

We then began restoring the museums of Constantinople. Replacement ancient works had poured in from collections throughout the Empire, but We were unhappy that the modern collections were such a joke. In September, We began gathering the best Romantic period works from around the Empire.

By the end of September, the German mission to save Hedjaz had finally been defeated. IX. Legio and XXXVII. Legio resumed operation in Armenia, which was slowly falling to the Russians. Germany and Russia had tied up II. Legio in a months-long battle in Bitlis, and other forces were overwhelming the region. Likewise, XVI. Legio had been reinforced enough to help, and was marching from Macedonia to aid the Armenian front.

Despite the war, life went on. One of the archaeological expeditions in Egypt explored an ancient tomb, inspiring academics and artists all over the Empire.

By October, XXIV. Legio had carved a corridor to the Baltic Sea, cutting off enemy supply lines. A German army sought to restore these lines, and XXIV. Legio trapped them, capturing thousands of German conscripts.

The beginning of November saw the increased understanding of popular dissatisfaction with, well, everything. It was clear that whatever the political system, people would blame it for their issues.

In better news, the Romantic collection was fully gathered a week ago. There will be a grand display for the collection tonight, showing the best of the Romantic works. It will remain open while We gather the best Impressionist works of the Empire, after which it will be properly cataloged and placed in permanent collections in the museums of Constantinople.

Now to review the military situation:

Along the German border, the entire alpine region has been returned to Imperial control, and the legions are about to take the fight to German lands.

Catalonia is nearly fully occupied, yet they are not willing to capitulate. Nevertheless, a number of transport fleets are prepared to move the legions to other fronts once it falls. However, we are considering taking the time to reinforce them with Iberian recruits first.

A supply corridor between Ukraine and eastern Germany is nearly complete. IV. Legio and XXVI. Legio will soon complete it. Meanwhile XXIV. Legio is fighting off any German or Polish armies seeking to break the supply lines.

The South African front moves well, if slowly.

In Oceania, XI. Legio and XXXXII. Legio have seized much enemy lands, and are embarking for a daring attack on the Hedjaz island of Taibei.

However, Java continues to seize other islands.

Hedjaz continues to fall sway to I. Legio and XIX. Legio, though there is now a Russian mission to reclaim their land.

The Armenian front is simply a mess. The battle of Dayr al-Zour was lost as Russia continued sending reinforcements to keep fighting XXXVII. Legio. The legion is moving to Alexandria to rest and recover.

And while India has mostly defeated their rebellion, they now are facing Ming and Japanese troops. It is unlikely they can assist us in the near future.

18 February 1912


We were well pleased to hear of the success of the Romantic period gala. Already the works of several authors have seen a resurgence in popularity.

Shortly after the last address, We increased the amount of unemployment subsidies within the Empire. The previous ones helped, but still could not properly provide for those who could not support themselves.

When the Philippine Fleet arrived off the coast of Tainan on 29 November, they discovered two large Hedjaz armies. The forces in the region would not be able to face these armies, and so instead landed in the Philippines.

Unfortunately, the Philippine Army was too quick and too strong, and the legions were forced to retreat.

The fall of Valencia on 10 December forced Catalonia to capitulate. As with Spain, only the leaders were punished, being stripped of their citizenship and exiled. The Iberian people were given the chance to display their Romanitas by joining the legions, and they did so in throngs. The legions in Iberia are being greatly reinforced before being sent to other fronts.

With the victory in Sinop on December 22, XVI. Legio marched towards Kayseri in order to assist IX. Legio in their battle. With their assistance, the battle was won.

In January, the forces in Oceania decided to strike at Java. The Philippine Fleet would attempt to trap their army on the Sunda Islands, while the legions struck at Batavia.

To summarize the current military situation:

The Polish corridors remain open, though the city of Lublin was retaken by a Polish force. XXIV. Legio destroyed that force and is re-occupying the region.

In Germany, IV. Legio and XXVI. Legio are occupying the eastern portions. In the south, the stronger legions have taken a forward border that they are holding, while the weaker legions are occupying the lands between.

South Africa continues to slowly fall to XXXIII. Legio, XXXV. Legio, and XXXIX. Legio.

In Oceania, the Javan plan in under way, with the legions striking at the beginning of March.

Hedjaz is falling to the Empire, and the Russian force sent to save it was defeated like the German force before it.

India has occupied most of Persia, but Ming and Japanese troops are pouring over the border.

Finally, the Russians have taken most of Armenia and are moving on Anatolia. The legions are making a fighting retreat, the Eastern Mediterranean Fleet is preventing any crossing of straits, and plans are being made to defend the Levant itself.

In non-military news, the industrialists of the Empire have better learned how to match employees to the right jobs.

As well, the Impressionist collection is gathered and being prepared. On February 23, We will host a grand unveiling. You are all invited, of course.

Alexios looks displeased. “The end of war in Iberia is excellent, but the news from Anatolia is looking grim. Are the legions completely without back-up?”

February 1912
The former Favero estate outside Venice

Donatello Favero had had enough. He had watched as everything his family had ever built had been taken away by some pompous buffoon, only to receive word in the following months that his father had died in the attack on Constantinople. The latter had left him numb, and he had refused to return to the capital to serve as senator as his father’s successor, at least not yet. He could not leave Italy, not with unfinished business. Continuing to serve as diplomat and making minor agreements to maintain an deteriorating peace had provided the perfect cover to prepare his revenge, and the time was finally right.

Giuseppe Lombardi, the egotistical false monarch that he was, decided that one coronation was not quite enough. After being crowned king of Italy in Rome, he decided that he would then be crowned again in every single major city in Italy. He had just recently been crowned in Venice and was spending the weekend relaxing in the former Favero estate. Donatello had expected no less for the man. With his knowledge of the layout of the entire estate, he was able to sneak in without anyone noticing and prepare his devious trap. It had also allowed him to see the modifications made to his home. It was unrecognizable. The entire building had been redone in gaudy colours. Semi-nude statues of the king, as well as portraits of himself, could be found in almost every room. The worst insult was the fact that the so-called king had tore down the Favero mausoleum, digging up all his ancestors, to build a shrine to himself. Donatello was practically frothing at the mouth as he made the final preparations.

The king arrived with much fanfare, so much that Donatello could hear it from his hiding spot within the secret tunnels beneath the estate. Knowing Lombardi as he did, he expected the king would spend some time soaking in the attention and then retire to the most luxurious room in the mansion to indulge in wine and women. That would be his downfall. When the fanfare died down, Donatello could almost hear the footsteps of the king he was so sure of his movements. When the timing seemed right, he lit the match and ignited the end of the gunpowder trail laid out on the floor. He watched it start burning away for a moment before hurrying away down the tunnel. He didn’t want to be anywhere nearby when it went off. Soon revenge would be his.

* * * * *

“Another glass of wine, Your Majesty?”

“Of course,” King Giuseppe Lombardi said, propping up his glass. The moment it was full, he chugged the whole thing with a satisfied grin. “This truly is the life.”

As he waited for another refill of his wine glass, a young woman, barely 18, walked in dressed in nothing but a robe. She teased him by loosening the strap to reveal more of her shapely body, enough to entice without giving away too much.

“Why you’re a pretty thing,” Giuseppe Lombardi said. “I’ll have to pay the servants extra for finding you.”

With a seductive smile on her face, the woman slid down next to him and moved to whisper in the king’s ear. It was then he heard a strange fizzling sound, as though something was burning. He pushed the woman away, sniffing at the air. The scent was faint, but there was the barest hint of smoke on the air. He turned to his servant to ask what that was, but not a word left his mouth.

A loud boom reverberated through the air and a giant pillar of flame burst from the floor. The king, the young woman, and the servant were all incinerated in an instant. Flaming pieces of wood and stone flew through the air and the entire wing of the mansion that had exploded collapsed in on itself. People outside shrieked as some debris struck innocent bystanders, only to watch as the flames spread to the rest of the house and then catch the wind to spread to the vineyard. Within an hour, the entire estate was in flames. Donatello Favero watched from a hill a few kilometres away, witnessing the destruction of his family’s estate. It was a painful sight, although he knew it was necessary to wipe it clean so as to rebuilt it anew. At least he had the satisfaction of knowing that the imposter king had died in the blaze. With that on his mind and his business at last complete, Donatello took the first boat to Constantinople, ready to take up his mantle as senator.

August to November 1911

Nestorius began noticing a lack of Hairini’s presence at the estate, and began snooping around to see what was going on. According to Kurien, she got herself an apartment somewhere in town, but he refused to say why. When asked, he said that Hairini told him to stay silent. Nestorius grew worried. She had become so distant that she basically moved out without a word. He had to know why, but when he tried to find the address himself, his searching turned out negative. Not wanting to be filled with worry, he concentrated on bringing all the remaining family belongings to the estate within a specially made room designed to withstand strong forces, as to avoid another situation like the one when the communists invaded.

At the November session, he mostly kept to himself, but he did keep notes on a few certain things. He wasn’t sure if Taior’s group was connected to the progress made on investigating social alienation, but he liked to think it was. He also noted down to keep track of realism – sounded like something he’d enjoy, at least some what. He was worried over the Russian invasion through Armenia, as well as the Javan occupation in the far east.

Early December 1911

Nestorius was in his office, when he heard a knock on the door. It was Franco Lazaratos.

“May I come in?” the Neapolitan asked.

“Sure, sure, come in,” the Senator said in a tired manner.

“So, what is it you need? Is it news regarding those Illyrian knuckleheads, Taior’s group or is it about your job here?”

“No, sir. I came here about Hairini,” Franco said, as Nestorius leaned in.

“Yes, what is it?!” he haphazardly said, not expecting to hear that.

“I know I shouldn’t be telling you this, as I promised her I wouldn’t, but it has gotten to the point where you have to know. But first, I have to ask; what have you noticed about Hairini the last time you’ve seen her?”

“Hm… last time I saw her, she was around here, eating something that someone had bought for her. But that was a while ago.”

“Yes, but did you notice something different about her….. physically?”

“Physically? Why, she had become much fuller! I assume it is because of the increase in food she’s had in the last few months after the attack.”

Franco just looked at him, disappointingly. The two stare at one another for half a minute before Nestorius thought of something.

“….it isn’t because of the food, is it?” he asked, to which Franco replied with a head shake. Nestorius’ eyes widened, as he considered another possibility.

“You aren’t suggesting……” he was about to ask, when Franco placed his hands in front of his mouth with a sad look on his face. That’s when he realized what was going on. He placed his hand on his mouth in response.

“…..why? Why did she hide this from me?”

“If Lykidis and Antecheirinidis heared, she assumed they would take action in some way or another. They are still a bit old school in their ways, even if the former worked with Onobanjo.”

“But still, she could’ve told me in secret-” he was saying when Franco placed a note on the table.

“It’s her address. Go find her. Tell no one of this,” he said, as he got up and left the room.

Nestorius just watched the Neapolitan leave. He leaned back in his chair when a shocked expression on his face. He pushed aside the papers on the table and placed the note dead center. He held his head with his hands, with the only words coming out of his mouth being “Iisoús Christós”. Soon, he got up, got his coat, hat and cane, grabbed the note and rushed to the address.

Soon, Nestorius arrived at the apartment. The new housing style fit the modern nature of the city, but the place was one of the cheapest. He knocked on the door. He listened as footsteps approached. The door was unlocked.

“Hello-” Hairini asked, as she saw him midway opening the door. She rushed to close it, but he shoved his cane in just in time.

“Cyrene, please, let me in!”

“No! You don’t understand what you’re doing!”

“Quite the contrary, I’d say you don’t understand what you’re doing!”

“And how are you so sure about it?”

“Because what you’re hiding from me could start a……. scandal,” he said the last word very quietly to avoid others hearing it. Once she heard the word, she realized he knew what was going on.

“… you do know,” she said, as he opened the door in full. By this point, her condition was quite obvious, down to the clothing!

“Come in,” she commanded, as he followed her inside. The place was nice enough, he admitted. She sat down and motioned him to sit next to her, which he obliged.

“It took you this long to figure out, huh?”

“Well, I didn’t really get a good chance to look at you, considering you’ve distanced yourself from me. But after hard thought, I realized it and searched night and day for you,” he lied, covering Franco’s trails.

“But tell me – why did you keep it a secret from me?”

“I didn’t want those two idiots getting involved.”

“Even after they left months ago?”

“Well, after they left, I attempted to try something but….. I got the better of myself.”

“And you didn’t even realize that a scandal could arise from a senator going on a premarital ride?” when he said this, she realized that she had been even more foolish than before.

“What do we do then?” she asked.

“Well, there is one solution…” he said, as he looked into her eyes. She realized what that solution was.

“You aren’t thinking about marriage, are you?”

“This is an awkward situation to suggest it, but…..” he stopped himself, to get himself on his knees.

“For the time we’ve been together, you’ve helped me so much. When you began distancing yourself from me, I was hurt. Even now, despite my age, I cannot stop the feeling I have for you. You’re the only one I want to share the rest of my life with. Hairini Waata, will you marry me?”

Hairini placed her hands to her mouth. She couldn’t believe this was happening, especially in this scenario.

“Yes! Yes! Yes!”

Nestorius got himself off the ground and kissed Hairini. After the kiss, he helped her up.

“Considering we did it in March, we should get this done as soon as possible!” he said, with her nodding in agreeance. The two got themselves ready and rushed out.

December 1911

In the weeks following, Nestorius Thaddas and Hairini Waata wedded with one another. The entire Aeteorean governorship crew, along with a few personal and family friends of Nestorius’ were in attendance at the wedding. With their marriage, she became Kyrene Udata Thaddas.

Some time after their marriage, Kyrene gave birth – a boy, christened Timon. The doctor assigned was surprised by her age, as a woman of her age shouldn’t be able to even have children. He figured her menopause was late. In the end, things worked out decently.

January 1912

Nestorius and Kyrene mostly spent their time at the estate, caring for their new son. Everyone at the Aeteorean governorship was considered an uncle/aunt, which they took incredibly seriously. The two were even closer than ever now. When the news that a new session was being planned in February arrived, it was decided that, for now, Kyrene would continue to stay at the estate to care for the newborn. But, at some point, she’ll rejoin him at the senate.

18 February 1912

Nestorius was quite chipper at first. He enjoyed hearing about the success of realist literature, and scientific management sounded great. The fact that Iberia was once more fully Roman also made him glad, but that feeling went away after he heard the military news in Anatolia, Armenia and the Far East. He abstained from commenting on it. But when it was revealed they were all invited to the grand unveiling of the Impressionist collection, he spoke up;

“What an honor it is to be invited to such an unveiling! I’ll see if my wife will be able to join us.”

Senator Angelos, that is an excellent question. To the south of that theater, XXXVII. Legio is moving from Alexandria to Acre in order to begin forming a defensive line. I. Legio and XIX. Legio are continuing to occupy Hedjaz. We believe it will soon surrender, and then they can assist XXXVII. Legio. To the west of that theater, IX. Legio is in Gallipoli to reorganize. There are several regiments being recruited to reinforce them. XVI. Legio is fighting a Russian force in Kastamonu, and will withdraw to Thrace after the battle in order to recover. Perhaps this fall those two legions can strike back at the Russian forces. Finally, II. Legio is well behind enemy lines, fighting a combined Russian and German force it the mountains of Bitlis. They may need to make a skilled retreat soon in order to avoid disaster.

Senator Thaddas, We do hope she will be able to attend. Again, many congratulations on your marriage.

A messenger arrives and hands a telegram to the Emperor. He quickly reads it.

It appears that the Pope has taken advantage of the death of ‘King’ Lombardi. He has proclaimed a union of Burgundy and Italy. For now, they remain separate nations, but he has moved the Italian capital to Rome, and he rules both.

“I humbly accept my invitation to the grand unveiling,” said Theodora, “It is only right. And I am quite concerned about the Anatolian front. We must protect the Queen of Cities from a second attack!”

((Private -sometime earlier))

“Talk!” Theodora demanded, slamming her fists on the table. “You will talk, rebel scum!”

The Ministry of Security bureaucrat chained to the other side of the table simply laughed. “Never!” he screamed.
“I never arrest people without a reason,” she said, calmly, “Now talk! I know what you did, sabotaging the Ministry’s records and covering up all reports of an impending attack on the capital! Even if you did not know what you were doing, you are still responsible for the deaths of millions of innocents!”

“You’re not getting anything out of me, reactionary scum,” said the bureaucrat, “None of you will make me talk!”

“I have ways of making people talk,” said Theodora, drawing a dagger, “As a traitor to the Empire, you have waived all of your rights, privileges, and protections granted by your now revoked citizenship…”

Senator Donatello Favero entered before the Senate, doing his best to hold back a grin. When he saw that the emperor was present, he bowed to his sovereign.

I must apologize for my absence these past several months. I felt I could better serve as a diplomat for Your Majesty than as a senator at the time. However, when recent events in Italy became quite explosive, I felt it was finally time to leave to take up my duties as senator. I hope that the sudden death of Lombardi will rekindle the Empire’s desire for the reconquest of Italy. My desire to reclaim my family estate, or what’s left of it, still blazes strong within me. I will rain fire down upon the rebels of Italy if Your Majesty commands it, and I can assure you that they will regret sparking my fiery temper. The resulting conflagration will surely cleanse the region of traitors. They shall be faced with fire and brimstone, and from the ashes will rise a better Italy under imperial rule.

Donatello did his best to keep a straight face the whole time. All he could think of were the final moments of Giuseppe Lombardi as he was consumed by the flames. The image was a most satisfying one.

– Senator Donatello Favero

Nestorius attempted to thank His Majesty once more for the congratulation, wanting to mention the gift he had received for not only the wedding, but for the birth of his son – a bottle of wine, the kind that his father enjoyed drinking, and a purple blanket with Maori patterns on it, respectively. But when he attempted to speak, Senator Favero entered the scene. He chose to address the returning diplomat instead.

“Hello there! I assume you’re Raphael’s boy?” the almost 63 year old senator asked.

“Welcome, Senator Favero,” said Theodora, “The Ministry of Security has picked up information regarding the incident that killed the rebel scum Lombardi. Apparently he was in your former estate when the whole thing exploded, as if by a lot of manure being ignited simultaneously. There were no survivors, so there is no way that Lombardi escaped. However, the Pope has condemned the explosion as being carried out by ‘heretical terrorists’ and has called for a week of mourning for Lombardi. He has made clear his plans to build a cathedral over the ruins of your former estate dedicated to the memory of Lombardi. Oh, and Lombardi’s son has crowned himself King of Italy, though his position has been made mostly symbolic with the Pope’s assumption of most powers. The Ministry of Security is pouring as many resources as possible into assassinating the Pope or causing a power struggle between him and Lombardi’s son.”

((Private – earlier))

“Who are you working for?!” Theodora demanded. “TELL ME!”

“Never!” shouted the bureaucrat, staring defiantly at her. “Your Empire is no match for the glorious revolution of the proletariat!”

“Aha!” she said. “So you admit your collaboration with rebel scum?!”

“Proudly!” he said. “I will never answer to you!”

She took out some photographs of a woman and a little boy. “This is your wife and son, right? Well, since you’ve voided your citizenship, I thought it would be appropriate to suspend their citizenship and arrest them on charges of collaborating with and housing a known traitor to the Empire. Those are very serious charges. One word from me, and they will be executed without mercy.”

Of course, she didn’t actually do any of that, but she needed to bluff him.

“Ha!” cried the bureaucrat. “Do you really think I would believe that?! The charter of the secret police does not allow that to happen!”

“That only applies to citizens of the Empire.”

Now the bureaucrat looked quite worried. “Okay, let’s not be hasty…”

He was cracking. Theodora turned to one of her officers and said, “Take them to the execution room.”

“Okay! Okay! I’ll talk!” said the bureaucrat, bursting into tears. “Just spare my family!”

He rattled off a list of names, addresses, and information about rebels and spies within the Ministry of Security, the Senate, and many other institutions.

She turned back to face the bureaucrat. “Good. Second question: what did the rebels do to my brother, and who can undo it?”

A cathedral on my family’s estate? Seems a waste to build such a thing so far from where anyone lives. Well, I suppose it’s good to know the new Italian leader is wasting money on useless buildings no one will ever visit instead of the army. Now, would you happen to know if the Pope plans to visit the opening of this cathedral upon its completion?

– Senator Donatello Favero

“I do not think it wise to plot mischief upon the person of the Bishop of Rome, Donatello, and profaning a church with violence, even one of the Latin Rite, would be a terrible sin.”

-Senator Angelos

“From what my operatives can determine by analyzing his intercepted communications, he has no plans yet.”

“A quick reminder that the church hasn’t been built yet, and while an assassination attempt on the (false) Bishop of Rome is being considered, it is not likely to be carried out. Instead, the Ministry is focusing on the plan to start a power struggle between the Lombardi family and the Papacy, which would not only destabilize but also degrade and destroy the rebel factions in Burgundy and Italy.”

Alexios fidgets with his hands agitatedly. “The much-lauded security and confidentiality of the Romans is clear to behold, if political assassination is discussed openly in the Boule.

“Further, I must protest violent action against men of the cloth in the strongest possible terms, no matter if they are of the Latin Rite, for if we step down that path, who knows what terrors it will unleash in days to come!”

I am not sure what mischief or violence you’re referring to, but I’d just like to know if I’ll have to send in some Orthodox priests to bless my lands once they are reclaimed so as to ward off the foul heretical stench of papists. I hear it curdles the wine and makes the grapes go sour.

– Senator Donatello Favero

“Well, until that happens, you and your family are still welcome to stay as long as you like in Thessaloniki or my home in the City.”

18 May 1912
As most of you witnessed, the unveiling of the Impressionist collection went extremely well. Impressionist music in particular is popular at the new concert halls in Constantinople. We are, as you might expect, now gathering the best Expressionist works of the Empire.

On 7 March, Hedjaz capitulated to Us. Not only does this shorten the border we need defend, but they agreed to hand over Taibei.

This freed I. Legio, XIX. Legio, and XXXVII. Legio to form a line to stop Russia from striking further south.

Meanwhile, XVI. Legio defeated a Russian force and then withdrew to Thracia.

II. Legio continued fighting in Armenia until May. They could have kept fighting, but the loss of their general and the occupation of the region around them meant retreat was a wiser move.

With the war turning in Our favor, We sent Poland-Lithuania the price for peace: the freedom of the Cambodian people.

To summarize the war situation:

The legions in Iberia are continuing to reinforce themselves. XVII. Legio is at full strength, but We needed to build more transports to bring them back into the war. One of those transports was just attacked off the coast of Oviedo, and the Western Mediterranean fleet is assisting them. We will likely have this legion attack Flanders-Wallonia.

Southern Germany is slowly being occupied. Western Germany has fallen completely to Our control, and the legions are seeking to occupy northern and central Germany. Meanwhile, the UTA has landed a force in Rotterdam.

Flanders-Wallonia has lost to Burgundy, which took Wallonie proper from them. There are few Walloons in Flanders-Wallonia itself, most are in France and Burgundy. Flander-Wallonia has sent small forces to pester the legions in Germany, but not with any success. As We mentioned before, We plan to send XVII. Legio to bring them back into the Imperial fold.

The Polish corridors are being expanded.

Little has happened in South Africa, because Russia landed a force to retake German South Angola. XXXIII. Legio fought them and lost badly.

Batavia has been occupied, and the legions are occupying Bogor. A small force is attempting to reoccupy Batavia, while the main Javanese force continues to take control of Sunda. Nevertheless, the loss of Batavia means that Java is nearly ready to capitulate. If they do, then recruitment from Java, Taibei, and New Guinea might give XI. Legio and XXXXII. Legio enough strength to do major work in Oceania.

India is distracting the majority of Japanese and Ming forces, fortunately. But they may become very worrisome before long.

Armenia and Anatolia are lost for now, but IX. Legio has received new recruits. Given some time for it and XVI. Legio to recover, they may be able to strike back at complacent Russian forces.

Meanwhile, in Aeteorea…

The Waata family managed to survive the period of May to September, 1911, if only barely. Anaru and Hinewai did their best to make sure their mother, Anahera, survived through the rough winter. In mid-September, the guards appeared to unchain them and return them to their original holdings. With August having passed, they had survived their first full year at Tipene’s camp.

By the New Year, things were starting to get worrying. Rumors were spreading that the nearby camps were doing horrifying things, though no one knew what things they were exactly doing. Everyone feared for the worst – servitus, stuprum, and what have you. At least the weather was nice, for now.

Arriving at May of 1912, people have started noticing a decrease in people, at least at Tipene’s camp. Everyone was getting nervous, especially as the rumors began having rather colorful descriptions. Anaru, weakened but not broken, stayed awake at night, making sure no one took his sister or mother.

23 February 1912

At the unveiling of the Impressionist collection, Nestorius Thaddas and Kyrene Thaddas were both in attendance. The two had managed to come to an agreeance and had the Aeteorean governorship watch over lil’ Timon. Nestorius was seen wearing an old school looking attire, originally worn by his father, while Kyrene had what seemed to be a devantiere, bought second-hand within town, lacking a hat and in a similar color to Nestorius’ attire. With their clothes, they wanted to display how an average Constantinopolian would be clothed for such an event after the Communist attack – either borrowing from one’s family, buying second-hand or just wearing what seems most fancy.

Returning from the collection, the two began thinking about the potential of introducing these new movements to Aeteorea, encouraging syncretization with local styles.

18 May 1912

Nestorius, understandably, appeared alone once more at the session. The news of the unveiling’s reception made him very happy, and he couldn’t wait to start hearing more Impressionist music on the radio, nor could he wait to see more about Expressionism. He decided to comment on the military news;

“It really is grand to hear that we’ve managed to take out one front, though I’m worried over Taibei, as it is close to the Ming Empire. The Russian push into Anatolia is still worrying, but I have faith that we’ll be able to push them back. It is great that we’re managing to fight back the Germans, hopefully we’ll soon see them out of the war. Hearing that we’re finally pushing against the Javanese not only warms my heart, it would warm my wife’s heart too. We need to save our fellow Romans in Oceania from the oppressive governments down under!”

Donatello Favero reads over the report from the Battle of Bitlis.

A loss? I consider facing on enemy four times your size and taking out six times the men a victory!

With Iberia secured, it is only a matter of time until the rest of Western Europe is reclaimed. I pray that the eastern theatre, specifically Anatolia, follows a similar path soon.

– Senator Donatello Favero

Indeed Senator Favero. The certainly did more than their share of damage. But in the end they were the ones forced to retreat. Nevertheless, We would accept plenty more losses like that one. Enough of them and Russia would ‘win’ itself to complete defeat.

-The Emperor

The Empire Strikes Back 104 – The Sack of Constantinople

17 May 1911


On 17 April, X. Legio and XII. Legio pushed the eastern edge of the Pannonian front forward again. When this succeeded, XII. Legio did so yet again.

XXVI. Legio had been greatly reinforced in Asia Minor, and moved to help in Moldavia. While traveling past The City, Senator Palailogos took command of the legion.

We received word on 3 May that Our latest expedition had made it to the South Pole, beating all other expeditions. Truly they have displayed the results of Imperial persistence.

Elsewhere in the world, Khiva capitulated to Russia.

The Iberian front continues quite well.

As does the Moldavian front. In fact XXIV. Legio is leaving the front to clear Ukraine of Russian pan-nationalist rebels.

Hedjaz is also falling to the legions.

And the various enemy forces have not been able to break into Armenia.

However, the Pannonian front is at risk. While it has pressed German forces back, a British army is marching for the center of the line. If they have the same gas defenses as other rebel forces have had, then We will again have to choose between allowing the front to break or allowing rebels to go free.

Early May 1911

Summer was soon approaching Aeteorea, which meant colder climates and snow. Hairini’s brother, Anaru, her sister Hinewai and her elderly mother Anahera are soon approaching their first full year at Tipene’s camp. While people generally suffered under him, it was his former friends who got the most of it, as megalomania has caused him to ‘dominate’ over them. The Waata family were being forced to starve when they were called to see Tipene. Armed men violently grabbed the three and escorted them to his office. As they enter, Tipene turns around to face them.

“Haha, hello you,” he told them, as Anaru gave him a dirty gaze, while the two women glared at him angrily.

“Now, you must be wondering; what does Tipene want to do with you this time? Well, let me tell you! We’re currently expanding the camp, but we don’t think we’re gonna finish it before winter. But we’ve gotten soooo many more people here that we’re just forced to move you to the unfinished area. Hope the cold doesn’t kill ya!” he revealed, as Anaru struggled to get a word out.

“Y-you…..” Anaru tried to speak, as Tipene moved in closer to listen, “… manus rej.”

Tipene responded with a hard right punch, knocking Anaru unconscious. Hinewai screamed, before a guard forced his hand over her mouth.

“Move them to their new home. Make sure they have a cool time,” Tipene laughed, as the guards rolled their eyes. They dragged the three out of Tipene’s office to the new area, where their right arms were chained to the wall.

17 May 1911

“Hopefully, us reaching the South Pole first will show those against us that, even when under pressure, we can do anything!” Nestorius stated. Hairini smiled, as she read about how well the war was going, despite the fact that the British were coming. Soon, the Empire would be able to return to fighting the rebels and bring them back under Rome’s light, especially Aeteorea.

I am glad to be of service. Rome will be great! The XXVI. will be the best legion in this army, I swear it.
-Senator Palaiologos

***** To Communist High Command*****

First United Workers Troops have entered combat zone with German allies, seek to occupy local region and push back Imperialist scum.

Front very changable, relying on capitalist allies to maintain superiority of numbers. Request French and Brittanic reinforcements and supplies. 2 Legions of sizeable threat in area.

Awaiting orders
********** UWW 1st Army ********

Theodora heard a loud noise outside. “What the…” she muttered, walking over to the window. “Did somebody drop something or…”

Then she looked up, and her face paled.

Three red airships soared gracefully through the clouds over Constantinople, bearing the insignia of the communist rebels on their sides. As she watched, they rained down bombs all across the city, leaving flaming wreckage behind in their path. Entire blocks were flattened as the airships charged forward.

They were headed towards the Senate.

“Everybody, get down!” she shouted, backing away from the window.

A bomb detonated right outside the window, and the last thing she saw before she blacked out was the glass in front of her shattering as the shock wave struck it.

Senator Raphael Favero sat in stunned silence as the window blew in. He looked down at the piece of toast in his hand and scowled. “Now there’s glass in my toast. Curse you rebel scum!”

Emperor Michael picked himself off the ground, where he had dropped at Senator Doukas’ warning. Before he was fully to his feet, members of the Scholai Palatinae were at his side. They quickly escorted him from the room and to the bunkers and tunnels provided for the Imperial Family. Other members of the guard and the palace medical staff were heading into the room to assist the senators.

Talbot Palaiologos heard loud noises outside the Senate building. A woman named Theodora shouted something but he didn’t hear. He hurried to a window to see a bomb heading straight towards him…

Talbot Palaiologos, the last Palaiologos of the pure Palaiologoi family, is dead.

The Habsburg- Palaiologoi, the Latakis- Palaiologoi, and the Valois- Palaiologoi all now vie to succeed to the prestigious crown of the Palaiologoi family.

Theodora slowly regained consciousness, finding Dalassenos shaking her head.

“THEODORA!” he shouted.

She quickly pushed him away. “Can you at least show a married woman some respect?” she snapped. “You’re married too!”

“Sorry, Theodora,” said the general.

She looked around her. The whole place was in ruins. The roof was blasted clean off, letting in sunlight. The outer walls had also collapsed, allowing her a view of the chaos that was engulfing downtown Constantinople.

“How did the rebel scum get here without knowing?!” she demanded.

“Somebody just lost their job,” muttered Dalassenos, “Anyways, the Emperor is safe. Martial law has been instituted across the city. We need to get you and the other senators to the bunkers under the Palace while the legions get in position to shoot down those airships.”

“It’s no use,” said Theodora, “They’re too high up to shoot.”

“We’ll find a way, Theodora, we always do,” Ioannes assured her, “We’re Romans. We always survive, even in the darkest of times.”

She staggered to her feet, and pain flared in her right leg. She cursed in a very unladylike fashion.

“Do you need help?” asked Ioannes.

“Your gentlemanly nature is not required, thank you very much. I can walk just fine.” Theodora shot back.

“You remind me a lot of your father,” said Ioannes, “We were good friends, you know.”

“I know, I’ve heard.”

Dalassenos walked over to Palaiologos’s limp body, lying by one of the shattered windows. He felt for a pulse. “He’s dead.”

“A good man he was too,” said Theodora, “He had no children. The rest of the family’s going to tear itself apart over his titles.”

Another bomb detonated close to the room, not close enough to cause any damage but close enough to almost knock her off her feet. Rushing outside, she watched as one of the airships loomed menacingly and directly over the Senate building while the others remained aloft in the clouds.

“You said they were all in the clouds!” she shouted.

“Yeah, they knocked out our antiaircraft in the first wave, we’re still trying to get the defenses back online!” Ioannes shouted back.

She observed the airship and noticed that rather than bomb bays or aircraft runways, there were cabins. This wasn’t a bomber or carrier…

Ioannes noticed it too. He turned to his men. “Transporter!”

Hatches in the bottom of the airship flew open, and ropes dangled down, followed by men in black suits. Ioannes’s soldiers raised their weapons, only to be shot down by machine gun fire from the airship.

Ioannes turned to Theodora and the other senators. “Run!”

They ran as the rebel commandos reached the ground and started shooting at them. Anybody who couldn’t run was quickly tied up by the commandos and taken away.


“Sir, Reds 1 to 3 have engaged the enemy. They report that much of the capital has been incapacitated and occupied by our own forces.”

“Excellent. How far are we from total victory?”

“All strategic and morale-boosting locations have been occupied, save for the Senate and the Palace. The Emperor is in hiding, but we can flush him out like the rat he is with our new mustard gas. Then we shall proclaim the birth of the People’s Union of Rome!”

“Excellent. What of the senators?”

“They shall be dealt with accordingly.”

“Bring the heads of Doukas and Favero before me. They are the most dangerous of the senators and must be put down like the reactionary scum they are!”

“Yes, sir.”

((Onboard one of the airships))

“They’re storming the Senate,” said Leonard, “Shouldn’t we stop them?”

“How can we get down there without alerting the crew of this ship to our presence or falling to our deaths?” hissed Jonathan. “We must stay where we are and get ready to detonate our explosives at the right time.”

“Silence,” said Laskaris, “Captain Picardie is down on that commando ship. He’ll take care of things. He’ll make it so.”

Nestorius and Hairini weren’t close enough to be overtly affected by the shock wave, but they did feel its heat a little. The two grabbed one another tightly and ducked under a table, befuddled. Soon, they watched as the roof was blasted off, giving them a view of what was going on.

“Nestor, what’s going on?!” she asked him, but he had no response. He looked at the airships, breathing heavily. He was reminded of when the cult attacked Constantinople – he was around 5 at the time, watching chaos erupt from a secluded rooftop, when he was supposed to visit his father for the week. He would have never imagined himself to live to see the city attacked like this once more. He was filled with unbridled fear.

Hairini slowly put 2 and 2 together. She quickly tried to shake him out of his state, but it was of no use. Hearing Ioannes, she grabbed Nestorius by the hand and the two ran like hell, Nestorius watching the airships as he was dragged out of there.

The senators ran through the wreckage of the Senate building. Voices and footsteps echoed in the hallways all around them, emanating both from their feet and from the commandos behind them. Theodora looked back and made sure that everybody was accounted for. When she found that some senators were missing, Favero and Nestorius among them, she went back to look for them, only to be greeted with a hail of bullets. Somehow they had been separated from the main group of senators.

“Blast,” she muttered, “Where did they go?”

“We don’t have time for this, Theo,” said Ioannes, “They’re senators. They know how to stay safe.”

“Don’t call me that,” Theodora snapped back, “It’s annoying.”

The general managed a grin. “You haven’t changed much, I repeat.”

They continued running. “We have to find the entrance to the bunker!” repeated Theodora.

((somewhere else))

A group of senators huddled in the corner. They had been surrounded by fully-armed commandos. One had even began to mutter the Lord’s Prayer under his breath.

“Shut up with your superstition!” shouted the lead commando. “Where is your ‘God’ now? He’s not going to save you reactionaries from the will of the proletariat.”

The senator continued chanting, his voice punctuated by fear.

“Foolish reactionary!” The commando pulled out a pistol and shot him in the head, the senator’s blood splattering over the others. “There are no gods, only men!”

He turned towards the other senators. “Now, you will tell me where Favero is so that I may kill him.”

When the senators all shook their heads, he shot another one in the head. “TELL ME!”

One pointed to a nearby closet.

“Finally, I can get my revenge at last…” said the commando, throwing open the closet.


Nobody noticed a figure dropping out from the bottom of the airship before it was too late. The guards assigned to watch the ship were hit from behind by an unseen force and collapsed. John-Loukas Picardie picked up the guards’ weapons and rushed silently into the Senate building.


“General Secretary, sir, the commandos are in position.”

“Excellent. Have the Germans delivered the shipment yet?”

“Yes, sir, it is ready to be deployed.”

“Order all units to commence Operation Sewer Rat at once.”

“Yes, General Secretary, sir.”

“And one more thing.”


“Have Favero and Doukas been found yet?”

“Favero has been found, but Doukas has not.”

“Then your men have failed in their mission. Tell them that my apprentice is on his way. He shall make short work of Doukas and put her in her place.”

“Yes, sir.”


Theodora walked ahead of the senators and peered around a corner. Spotting some rebel commandos standing around the entrance to the bunker, she motioned to the other senators. Some of them groaned.

“That’s the last entrance,” said Ioannes, “We checked them all, and they had all of them covered?”

“It appears so,” said Theodora.

“Why would they do that?” asked Hairini.

“Good question,” replied Theodora, “Obviously they would not do this just to capture us. They know the Emperor is down there with his family and senior officials.”

“But why aren’t they going down there?” asked Hairini.

“The bunkers are large and heavily defended,” said Ioannes, “I went down there once. They would be repelled immediately. But that brings up the question on why they would be standing at the entrance…”

They watched as another rebel walked up, pushing a cart filled with small metal canisters that had German writing on them.

“Ioannes, you said that the Germans were doing research into chemical weapons, right?” asked Theodora.

“Yeah. Why?”

The rebels, after putting on gas masks, pulled open the hatch to the bunker and dumped in the canisters.

“Run. Now!” she hissed.

The senators took off again as clouds of yellow-green gas emanated from the bunker entrance.

This is not happening, thought Theodora, Why do the Doukai have to be cursed like this?

Gunshots rang out through the deserted corridor, and Ioannes screamed in pain and tumbled to the ground, clutching at the wound in his leg where a bullet had embedded itself deeply in his flesh.

She scanned her surroundings for the shooter while the senators scrambled to hide or pull Ioannes to safety. Her eyes soon found the man responsible.

Wait, were her eyes tricking her?

She squinted at the rebel in front of her, who made no attempt to hide or even claim innocence. She recognized him. She recognized his tall stature, his long black hair and light almost Middle Eastern complexion (from being in the sun too much), his deep blue eyes. His face was the same as she last remembered it, only there was a scar on his left cheek. She recognized the tattered remains of the Imperial uniform he wore, with the imperial eagles torn off and replaced with a hammer and sickle. She recognized the sword strapped to his side, having seen it before.

“Hello, sister,” said Niketas Doukas, “It’s been a while since we last met. Why don’t we have a one-on-one chat to catch up, shall we?”

With the clouds of gas emanating and the sounds of gunshots ringing out, Hairini scrambled as fast as possible, with Nestorius in hand. Dragging the fear struck Senator around proved to be harder than she originally thought. It didn’t help how all this running has left her short of breath and fatigued. Having found a place to hide, she tried once more to get through to Thaddas.

“Nestor, can you hear me?!” she quietly yelled out to him. No response. She tried to think of something, before remembering how he had told her about the time the cult attacked the capital.

“Do you remember what your father did back when the cultists attacked? Did he tell you about it?!” she asked.

“H-h-h-he t-t-told me that he g-g-g-grabbed a sword and fought the cultists b-b-back,” he struggled to tell her, “and h-he helped the o-other senators.”

“Then why can’t we do the same?!” she asked. Nestorius just looked at her sickly. Unlike his father, he wasn’t as skilled in the field of swordsmanship, or any sort of combat.

“I-I’m sorry, Cyrene.”

“Nestor, sometimes you just give me a headache….. augh,” she said, as she felt dizzy. Nestorius held onto her, keeping her steady. The two moved from their place to somewhere safer, as they wondered how everyone back at the pseudo Aeteorean HQ was doing.


Meanwhile, at the Thaddai residence and makeshift HQ of the Aeteorean provisional governorship.

As obvious as it is to state this, everyone there was surprised by the attack. Two bombs hit the residence – one at the entrance, while the other was slightly farther away, but still close enough to have made an impact. Everyone got together for an impromptu meeting. Michail Lykidis stepped forth to start it.

“Now, as you all know, all hell is raining loose on this city! The attack, according to what Kojo here saw through one of the windows, is apparently concentrated at the building where the senators are located. It is pretty obvious that they are after them. But, we must be always ready,” he said, as Onobanjo stepped forth.

“As Nestorius has told us, he had a secret stash of guns and swords hidden in this building, passed down from his father, from his grandfather, and so on. If we see that they are approaching this place specifically, we break them out and start fighting back. We will show them that we aren’t fucking around.”

“But what of Nestorius and Hairini? Are they not at the senator building?” Dhaaniel Kurien asked. Everyone scratched their heads, before coming to an agreeance that they are, in fact, there.

“Well, shit. What do we do then?” Botros Damji yelled out.

“We shall pray for them. Hopefully, our belief in their survival will ensure their….. survival,” Savvas Epimonopoulos said, as he crossed himself before beginning a prayer.

“Oh, like that is going to help,” Sudarto Wanggai lashed out in a frustrated manner.

“Please, let’s not get into such topics now!” Nicolaos Alexidas stepped in.

“Yes, we should figure out what to do. Just sitting here on our asses and arguing won’t help in the long run,” Antiochos Heraklides joined in.

“But what can we do? They are quite a ways away from here and we’d have to deal with the raining bombs,” Stefanos Antecheirinidis asked them all.

Out of nowhere, someone threw a map onto the table nearby and opened it up. It was a map of the city. They looked up and saw that it was Miro Taior, another one of the subordinates.

“Now, if you are all done bickering, we should probably see if these flying ships have some sort of pattern with help of this map.”

Senator Raphael Favero wandered through the hallways of the senate building, all alone and walking with a slight limp. No one had seen him leave the Senate, and in fact he couldn’t even remember leaving the room himself. He couldn’t remember a lot of things. All he could focus on was his strange hunger for toast, and for that he needed to find his toaster. It should be in his quarters, but he couldn’t recall where those were. In fact, where was he? Who was he?

Raphael looked down, spotting a slice of toast in his hand. With wide smile, he raised it to his lips, ready to take a bite. Then he noticed the glass shards in it and dropped his hand down in disgust. This was the fifth time he had repeated the motion, not that he could recall that. Instead he just continued wandering through the halls, oblivious to the trail of blood he was leaving in his wake. He was as equally oblivious to the giant shard of glass sticking out of the back of his head, but he had long ago lost the sense to notice such things.

Eventually he stumbled upon a pair of guards, although in his simple-minded state he did not consider who they were working for. He waddled up to them, holding the piece of toast up before him. They turned to him, their guns pointed at him. He took no notice of the weapons and said, “Toast?”

One of the guard shot at him, the bullet shooting right through the piece of toast and knocking it from Raphael’s hands. The senator let out a gasp. What kind of monster would harm an innocent piece of toast? With unparalleled savagery, Raphael launched himself at the guards, ripping and tearing at flesh with his fingers. The first guard had not expected the attack and fell before the senator. Blood sprayed everywhere as Raphael’s fingernails cut lines across his arms and chest. When his fingernails proved less effective, he started using his teeth. With a feral snarl, he ripped out the man’s throat. The other guard fired a shot at him and then started to run away, but Raphael jumped upon him wrapping his hands around the man’s neck. With a sharp jerk, he snapped the man’s spine. With the guards dead, he let out a loud battle cry. “TOAST!”

Raphael stumbled down the halls, his balance becoming more and more precarious. Eventually he tumbled to the floor, unable to remain upright. He tried to move his legs, but he had lost all feeling down there. The giant hole blown through him by the last guard’s shot had most likely crippled him, but he could not comprehend that, nor even notice the gaping wound in his midsection. How was he going to find any toast without his legs? Undeterred, he started to crawl, dragging himself along the floor with his arms. He was hungry, so hungry. He ended up crawling back the way he had came and came across the piece of toast he had lost. It had a bullet hole through the middle, but he was even more far gone than before and eagerly grabbed at it. This time he did not make notice of the glass shards embedded in the bread. The senator eagerly shoved it in his mouth and swallowed. Having lost the ability to feel pain, he did not notice the glass shards shredding his throat until it was too late. Raphael tried to cough it back up, but just ended up regurgitating blood. Within a few minutes, Senator Raphael Favero had choked to death on his own blood. But in the end, he had gotten his toast, and that was all that mattered.


Theodora turned to the senators behind her. “Run,” she said.

Without another word, the senators rushed away, down the hallway, though Hairini and Nestorius (how did she think he had fallen behind?) trailed behind. She had to stall long enough for them to get away.

Once they were far away enough, Theodora turned to her brother.

“What have they done to you?” she demanded.

“They showed me the truth,” said Niketas, grinning, “The whole truth. The Empire is rotten and unable to change. It is a relic of the feudal past. It seeks to hold back human progress so that a few men might remain in power forever!”

“No,” said Theodora, “That is not true.”

“It is,” said Niketas, “Think about it. What has the Emperor ever done for you? What have you ever done as a senator? Have you ever wondered why you were the only woman in the Senate? Huh? No? Well, news flash for you, the Emperor wants to keep women where they are, as currency and objects!”

“That is not true!” she screamed. “You’re not my brother!”

“I am you brother,” Niketas replied coolly, “The rebels showed me what true freedom was. Freedom to choose my own destiny. No longer do I have to live in Father’s shadow, serving an absent emperor who only serves to oppress the common people. No longer do I have to fight a war that I don’t gain from. The people of Rome shall decide their own fate!”

“This is not you, Niketas,” said Theodora. “You were the loyal soldier before all of this. You wanted to be a senator. You wanted to serve the Empire!”

“Lies, lies, lies!” replied Niketas. “Why do you serve the Emperor, huh? Why? What has he ever done for you? Those victories in war? The people did it. Your wealth? Hundreds of citizens toiled in the factories to enrich you! Your education? The people! Not the emperor, and not a god in the sky!”

“NO!” screamed Theodora. “Break out of it! You’re not you! You’re in there somewhere, and you can fight the communists!”

“I can’t fight myself anymore than you can fight the inevitable flow of social progress,” said Niketas, “The revolution is inevitable. The proletariat shall depose their oppressors and seize the means of production! The Rebel Alliance shall overthrow the evil Empire! And I shall be their sword!”

“Even if your sister serves the Empire?” asked Theodora.

Niketas glared at her. “You’re not my sister anymore. You’re no better than the pigs who roll around in pools of money, prospering off the sweat and blood of the common people. You don’t deserve to be my sister. You’re reactionary scum, and your purpose in life is to die.”

“You were the chosen one!” shouted Theodora. “It was said that you would destroy the rebels, not join them! Bring balance to the Empire, not leave it in darkness!”

“I HATE YOU!!!” screamed Niketas.

“You were my brother, Niketas,” said Theodora, biting back tears, “I loved you.”

She drew her father’s sword. “I have no choice.”

Niketas threw away his pistol and drew his own sword. “Neither do I.”

The two siblings lunged at each other, blades drawn.


The senators, including Hairini and Nestorius, rushed down the hallway as they heard steel strike steel behind them and Theodora shout at Niketas. Ahead of them was an open doorway leading to a street outside. They stepped over the bodies of both rebels and senators, and Hairini recognized Favero’s body lying in a pool of blood.

“Come on, we’re almost there,” said Nestorius.

Two rebels appeared in the doorway, guns raised. It was a trap. Hairini closed her eyes as the rebels advanced towards the senators.

Two gunshots rang out, and there was silence.

She opened her eyes, wondering why she was still alive. She saw a bald middle-aged man standing there, a smoking gun in his hand.

“I am Captain John-Loukas Picardie of the Imperial airship Empress Veronica,” said the man, “I’m here to save all of you.”


“Sir, Operation Sewer Rat has completed. All entrances and exits have been accounted for and taken care of. Enough gas has been pumped into the bunker system to cover each part of it with a lethal amount.”

“Have you confirmed the death of the emperor and his family yet?”

“No, sir. We are still waiting for the gas to clear. But nobody could have possibly survived the attack.”

“An end that the vile reactionaries fully deserve like the rats they are. How about the senators?”

“Favero is dead. We have confirmed that. Palaiologos is also dead. Our champion is handling Doukas as we speak. The other senators will be hunted down soon enough.”

“Good. How goes the occupation of the city?”

“The Hagia Sophia is secured, and the teams there await your orders to demolish it. All bombs are ready to detonate on your command. The Patriarch has been publicly executed. The universities have been secured, and their faculty and students have been fully purged. Everything is ready for the final solution.”

“Excellent. Tell the troops to carry out the final solution.”

((central Constantinople))

Hundreds of citizens, bloodied and beaten, filed silently into the main square of the city. Behind them, explosions boomed as the domes of Hagia Sophia came crashing down. Ahead of them, several dozen rebel soldiers, carrying the flags of the Workers’ Commonwealth and the French Commune, guarded a stage on which more soldiers stood. A general stepped up to the podium in the middle of the stage and began to speak.

“Today is a glorious day. Today, I am honored to be the one declaring a new age for humanity. Rejoice, for your chains have been shattered for good. This is a momentous occasion far greater than the Mending of the superstitious Schism and the restoration of the Empire. Today, you will no longer have to cater to the whims of the reactionaries. Today, we set you free! Free to choose your own fate! No longer will you be kept under the heel of the reactionaries and remain chained to a superstition. Today, I declare the birth of the Union of Rome! Long live the people of Rome! Workers of the world, unite!”

Nestorius and Hairini, after hiding somewhere safe, decided to rejoin the other senators once a opening through the rebels appeared. They rushed down the halls, as they heard the sounds of siblings fighting one another. Ahead of the group was an open doorway leading to a street outside. As they stepped over the bodies of both rebels and senators, Hairini recognized Favero’s body lying in a pool of blood. What did they do to the toast lovin’ man, she thought.

“Come on, we’re almost there,” Nestorius said to her. Out of nowhere, two rebels appeared in the doorway, guns raised. They should’ve realized that such an easy opening was a trap. Hairini closed her eyes as the rebels advanced towards the senators.

Two gunshots rang out, and there was silence. She opened her eyes, wondering why she was still alive. She and the rest of the group saw a bald middle-aged man standing there, a smoking gun in his hand.

“I am Captain John-Loukas Picardie of the Imperial airship Empress Veronica,” said the man, “I’m here to save all of you.”

“Thank god!” Hairini replied, as both she and Nestorius nervously laughed to calm themselves down.

Meanwhile, at the Thaddai residence and makeshift HQ of the Aeteorean provisional governorship.

As the front of the building had collapsed as a result of the bombing, no one could get in or out conventionally. One would have to climb up to the roof, or break a window, or something of the sort. The people inside used this to their advantage, as they carefully watched the rebels passing by the residence, who generally assume it to be empty.

While they couldn’t really see it, they managed to barely hear the general speaking in the center of the capital. Alexidas reported back to the group, who were watching the skies for patterns.

“Jeez, from one terrible government to another,” Wanggai quipped, leading to a few suppressed laughs.

“If what that guy said is true, then we might have ourselves a situation here. Nicolaos, tell us, how is everything on your watch?” Taior asked.

“For now, the rebels have chosen to largely ignore this building, mostly because of the collapsed front. But some of them are giving it a second look, so we might not be completely safe.”

The room was silent, as they all nodded to one another over what had to be done next.

“Break out Nestorius’ weapon stash, JoJo,” Lykidis told him.

Kojo smiled back at him, as he got up and got the stash. Everyone at the building, about 20-25 people, got a sword and a gun, ready to fight back if anyone chooses to try and get in.

((Outside Thaddai residence))

“Play ‘The Internationale’!” ordered the general.

As the communist anthem blared and the Roman hammer and sickle insignia was raised on flagpoles all over the city, a squad of soldiers marched down the street in front of the residence, which was a few blocks away from the square where the Union of Rome had been declared.

“Listen up,” said the general to the men, “The houses in this neighborhood are the residences of prominent capitalists and reactionaries. Your orders are to search each residence. You are to kill any reactionary you encounter with extreme prejudice.”

“Sir, what about the house over there with the collapsed front?” a soldier asked. “I believe I saw armed reactionaries hiding inside.”

“Gas them,” ordered the general, “If we can’t get in, they can’t get out. They will all perish like the cancerous rats they are.”

“Yes, sir.” The soldier motioned to his men, who strapped on large flamethrower-like devices.

The rebels surrounded the Thaddai estate, pointed their weapons at the ruined house, and sprayed the house with clouds of chlorine gas…

With the death of Raphael “Toast Lover” Favero, the title of head of the Favero family passed to his son, Donatello Favero. Born on 21 May 1890 to the rich upper class Favero family in Venezia, Donatello followed in the footsteps of his father and joined the Patrikioi after the Empire’s neighbours showed their aggressive expansionist nature and several national groups rebelled within the Empire. His loyalty to the imperial family is without question. Having received the best education available to a young man, Donatello joined the foreign ministry at the young age of 20. The timing was not perfect, for this coincided with the Time of Troubles. Donatello has thus spent the last year or two running around the Empire trying to negotiate with the rebel states and the Empire’s neighbours. At the moment he is in the now neutral Italy trying to maintain peace until such a time as the Empire can reclaim the region. He has also been trying to negotiate with the locals to gain access to his family’s estate and property, but has met with little success. News of his father’s death has not yet reached him.

Alexidas continued his watch, before noticing the squad of soldiers marching down the street in front of the residence. He listened in closely, but as soon as he heard the words ‘Gas them’, he quickly rushed back to the others. Everyone turned towards him, as he put his finger over his lips before speaking.

“THEY ARE GONNA GAS US! EVERYONE, TO THE BASEMENT!” he quietly yelled out to them. Everyone was visibly distraught by what they had just heard.

They quickly rushed downwards to the rather small basement, hopefully unnoticed. Closing the door, they grabbed anything they could to cover their faces. Unfortunately, all they could find in that basement was wet clothing. Apparently, Nestorius keeps his wet clothes here. Nevertheless, they all grabbed the damp articles and covered their faces.

Henry Palaiologos laughs wickedly. The corrupt, decadent, reactionary Empire cannot even defend its capital nor its leaders! Britannia is fully independent now and yet the Romans were too foolish to realize that they had no chance of victory. Their continued oppression of the proletariat had resulted in this yet they still exploited the workers. He had just received a message from Alan Gael, the just and fair ruler of the Communist nations, that his parent “branch” of the Palaiologos family had died out. For the better. They were scum, not even deserving of the respect of a mean beggar. Some of them were even following the “Third Way” or reactionary ideologies!

((Thaddai estate))

The soldiers stepped back from the house, from which gas was leaking out from the cracks and crevices.

“Sir, the gassing has been completed,” said a rebel, “What are you new orders?”

“There is no way that anybody could have survived that,” said the general, “But just in case, bomb this house until nothing remains, and then send in a team to deal with any bodies.”

“Yes, sir.” The rebel motioned to some other rebels, who raised semaphore flags towards one of the nearest airships and waved them around. The crew on the airship noticed the signal and piloted the craft in the direction of the house, releasing several bombs on top of the house. The entire neighborhood was leveled in an instant, at no cost to the rebels.

“That’ll teach them for bombing the innocent proletariat of Paris,” said the general.

((outside the Senate palace))

“I am Captain John-Loukas Picardie of the Imperial airship Empress Veronica,” said John-Loukas to the senators, “I’m here to save all of you.”

“Thank god!” Hairini replied, as both she and Nestorius nervously laughed to calm themselves down.

There was the click of several rifles from behind him, and he cursed.

“Don’t move, or we will fire,” said the leader of the rebel squad.

“It’s a trap,” John-Loukas muttered, “I hate it when this happens.”

“Yeah, the two guards here were just a trap within a trap for all of you,” said the rebel, “Now come with us. We have some important business to attend to.”


“Are you sure the emperor is dead?”

“I’m very sure, sir! I have a photograph of his body!”

“Really? Because it looks to me like it could be a decoy…”

“Fine, sir, I’ll send men down into the bunkers to investigate!”

At the Thaddai residence and makeshift HQ of the Aeteorean provisional governorship.

The group was nervously waiting in the basement that was slowly becoming uncomfortable, as they accidentally covered their faces with the best countermeasure an ordinary person could have, as chlorine gas was water-soluble. They waited for quite a few minutes, before one of them began peaking through the cracks of the door, to see if anyone has entered to check for bodies…… but then, all they heard was explosions.

Unbeknownst to them, the entire neighborhood was leveled in an instant. While all the relevant documents for the governorship were safe in several vaults, everything else in the residence was completely destroyed…. except for the basement. After the shock of the explosions had passed away, everyone remained quiet for a moment. No one was sure what had just happened. Out of nowhere, Kojo tried to open the door of the basement – he couldn’t. It was blocked by debris, though they wouldn’t know. He slowly turned to the others and looked at them with sickly eyes. They all realized what was going on – they were stuck. Panic ensued. Were they going to just starve down here?!

Outside of the Senate palace

Hairini gasped at the sound of the rifle clicks. They had just been smeckledorfed. Nestorius and Hairini, like the others, complied with the demands of the rebels and followed them.

“Nobody could have possibly survived that,” said the general, “All right, men, let’s move out! We’ve received orders to withdraw to the financial districts and destroy the banks!”

The rebels cheered and brandished their rifles before organizing into straight lines and filing out of the destroyed neighborhood in an orderly fashion.

((Senate building))

The senators, John-Loukas, and Ioannes were led at gunpoint away from the ruins of the Senate building.

“What’re you doing here, my friend John?” said Ioannes. “I haven’t seen you since our days at the War Academy!”

“It’s a long story,” said John-Loukas, “But I really should be asking you that question.”

“Promotion happened,” replied Ioannes, grinning, “And vampires.”

A rebel struck Ioannes’s head with the butt of his rifle. “Shut up, capitalist scum!”

John-Loukas looked off to his left, where he saw smoke rising from above the ruins of houses. “What is burning?” he asked another rebel.

Without facing him, the rebel replied excitedly, “Oh, we’re burning the money in the banks and destroying the stock markets that are at the center of your decadent capitalist society!”

The squad commander glared at him, and the rebel said nothing more for the rest of the trip.

After about half an hour of walking, they emerged in a public square near Hagia Sophia, where hundreds of citizens had gathered nervously, watched by several divisions of rebels.

Hagia Sophia had been destroyed. The beautiful domes that had come to symbolize Constantinople had been destroyed by multiple dynamite detonations. What remained was dynamited before being put to the jackhammer. He watched as rebels sprayed graffiti on the ancient icons and murals of the cathedral before smashing them with sledgehammers and using them to stone the priests and patriarchs that were held captive nearby. He cringed at this blatant display of iconoclasm.

The rebels led them to the middle of the square, where a makeshift stage had been set up. Several men and women in the clothes of clergy, government officials, military leaders, and wealthy business-owners already stood on this stage, each with a rebel pointing a gun to his or her back. John-Loukas could recognize some high-ranking generals (some of whom were his commanding officers), prominent businessmen (like the head of Vanir Industries), a few patriarchs (the Ecumenical Patriarch was already dead, from what he gathered from the rebel chatter), many heads of the major dynatoi families, and even a few members of the imperial family. A motion-picture camera was set up in front of the stage, ready to capture what would soon occur.

It was a public execution.

Many of the other senators realized this too, and their faces paled. A few broke down into tears.

They were led onto the stage and made to face the camera in a straight line. A rebel stepped up to the camera and switched it on, the film reels rolling. A crazy-haired rebel with many medals on his uniform, presumably their leader, stepped between the camera and the stage.

“Good afternoon,” he said to both the camera and the crowd, “I am General Giorgios Tsoukalos, Provisional General Secretary of the Union of Rome. I am honored to be here on behalf of the Rebel Alliance to oversee the final downfall of the evil Empire. Today, you see before you the traitors of the people. These men and women have spent millions to buy luxuries, hold parties, and debate on pointless things while the proletariat, the only people who really matter, suffered and toiled for years to support their decadence. Today, we say no more to their wastefulness. Today, justice has been served. Progress cannot be stopped. The destruction of Hagia Sophia, the symbol of the clergy’s oppression of the proletariat through evil superstitions such as Jesus and God, and the destruction of the banks and the Constantinople Stock Exchange on Theodosios Street and the burning of all currency within, are the events that will usher in the beginning of a new age.”

He motioned to the people onstage. “Today, the people will be freed from their chains, from the evils of capitalism. No longer will you be slaves to your fellow men and women. No longer will you fight in wars to keep the capitalists in power. No longer will your fate be decided by an emperor or a god in the sky. Today, we set you free! Today, you watch as those who oppressed you be humbled and denounced as the traitors and the reactionary scum they are! There is only one punishment for the enemies of modernity–death!”

Nobody cheered or applauded his speech but the rebel soldiers. Tsoukalos did not pay much attention to this, instead turning to his men onstage.

“Soldiers of the Revolution, it is your time!” he shouted.

The rebel behind John-Loukas hit him in the back with the butt of his rifle, and the captain fell to his knees. The other senators, capitalists, generals, and politicians were similarly forced to kneel. The rebels pointed pistols at their heads, and John-Loukas felt the cold steel of a pistol’s barrel on the back of his head. So this was how he died…he thought he would be a hero, but he was a fool in the end.

“Long live the Empire!” shouted Ioannes defiantly.

“Long live the Empire!” shouted the rest of them.

“Long live the Empire!” shouted John-Loukas.

“Long live the Empire!” shouted the crowd.

“Silence!” shouted Tsoukalos. “Long live the proletariat of Rome!”

“Long live the proletariat of Rome!” shouted the rebels.

“Fire!” ordered Tsoukalos.

The rebels began to pull the trigger…

Nestorius looked as pale as ever. He slowly began regretting ever returning to the capital. But Hairini, despite being fatigued and dizzy, was as engaging as ever. She wouldn’t let herself or Nestorius die this easily. She had to find a way to get them out of this.

While Nestorius barely let out a shout, Hairini practically screamed out the words ‘Long live the Empire’ from the top of her lungs. Feeling the cold steel on the back of their heads, Nestorius began sobbing. Hairini called out to him. “Nestor, it is going to be fine! Would she have wanted you to act this way at the darkest hour?” referring to his former lover.

Nestorius looked at her. She was right. She wouldn’t have sobbed as a gun was at her head. She would’ve fought back and died at the shots of many, as a martyr for the Empire. The two had to think of something quick, otherwise their brains would be splattered across the floor.

John-Loukas closed his eyes, hoping that everything would be over soon. As far as he knew, the rebels had won. He had failed. He had stowed away on a rebel airship, languishing in the bomb bay for hours for the purpose of saving the Empire, and he still failed. The Emperor was dead. The Church was destroyed. The economy was shattered. The general staff was about to be killed alongside him, and without them the legions would collapse. He had failed his emperor. He had failed the Empire. He had failed himself.

The last thing he heard was several dozen gunshots ringing out, and then there was silence.

And then the screaming began.

Were his ears hearing something? Was he dead? Was the noise just a relic of the last thing his ears heard? He realized he could still think and feel. The tip of the gun pressed to his head had mysteriously vanished. He realized he still had eyes and opened them.

Before him was a scene of pure chaos. The crowd had scattered, fleeing in all directions like ants from a boot. And the strangest thing was that there were no rebel soldiers in sight to hold them back.

He turned around and found that the rebel executioners had all been killed by gunshot wounds to the head. All of them were still alive with little more than bruises on them. Behind the bodies of the executioners, he saw rebels running away from the square in terror, their guns and equipment dropped on the ground.

He turned back again and watched as uniformed soldiers bearing the Angelos coat of arms and men in pitch black clothes poured into the square. The few rebels that remained hastily raised their rifles and tried to fire, but they could not. John-Loukas heard the sound of metal whirling through the air as throwing knives embedded themselves in the soldiers, who all collapsed without firing a single shot.

Some of the soldiers ran up to them and cut their bindings. As John-Loukas stood up, free again, he saw a taller bearded man approach. He recognized this man, and instantly he recoiled from his “liberators.”

“Markos Angelos,” he hissed, “What are you doing here?”

Then he realized who the men in black were.

“The Cult?!” he screamed. “You allied with the Cult of all people?!”

“Relax,” said Markos, “I’ve come under a truce. The Cult…well, they just came on their own.”

“What do you want?” Ioannes demanded. “Give me one reason I shouldn’t kill you with my bare hands right now!”

“First, you can’t kill me because I have the guns,” said Markos, “And second, I’m your best shot at retaking this city. My troops are veterans of the war in the North, having served the Germans before defecting to me. The Cult…well, you ask them.”

“Do not thank us,” said Ioseph Ignatieff, a Russian man with an eyepatch, “We are only here to destroy the godless communists who threaten to eliminate our enemies for us. I said this the last time I was here, thirty years ago—only we can destroy the Empire! Now we shall leave, and I sure hope we do not meet again thirty years from now.”

And with that, the cultists stealthily vanished back into the shadows.

Markos turned to John-Loukas and Ioannes again. “Um, never mind about the Cult, they have their own agenda. Anyways, my men and I can get the civilians to safety while helping to retake the city.”

“Let me guess,” said Ioannes, “You want the throne in exchange?”

“As much as I want to, no,” said Markos, “I’ve actually decided that becoming emperor is beyond what I’m capable of. I’m not really sure if I would be a good emperor too. So I’ll give up my claims to the throne, if I had any, and if I reconsider, I’ll attack you guys when we’re on more equal footing, as it’s more fair for me that way.”

“How do I know you’re not lying?” said John-Loukas. “There are a lot of generals and politicians right here who would really like to shoot you in the head.”

“You’ll have to trust me,” said Markos, “And you have no other choice. I could just leave you to the rebels again…”

“Fine!” said Ioannes. “As Megas Domestikos of the Imperial Legions, I accept your offer.”

Markos smiled. “We have a deal then.”

Grudgingly, John-Loukas shook his hand. “Fine. But after this, we’re giving you three days to leave this city and go back to wherever you came from. Any longer and we’ll shoot you. Understood, traitor?”

“That’s fine with me.” Markos turned to his troops and barked some orders in German.

The soldiers spread out throughout the square and rushed towards different parts of the city, leaving behind a small detachment to guard the group. It wasn’t long before they heard gunfire ring out in the distance.

Markos clapped his hands once. “Now, let’s get you guys to safety.”

The group set off through the ruins of Constantinople, not knowing where they were heading.


“What do you mean the Cult and Markos Angelos appeared?!”

“Sir, I don’t really know, our men are just saying that their forces are being decimated by strange men in black clothes who never miss with their throwing knives regardless of how impossible the shots are and by soldiers commanded by the pretender Angelos!”

“Do we have enough bombs to destroy the enemy?”

“We do, but they’re so spread out we risk hitting our own men or wasting our shots.”

“Tell the men to withdraw to strategically defensible locations. We must not lose this city.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Hey, did I call you to my office? Who are you? What are you doing? DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?! I’m the—the—General Secretary of the Commune of France! Your superstitions are useless against me! Wait, I could be of use to you! What do you mean you guys can predict the future and that we will lose? That’s just—”

While Nestorius struggled to think of something that could save the two, Hairini thought of something, something…. intimate. She knew she would be spared if she spilled it out, but she didn’t know if the same could be said for Nestorius. Along with that, what she could yell out would possibly ruin Nestorius politically. But if that was what was needed to save them, she had to take it. She prepared herself mentally, when all of a sudden, she heard gunshots. Nestorius closed his eyes in response. Hairini kept hers open and watched as the crowd scattered. She turned to look at John-Loukas for an explanation, but she noticed how her executioner was dead.

Soon, the cultists poured in and their bindings were cut. Nestorius looked disheveled, having been saved by the people who he watched destroy the city years ago. Hairini, having been stopped from spilling the beans, laughed nervously in an attempt to calm herself and Nestorius down. “HAHAHAHA!” she laughed.

“W-w-well, you were right about things turning out right,” Nestorius told her. Hairini laughed in response. They didn’t even care about the conversation between John-Loukas and Angelos, and only turned their attention to the two when the latter clapped his hands.

“Now, let’s get you guys to safety.”

Nestorius and Hairini joined the group through the ruins of Constantinople.


Meanwhile, at the former Thaddai residence and makeshift HQ of the Aeteorean provisional governorship’s basement.

Panic continued for a couple of minutes before Miro Taior yelled aloud at them to shut up. Everyone obliged. He coughed for a bit.

“Is this really all we’re going to do? Just panic like a bunch of maniacs?! No! Tell me, who are we?” he asked. Everyone gave their own answer before being cut off.

“We’re Romans! We are not bound by one another by language and ethnicity, we are bound by one another by our common values, customs, morals and ways of life! Whether we are non-Greek scum, or hellenized bastards, or Franco here from Napoli, we are bound by our community! Did the Romans panic when Hannibal arrived in Po Valley? Of course! But did they let it get to them? Of course not! We must show that our Romanitas is just like that of the old Romans! Now, who’s with me?!”

Everyone yelled in response to the speech made by the Aboriginal. “Now, let’s tear down that door!” he yelled out, as he and a couple of others joined in to break the door open. After a couple of minutes, they weakened the door so much that the weight of the rubble caused it to collapse. They moved out of the way as to not get crushed. After the dust had settled, a gap was opened, allowing them to escape.

One by one, they crawled out of the basement and up to the former ground floor of the building. None of them had any personal goods in the estate, having left it back at their respective homes away from the capital. Nestorius’ father, Damianos, had asked in his will for his stuff to be kept in crates. So, the only things destroyed were Nestorius’ own belonging. Once they all got out, they regrouped behind some rubble and formed a plan to team up with anyone fighting back against the rebels.

Kojo fired the first shot against a rebel force, and their combined forces allowed them to wipe out the squad. They quickly rushed into cover. If the squads were so small, it would be easy to pass through and find the others.

The battalion advanced through the deserted streets, the soldiers surrounding the civilians on all sides and ready to fight whatever they ran into. Markos, Ioannes, and John-Loukas led the way. Around them they saw nobody at all. Stores were deserted. Cars, their doors ajar, were abandoned in the middle of the street, left where their drivers had stopped and bailed out. Stalls had been toppled, and the ground was strewn with rotting food and merchandise. It was utter devastation. John-Loukas hadn’t seen anything like this since he was a private on the Empress Veronica during Konstantinos’s Rebellion.

A group of rebels appeared in front of them, disorganized and weary, probably from the constant Cult attacks they had suffered. Markos’s soldiers made quick work of them, picking them off before they could fire a single shot. The group stepped over their dead bodies, which were already beginning to blend in with the devastation of downtown.

“Where are we headed again?” said Ioannes. “I need to know.”

“The waterfront,” said Markos, “I have a ship ready to extract you to Thessaloniki, which I am told has been spared the worst of the fighting. You will board the ship and depart the city, while the soldiers and I will march on Blachernae and take out the rebel headquarters.”

“How do we know you aren’t just going to sit on the throne and proclaim yourself emperor?” demanded John-Loukas.

“Well, if you guys want to go to Blachernae and die with us, then go ahead,” replied Markos, coolly, “Be my guest.”

“We’re going,” said Ioannes, “John-Loukas and I are going to fight. We left some of our people there, and we aren’t going to flee the city while we can still fight.”

“We are Romans,” said John-Loukas, “I remember something that Theodora said: Purple would make a fine burial shroud. We will fight to retake the Queen of Cities like the Romans we are!”

Ioannes glared at John-Loukas. “You never met Senator Doukas.”

“I was referring to the Empress Theodora. You know, Justinianos’ wife?”

“But Senator Doukas did say that at one point…”

“Well, you get the idea!”

Ioannes sighed. “You get the point,” he said to Markos.

Markos raised his eyebrows and turned the civilians. “Anybody else want to go die with us?”

Immediately, the generals, capitalists, and nobles shook their heads. That left only the senators to decide…

The two were conflicted; while Hairini was ready to shake her head with Nestorius, the latter thought about those back at his residence. Once he pointed them out, Hairini became conflicted as well.

Meanwhile, on the streets.

The gang was busy sneaking down the streets. With guns, swords, and excellent positioning, they were able to beat out every small squad in their way. Soon, they weaseled their way through and saw a group out in the distance. Unsure if they were friend or foe, they approached them slowly with weapons drawn.

Nestorius notices a group approaching them.

Ioannes heard the sound of gunfire and scraping metal not too far away. It was really close. He snapped around in the direction of the noise and spotted an armed group approaching them.

“Heads up, we’ve got company!” Ioannes shouted.

Markos and his men spun around and aimed at the newcomers. They would have fired if not for Nestorius screaming “Wait!”

As they approached, Ioannes noticed that the newcomers weren’t rebels. They didn’t wear rebel uniforms, and their guns were of Imperial design, not German or rebel. Some of them weren’t even European, looking instead like Maori.

“Hold your fire!” ordered Ioannes.

“Are you crazy?!” Markos replied. “We ran into the Cult back there! These men could be dangerous!”

“No,” said Nestorius, “They’re with me.”

The newcomers arrived and greeted the group (aside from Markos and his men) with cheers. Ioannes was relieved that they weren’t the only group fighting against the rebels.

The group introduced themselves; Michail Lykidis, Stefanos Antecheirinidis, Antiochos Heraklides, Nicolaos Alexidas, and Savvas Epimonopoulos introduced themselves first, the first of the two pointing out how all 5 of them were descended from medieval South Slavic dynasties, with the other three just groaning at them. Kojo Onobanjo, from South-West Africa, broke up the five and introduced himself next. Sudarto Wanggai, from the island of Papua, Botros Damji, from the Arabian borderlands, and Dhaaniel Kurien, an immigrant from India, shortly followed and introduced themselves as well. Miro Taior, from Australia, followed suit, but was offended when someone from the other group called him a Maori. Franco Lazaratos, the only Neapolitan who joined the Aeteorean governorship, went after Miro. A pair of Berber brothers, an Egyptian female, an Andalusian female, a French female, a Burgundian female, a pair of Welsh sisters, a female immigrant from Ukraine, a female immigrant from Scandinavia, and a male immigrant from the United Tribes of America also introduced themselves. If anything was obvious, it was that people who worked under Nestorius were either educated minorities within the Empire itself or immigrants who spoke the language of the Empire very well, albeit with accents, whilst being sparsely filled with any proper Greeks.

With their safety ensured, Nestorius turned to Markos and Ioannes. “I was worried that something had happened to them. Seems like this is the true power of Romanity,” he said with a cheeky smile.

Hairini spoke up; “Now that we know they are safe, we can assuredly say that we would rather not go die with you.”

“Very blunt, Cyrene. Very blunt,” Nestorius told her.

Ioannes and John-Loukas shook hands with the newcomers, finding that they were mostly minority groups. Looks like Romanitas did pay off. Now these minorities were just as Roman as he was, and together they could not fall.

“So, I assume you guys just want to get out of the city instead of joining us in assaulting Blachernae, right?” Markos asked. “The ship is down by the harbor. My men will escort you there while we go take out the rebels.”

Most of the group nodded, except for Ioannes and John-Loukas.

“Okay then,” said Markos, “Follow my men and pray that all of you make it out in one piece. Farewell, and I hope we don’t meet again like this.”

He barked some orders in German and Hungarian to the soldiers, who formed a ring around the group and advanced down the steer, in the direction of the harbor.

Markos tossed loaded pistols Ioannes and John-Loukas. “There’s only three of us and at least three hundred of them, so we must be careful.”

They rushed away in the opposite direction, towards Blachernae and the rebel hubs.

Meanwhile in Rennes

“Chairperson, glad to say that the seasons and seas have been kind to our people these past few years, plenty of food for all the people plus more to trade with the our neighbours to fund further industrial growth, do we need to continue to re-arm against Imperial attack.”

“No Lt. Malo, sit enjoy this fabulous cider and some crepes, the revolution may well still take the Empire down. There is violence and terrorism around every corner, plus the ongoing great war. Let us rest while we can and build for the coming storm.”

Chairperson of the Brittany Workers Paradise

Julius Marco wiped the sweat of his head. When the siege of Constantinople happened, Julius immediately gathered all the surrounding men in the neighbourhood, gave them rifles and began to help civilians, pick off squads of rebels and every so often check up on what the bloody hell just happened. Right now he was with Gabriel in his house and was checking a map of the Queen of Cities.
“Our group of 20 have 4 wounded, and we’ve so far got a perimeter in the nearby block of houses. We need more men if we are going to hold out. I’ve sent feelers to the nearby neighbourhoods to see if there are men willing to join. We’ve killed 11 squads of 15 men so far, but scouts have detected 7 more on the way.”

Julius banged his fist on the table. “Damn it Gabriel! Were is the army?! Were are the Senators?! I’ve been trying to contact Senator Doukas but he isn’t picking up! If we don’t get those reinforcements soon we are all going to be dead!”

“Im going outside to our squad to help them with the rebels notify me in case of any new developments.”

Julius leaves the room.

As Markos’ men led the group to the harbor, the Aeteorean HQ folks told the others what happened at Nestorius’ residence. Nestorius looked incredibly sickly after hearing what had happened to his place and almost held his hand up to his heart, thinking of everything that was lost in the destruction of the neighborhood. Hairini looked incredibly stressed to hear that they were faced against chlorine gas, but was relieved to hear none of them got seriously injured. The generals, the capitalists, the nobles, the remaining senators looked incredibly impressed by their feats, with one general commenting on how they managed to take down so many rebel squads.

As they went to the harbor, Hairini looked over to the remaining senators. She couldn’t put her finger on it, but she felt as though someone was missing.

Julius shot another rebel in the head. The last group was coming, and then Julius noticed a few men coming in his direction with rifles and the Roman crest on their chest. Julius knew these were new recruits.
“Ah, new recruits! Quick grab a rifle.”
The last rebel group came in sight and the loyalists fired upon them.
“Fighting’s a good job mate!” Julius began as he noscoped a rebel.
“Guaranteed you’ll kill an asshole. Because at the end of the day, there’s gonna be someone in the nation who wants to have the Emperor dead. Though I must tell you, my parents do not approve.”

“I’m not a mass murderer dad I’m a patriot! The difference is that one is the love of your country and the other is mental sickness!”

Back in the present
” I think his mate saw me.” Gunfire starts from the rebel group “YES YES HE DID”
“Feelings? I’ll tell you who has feelings, Griffins tearing a man apart because he said their feathers were big. Professionals have standards.”
“First, be polite.” Shoots man in a crotch while saying DIE IN HELL!
“Be efficient.” Kills 4 men in 3 seconds
” Have a plan to no scope every one you meet.” No scopes rebel


The group reached the harbor without further incident. They found a submarine moored at the dock, waiting for them.

“Wait,” said a senator, “Who gave you guys a freaking U-boat?”

“Germany, of course,” said the squad commander, “Don’t worry, it only has enough fuel to get us to Athens. You’ll be safe there.”

He motioned to the sub. “Well, what are you waiting for? Get in and we can get out of here sooner!”

Without another word, the group filed into the sub. A soldier shut the hatch, and the vessel pulled away from the dock, towards the Golden Horn.

((Rebel HQ, Blachernae))

“General Secretary,” said a rebel, “Our scouts have detected a U-Boat attempting to flee the city. It does not fly the German colors, and the Germans claim it was stolen from one of their shipyards a month ago.”

Tsoukalos realized what that meant. “The senators!” he exclaimed. “Angelos might be evacuating them from the city on that submarine! Raise the Great Chain and destroy that sub before it escapes!”

The rebel relayed the General Secretary’s orders to other rebels, who scampered away.

At the Golden Horn, dozens of rebels heaved with all of their might, and slowly a large chain emerged from the waters, putting up a screen below it…

((Somewhere near Julius’s neighborhood))

“So, uh, Markos,” began Ioannes, “What have you been up to since you were last here?”

“Not much,” replied Markos, “Raised my family–yes, I do have a family–in our simple house in Germany, studying theology and military tactics, hoping that I don’t have to come back here at some point. Pretty boring stuff, I’d say. I just wanted to get away from all of the court politics and military hierarchy. Can you imagine what it is like being Konstantinos’s second-in-command? Always having someone to overshadow you, boss you around, claim all of the credit, and I get blamed for everything because with his death I am suddenly the leader of his movement. Even when I never claimed the throne for myself! Yes, you guys invented that. I don’t blame you. I mean, I did sit on the throne and call myself a saint.”

“Heads up,” said John-Loukas, “We’ve got company. Rebels up ahead. They appear to be fighting another group of what appear to be armed civilians. One such civilian seems to be wearing senatorial robes.”

“Then what are we waiting for?” Ioannes responded. “Let’s kill some rebel scum!”

The three men charged towards the rebel group, guns ready.

((The sub))

“Sir,” said one of Markos’s soldiers, peering through the periscope, “They’re trying to raise the Great Chain!”

Suddenly, the sub shook as artillery shells struck the water nearby.

“Load the torpedoes,” said the commander, “And prepare to dive.”

“Dive, dive! Battle stations!” Alarms blared throughout the sub as men scrambled to their positions, loading torpedoes into launchers, pushing buttons, and pulling levers.

Nestorius almost lost his balance when the sub lurched downward and accelerated forward.

The artillery bombardment continued, and the fear in the crew was almost palpable. The next shot could be a direct hit…

There was a gurgling sound from above, and the soldier retracted the periscope. “Fully submerged, sir.”

“Lock all weapons on the Chain and fire at will,” ordered the commander.

“Firing away.” Several soldiers pressed glowing buttons.

There was a roar as the torpedoes shot out of their launchers, sailing silently towards their target. A few seconds later, they heard a few muted booms as the torpedoes hit their targets. A few seconds after that, they heard metal groaning and tearing as the Chain broke apart, taking its screen with it.

“Direct hit,” said a soldier, “The Chain has been neutralized.”

“Full speed ahead,” ordered the commander.

The sub slid through the wreckage of the formerly Great Chain and left the burning city behind. The sounds of artillery vanished behind them, leaving only the steady hum of the engines.

“Well, we’ve made it,” said the commander, “Athens, here we come!”

The crew and senators clapped in relief. Except for Hairini, who felt like something or someone was missing…

Nestorius was a little nervous about getting into an U-boat. With so many people, it could get claustrophobic. The others reassured him that it would be fine….. until news of the Great Chain being raised came to light.

Everything happened so quickly that Nestorius couldn’t get himself ready for the dive. He almost lost his balance when the sub lurched downward and accelerated forward, but fortunately, Hairini was there to help.

The group grew nervous, as the tension rose. The sounds of booms in the water didn’t really help. But then, news arrived that the Chain was neutralized. With the sub sliding through, the commander revealed that they had made it. Everyone clapped in relief, but Hairini couldn’t shake the feeling she felt earlier. Looking at the senators once more, she finally realized who was missing.

“Where is Senator Marco!?” she yelled, as everyone looked around themselves to see that he wasn’t here.

Julius shot another rebel as the wounded were carried away. Then he saw what it seemed to be two men in senatorial robes and an army sergeant shooting the rebels with them. Upon closer inspection, the two men were… Senator Doukas and Angelos! “HALT FIRE!” Julius shouted he ran down and greeted the two men. “I’m so glad to see you guys! What has happened since i’m gone and what’s the current situation.”

Rumors are, the Palaiologoi family have been engaged in a civil war. The Valois- Palaiologoi cadet branch has been nearly exterminated.

Ioannes recognized Senator Marco and shook his hands. “The rebel scum have attacked Constantinople, sent the Emperor into hiding and possibly killed him, and set up a communist regime. The Scholai Palatinae is nowhere to be found, and Blachernae and much of the city is under rebel control. Senator Doukas is off fighting her brother, who has been brainwashed by the rebels and forced to serve them. The man in the Legion Air Corps uniform is Commander John-Loukas Picardie, who commanded the Empress Veronica when it went down over rebel-occupied territory several weeks ago. The man in the German-style uniform with the Angeloi crest on it is Markos Angelos. You probably know him, but he’s not here to take over the Empire. He’s going to help us retake Blachernae and destroy the rebel headquarters there. You guys might be helpful. Would you care to join us?”


“TIE 1, you are clear for takeoff,” said the base commander.

Colonel Alexios Komnenos saluted. “God save the Emperor,” he said, “Now let’s go kill some rebel scum!”

He turned his key, and his biplane sputtered to life, followed by the other eleven planes behind him. The squadron taxied down the runway before accelerating and soaring into the skies, heading towards the smoke trails rising up from Constantinople.

((The waters off the coast of Thessaloniki))

The sub had surfaced briefly to give the crew a break. Hairini, Nestorius, and a few other senators were lounging on the deck, relaxing after what they had gone through in the capital.

Just when she was about to doze off, Hairini heard a humming noise in the distance. That was weird, because the crew had not sighted any ships in the immediate vicinity.

She glanced up at the sky and saw twelve small dots flying across the sea in the distance, heading in the opposite direction. Little did she know that the imperial legions were beginning to retake Constantinople…

“It would be my utmost pleasure,” Marco grinned. “MEN! Pack your bags and equipment we’re going with the senators here!”
Julius wrote a little note and stuck on his house’s front door.
Sarah, I’ve met up with General Ioannes and John- Loukas. I’ve let two of my men guard you and a radio. Call me if there’s trouble.
Love, Marco 🙂

“Alright gentlemen,” Julius said. “were to?”

While the sub was surfaced, the Aeteorean group was talking to some of the generals, capitalists, and nobles.

Lykidis and Antecheirinidis were loudly talking about their ambitions to become senators in an attempt to convince them that it was a good idea. They were generally ignored in favor of the minorities. While the nobles that spoke to them weren’t as keen on their beliefs of Romanitas, believing that one’s language and inherited ethnicity were key parts of the modern Roman, the generals and capitalists gave their beliefs a listen. Taior, having studied the ways of ancient Rome, pointed out how the Constitutio Antoniniana, or the Edict of Caracalla, issued in 212, declared all free people in the Roman Empire were to be given theoretical Roman citizenship, so that the emperor could tax more people and to increase the number of men able to serve in the legions, among other reasons. When he asked them to think of the many benefits of having full citizenship applied across the empire, both groups rubbed their chins, thinking of many ways to use the newly emancipated minorities.

Once Taior pointed out how the Romans used citizenship as a tool for Romanization, even the nobles began listening, as they began thinking of using citizenship to Hellenize away the remaining minorities in Roman Europe. While the Aboriginal wasn’t expecting anything to come out of this, he hoped that, at the very least, the idea of full citizenship and possible addression of the discrimination minorities receive in the Roman colonies would be considered. One God, one Emperor, one state; an ideal which he would fight for until the end of time.

Meanwhile, on the deck, Hairini and Nestorius were lounging on the deck, relaxing after the pretty terrifying events that preceded in the capital. The former began to dose off as the latter wondered what was going to happen next. Hairini then heard a humming noise in the distance. As the crew hadn’t informed them of any sighted ships, she thought it was weird. She glanced up at the sky and saw twelve small dots flying across the sea in the distance, heading in the opposite direction. She nudged Nestorius, who looked up as well. They wondered what those dots were….

“Alright gentlemen,” Julius said, “Where to?”

“Like I said, Blachernae.” Markos dramatically pointed with his sword at a map of the city spread out on the ground, particularly at Blachernae Palace. “That’s where the rebels have set up their headquarters. We hit that, kill Tsoukalos and his cronies, decapitate the entire occupation. Then the legions will arrive to finish off the remaining rebels.”

“But what about the…the big airships looming in the sky over us?” Julius pointed at one of the rebel airships.

“We’ll find a way to take them down after we kill Tsoukalos,” explained John-Loukas, “I’ve got operatives up there who will sabotage them.”

“Hey, we better move out, because I’m not sure Theodora can fight for this long, no matter how skilled she is with the sword,” said Ioannes, “She’s probably been fighting her brother for at least a couple hours now.”

“If she can fight for a couple hours, she can fight for a couple more,” replied Markos, “We hit Blachernae first and then the Grand Palace. Take out the headquarters, everybody else loses the will to fight. Take out Niketas first, and we risk them moving to a more secure location or tracking down more important figures.”

“Markos is right,” said John-Loukas, “We have to take out Blachernae first.”

“Well, I sure hope Theodora can keep fighting then…” said Ioannes, limping through the streets.

They set off down the street, their weapons drawn and ready. Ahead of them, red flags bearing the hammer and sickle and Roman eagles fluttered above the smoldering ruins of Blachernae Palace.

((Near Athens))

All was quiet aboard the U-Boat, until it wasn’t. Nestorius was suddenly shaken awake by a loud explosion which rocked the sub. Alarms blared as he heard water rushing in from somewhere else in the sub.

Crewmen rushed from compartment to compartment. “Depth charge!” one shouted. “Dive! Dive! Dive!”

The submarine lurched downwards again, only for another explosion to rock the craft. This one was much closer to Nestorius. Apparently it had also been a direct hit, for the steady hum of the engines suddenly vanished. Several lights suddenly switched off.

“We lost main power!” screamed an engineer. “We’re dead in the water!”

“Take us up to the surface,” ordered the commander, “If we’re going to die, I at least want to see who did it.”

“Empty the ballast tanks!” shouted an engineer.

There was a hissing noise as compressed air flooded into the ballast tanks, pushing out the stored water. Slowly, the submarine began to rise, until there was a roar and shaking as it breached the surface, throwing Nestorius off-balance. How did the rebels get ships in the Mediterranean? he thought. The Empire controlled the seas around Constantinople and Greece.

A crewman observed the surroundings through the periscope. “Sir, those aren’t rebel ships attacking us, it’s the Imperials!”

Not much was happening aboard the U-Boat after they dived under once more. Hairini looked especially tired, at some points even yawning. Nestorius was better, but he wouldn’t mind having a bed right about now. The others were talking about whatever, neither of them cared. As he thought about what to do with the fact that his residence is gone, he was suddenly shaken awake by a loud explosion which rocked the sub.

He looked around himself, as the two heard shouting. The submarine lurched downwards again, only for another explosion to rock the craft. This one was much closer to the two. Apparently it had also been a direct hit, for the steady hum of the engines suddenly vanished. Nestorius and Hairini had to put their hands to their ears because of how loud the explosion was. Several lights suddenly switched off. Neither of them were willing to get out of the room they were in to find out what was going on, but they heard the words “dead in the water”, which caused them to panic slightly.

Abruptly, they heard a hissing noise as compressed air flooded into the ballast tanks, pushing out the stored water. Slowly, the submarine began to rise, until there was a roar and shaking as it breached the surface, throwing Nestorius off-balance. He quickly grabbed onto something to stop himself from falling. “How did the rebels get ships in the Mediterranean? The Empire controlled the seas around Constantinople and Greece!” he thought to himself. The two were very worried over what was happening.


“Status report,” ordered the commander.

“Sir, all engines have been disabled,” reported an officer, “We have successfully surfaced without incident. The hull’s integrity has not compromised in any way.”

“What about those ships that disabled us?”

The officer trembled. “It’s the Empire, sir. They’ve got us surrounded with a destroyer and several escorts. They haven’t fired on us yet, so I have reason to believe they intend to board us.”

“Very well then,” said the commander, “Attempt to signal a surrender to them. We cannot outfight them. We must hope they show mercy.”

The officer nodded. “I will relay the orders to the crew.”

He rushed away, barking several rapid-fire words in German. The crew snapped to attention, grabbing whatever weapons they could reach and gathering around the bridge.

“Gentlemen,” said the commander, “You have served me well enough. I have nothing more to say. Be prepared for whatever they might throw at us.”

“Yes sir!” the crew shouted together.

They shut all of the entrances leading to the bridge before some of them climbed up the ladder and exited the conning tower.

Nestorius did not hear much of this, because the door was shut tightly, sealing off the senators from the bridge. After several minutes, he heard a small bump as a small boat hit the side of the sub. Another minute later, he heard the machine gun turret open fire and then fall silent again in a few seconds. There was the sound of metal creaking as a door opened, followed by a loud bang as a grenade detonated somewhere on the bridge. Men shouted as gunshots rang out, and then there was silence again.

He watched as the handle of the door slowly twisted, and the door swung open, revealing an Imperial marine, rifle in hand and pointed straight at him. Behind the marine lay the bodies of the dead crew.

“We have killed your rebel captors,” said the marine, more marines appearing behind him, “Please come with us.”

((Near Blachernae))
Markos, Ioannes, John-Loukas, and Julius crouched behind a wall, watching the guards in front of Blachernae Palace.

“Why did you send away my men to attack the other gate?” whispered Julius. “They’re probably going to die!”

“I did what I had to do,” said Markos, “I needed a diversion, and your men would have slowed us down anyways. We need stealth, not overwhelming force.”

“Then why ask me to join you guys?!”

“If you want I can send you to join your men.”

“Never mind.”

Ioannes kept watching until the moment was right. Then he threw a rock far to the right. The guards heard the noise, and one ran off to investigate it. John-Loukas snuck behind the other one and knocked him out with one blow to the head.

“All clear,” said the air captain.

The four of them rushed through the entrance, into the palace.

They found themselves in what was once an ornate hallway which had been desecrated by the rebels. Statues and busts had been smashed and decapitated. Paintings had been slashed and vandalized with communist propaganda. Suits of armor lay on the ground, trampled and mangled. The imperial eagle insignia and family crests had new torn down, shattered, and replaced with the hammer and sickle. It was utter devastation.

“Where is that Tsoukalos?” Julius asked. “I want to strangle him so–”

“Shh,” replied Markos, “We need stealth.”

They rounded the corner and spotted two more rebels guarding a door.

“Okay, just like last time we need to–” Ioannes began.

“JUUUUUULIIIIIIIUUUUUUUUSSSSSS MAAAAAAAARRRRRRRCCCCCOOOOOOO!” Julius screamed as he lunged at the rebels, sword drawn.

The rebels, not prepared for this insane action, were immediately cut down under Julius’s fury.

“Or we could do that,” said John-Loukas, staring at the dead bodies.

“Alright, screw stealth, our cover’s been blown!” Markos shouted. “Kill everybody you find!”

As they heard rebels storming down the hall behind them, they drew their guns and rushed through the door.

As Nestorius was about to tell the marine what was going on, Lykidis stepped in front of him, thanking the marines for saving them from their rebel captors. Once everyone realized what he was trying to do, they joined in as well. Nestorius felt a little stumped, feeling it wasn’t very nice to throw the U-boat operators under the bus. Hairini patted him on the back, telling him that at least he considered doing the right thing.

Everyone on board proceeds to follow the marines.

((Rome, Italy – May 1911))

Senator Donatello Favero patiently waited in the audience hall of the Quirinal Palace in Rome. Giuseppe Lombardi, so-called Prince of Italia, had taken the building as his own when he had rose up against the Empire and established a rebel state in northern Italy. Donatello had been negotiating with his officials for weeks now to ensure the peace held, at least for now. While the Empire surely could not tolerate Italia’s existence in the long run, it had to be tolerated for now as long as the other rebel states continued to resist and the Empire’s neighbours continued their invasion. Italia would be reconquered when the time was right.

After having waited for nearly three hours, an attendant finally opened the door and ushered Donatello in to meet Lombardi. The prince was decked up in ceremonial garments with their bright colours and garish designs. He wore a golden crown shaped to resemble laurels but that was so polished that no one could look directly at it without going blind. Donatello did his best to hide his disgust.

“I apologize for the wait,” Lombardi said. “I’m a very busy man, after all.” Donatello forced a smile, not failing to notice the cup of coffee and recently read newspaper on a nearby end-table.

“Now what is that you require this day?” the prince asked.

“I was hoping to ask something of a personal matter,” Donatello said. He had been so focused on diplomacy the past few weeks that he had neglected family matters. “I wish to inquire as to the current status of my family’s estate outside Venice.”

“If you are hoping to have them returned, I’m afraid that I cannot let a citizen of the Empire reside within our borders without becoming a citizen of Italia.”

Donatello held back a scowl. This pompous buffoon and his cronies had taken everything from his family. Still, he had to be courteous, seeing as he was a diplomat. “I understand, but is the estate at least in good repair? I am concerned it was damaged during the war.”

The prince waved his hand theatrically and said, “Then you have nothing to worry about. All damage was repaired shortly after peace was signed.”

Donatello tilted his head with curiosity. “You repaired my family’s estate? Whatever for?”

Lombardi smiled and tried to pat Donatello on the back, but the senator expertly dodged the false show of affection. “It wouldn’t do for my new September home to be damaged.”

The senator’s eye twitched. “Your September home?”

“Why yes. A distinguished monarch such as I requires proper estates for all times of the year. I find the weather around Venice in September is most lovely, and thus I prefer to spend my time there during that month.” Lombardi gave a toothy grin. “I will admit it is by far one of my finest estates.”

“Your estate?” Donatello’s clenched his fist. At that moment, all thought of diplomatic professionalism went out the window. “You traitorous pig-dog! You deplorable thief! I’ll wring your neck for this!”

Without hesitation, Donatello launched himself at the prince, wrapping his hands around the man’s neck and strangling as hard as he could. The guards in attendance rushed at him and pried him away from the prince, but not before the man went blue in the face. Once free, the prince choked and gasped for breath, while the guards hauled the senator off to the side. Lombardi fixed his ruffled garments and fixed Donatello with a glare. “I will forgive this improper display this once due to the concern for your family’s estate, but I will not let it happen again. Remember your place. Italia is mine now.”

With that, the guards escorted Donatello from the room. The senator could only dream of the day he would get to witness Lombardi’s execution as a traitor and the return of his family’s home.

((Over Constantinople))

“Hey, what’s that over there?” said Laskaris.

The crewmen looked out the small window at several small dots on the horizon, rapidly growing larger.

“Looks like the cavalry’s here,” said Leonard.

The biplanes spread out across the ruined city and engaged the rebel forces, cutting down dozens of enemy soldiers without resistance. Several more of them turned on the airships, strafing the craft with a hail of bullets.

“Uh, we should probably get out of here,” said Jonathan.

But before any of them could as much as move out from their hiding places, a stray bullet struck one of the engines, creating a spark which ignited the airship’s hydrogen reserves. The rebel ship instantly exploded, killing all onboard, with flaming debris hitting the airship next to it and causing it to explode as well. The flaming wreckage of both airships tumbled to the ground, crashing into the middle of Constantinople and leveling several city blocks, killing even more people and starting a fire that rapidly spread throughout the entire city. One landed right on top of Hagia Sophia, while the other landed in the business districts, destroying what remained of the stock exchange.

((Near Athens))

The marines took the senators and the “hostages” onto the imperial destroyer Achilles, where they were put into small holding cells and interrogated as to what the Angelos pretender rebels were doing in Constantinople. Nestorius attempted to argue that the pretenders had saved them, but the soldiers would have none of that and marked him as needing a psychiatric evaluation. None of the other senators backed up his claim. The imperial marines told them upon their debriefing, a little bit later, that they would be relocated to Athens, where Theodora had (preparing for a situation like this) set aside parts of her estates for them to stay in until the capital was secured. After being stripped of all valuable materials and information, the U-boat was sunk.

“At least we can trust these soldiers,” said Hairini, “We’re safe now.”

“I hope so,” replied Nestorius, “I hope so.”


“Die already rebel scum!” Markos shot at another rebel.

“But you are a rebel,” replied Ioannes.

“Shut up!” Markos snapped back. “We’re ignoring that for now!”

John-Loukas shot at some other rebels behind them. “Where the blazes is that Tsoukalos!”

“If I know rebels correctly, he’s probably heading for the bunkers!” said Markos.

“Then we need to get to the nearest bunker entrance!” replied Ioannes, charging through the lines of rebels in front of him.

Julius was a whirlwind of fury. He didn’t even bother to reload his gun once he ran out of bullets, instead drawing his sword again and hacking his way through the ranks of the rebels without paying much attention to anything. The rebels were so unprepared for such unorthodox methods that they fell easily.

“Aaaahhhh!” shouted Markos as a bullet punched through his shoulder. The pretender collapsed on the floor as dozens of rebels flooded into the room.

“Angelos!” Ioannes rushed over to his side.

“No!” shouted Markos, “You go get Tsoukalos! I’ll hold them off! Maybe I’ll redeem myself to the Empire this way!”

Ioannes nodded and rushed away.

Behind him, as rebels surrounded Markos, Ioannes heard the pretender scream “For Empire and Emperor!” before he detonated a grenade, killing himself and everybody around him.

On board the Achilles, Nestorius attempted to argue that the pretenders had saved them, as he stated that “[the pretenders] were too proud and haughty to let someone else overthrow the Empire.” The soldiers considered this line of thought to be poppycock, as obviously the pretenders would want to work with the communists to overthrow the Empire, especially as the other senators didn’t share the same line of thought. He was marked him as needing a psychiatric evaluation, leaving him a bit miffed.

“I cannot believe these soldiers! Why would a monarchist pretender work with people who want to establish a communist state?!” he told Hairini.

“Not everyone knows the exact details of ideologies, Nestor. You should know that,” she replied, causing him to reluctantly nod.

“At least we can trust these soldiers. We’re safe now.”

“I hope so. I hope so,” he replied. He wondered how Theodora’s estate looked like, considering her family.


Ioannes and John-Loukas ran through a deserted hallway.

“Hey, where’d Julius go?” asked Ioannes.

“Don’t ask me, I thought you were watching him!” replied John-Loukas.

“I thought you were watching him!” said Ioannes.

The air captain sighed. “Oh well, I sure hope he doesn’t get himself killed like Markos.”

They ran on.

((elsewhere in Blachernae))

Markos’s mangled body lay among the bodies of dead rebels strewn all over the floor. The surviving rebels, stepping gingerly around the bodies of their fallen comrades, showed no respect for the fallen soldier, kicking and prodding his body away from them with their boots and bayonets. They surrounded Julius, whose sword had broken sometime during the battle.

“You are coming with us, reactionary scum,” said one rebel, “Don’t try anything, or else I will have to kill you. And I am looking forward to executing another reactionary scum like I did with some senators and servants a couple hours ago…”

((In downtown Constantinople))

The biplanes were in the middle of strafing some more rebel defenses when the enemy planes arrived. A dozen biplanes, all painted read and proudly bearing the hammer and sickle eagle insignia of the Union of Rome, engaged the Imperial aircraft in a dogfight over the city. Bullets and wreckage crashed down all over the city, killing rebels and civilians alike and leveling dozens of city blocks. On the ground, the remains of the Scholai Palatinae gathered outside of the walls of the city, preparing for an assault, while imperial navy destroyers and battleships blasted away at the remains of the rebel airship blocking the Bosphorous, attempting to clear a way for transports to enter the city and deploy marines.


The Achilles docked in Piraeus, and the senators were quickly hurried away to nearby cabs and carriages. The generals were taken to the nearest military headquarters, while the nobles and industrialists paid cabs to drive them away to whatever estates they or their friends owned in the countryside. The priests and patriarchs made their way to the Parthenon.

Hairini, Nestorius, and the other senators stood at the curb as the Achilles pulled out of port, heading back to aid in the liberation of Constantinople. They watched as some cars bearing the Doukas family crest, not the imperial crest but those of Theodora’s family, pulled up in front of them. Servants opened the door for all of the senators. Hairini and Nestorious noticed a young woman dressed in the clothes of nobility inside the car in front of them.

“Well, what are you waiting for?” she said. “We’ve been expecting you. Please, take a seat and we can get this over with quickly.”

Before Nestorius and Hairini could get a word out, Lykidis and Antecheirinidis jumped towards the family. Despite them not being the Imperial branch, impressing them could be their best chance at possibly getting the nomination for the Dalmatian governorship.

“Oh great Doukai, what an honor it is to meet you-” the two began before being pulled back by the others. Onobanjo, having worked with Lykidis the longest in his time with the group, tells him to cut it with this crap. The two begin to argue, as the other hellenized families join in the arguing. Soon, the entirety of the Aeteorean governorship sans Nestorius and Hairini has begun arguing. Nestorius walks to the car with the young woman in it.

“I apologize for this. Those two are a bit…… rambunctious, when it comes to those higher in power. Do you possibly have some place where they can stay while we get this over with?” he asked, as Hairini approached next to him. The two seem ready to take a seat, as long as something is done with the others.

Durakis Habsburg- Palaiologos V has arrived. The Habsburg- Palaiologos branch has triumphed over its opponents and successfully taken the Palaiologos family legacy. Nicaea is under the firm control of Durakis V. It is said that he is a socialist but it is, of yet, unknown what his opinion is of the rebellion.
– Report from the Palaiologos family spokesman

Julius was pretty much screwed at this point. No ammo, broken sword, and surrounded by reactionary F***heads. But one does not simply kill a angry Julius Marco. “You’re coming with us, Imperial Scum!” said one of the rebels.
Then Julius began to laugh. The kind of laugh that sounds absolutely bloody terrifying but you can’t run away. “ehehehehhahaAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHAHA!”
Julius didn’t really care anymore. All he could see was red, and reactionary scum. HE leaped forward and punched the first rebel so hard his hand went through the rebels head. Then the next one had his neck ripped off. The same happened with rest of the rebels. They didn’t stand a chance. Julius was basically a pissed of tank.
“and THAT -pant- is why -pant- You DONT MESS WITH EMPIRE!”
Julius ran off into the hallways to find Ioannes and the others.

Julius Marco STREAMED into the halls.The rebels were cut down, and Julius got a new gun with full ammo. Then he reached the biggest room in the building.
Inside said room was Tsoukalos.
Julius stared at Tsoukalos.
Tsoukalos stared at julius.
“Quack quack, motherf***er.” Julius said. Thus began an epic duel that would be known through the centuries as “SWEET JESUS MARCO IS PISSED.”
Tsoukalos had some advanced training, but Julius had done something quite different. For most of his life he has duelled 2 opponents at 7:00 in the morning every day, and since then has become a master of the sword. He had a gun,but then again, Julius wanted to make Tsoukalos BURN. In and out, fortune swinging, until Tsoukalos got a lucky shot that destabilised Julius, sending him to the ground. “END OF THE LINE!” Tsoukalos screamed. he lunged his sword at Julius’s head, then something completely random happened.
The sword BROKE on contact with Julius’s head.
“WHAT?” tsoukalos shouted.
Then another completely random thing happened.
In front of julius appeared the spirit of JULIUS CAESAR.
“Kill this pathetic excuse of life Marco.”
“with pleasure, my emperor.”
“Please, call me Julius. See you in heaven!”
“eh- ho- wha-” Tsoukalos wasn’t expecting THAT of all things.
*cracks knuckles* “meet TIE Sarah, and TIE Gabriel….”

Durakis V has been overthrown and murdered after he declared that he possessed no allegiance to the Basileus. Kythos Habsburg- Palaiologos replaces him as the Duke of Nicaea. He is rushing to Constantinople with a new brigade and equipment from Greece.

***** To General Hatzianestis, Scholai Palatinae, Thrace *****
***** General Tzavelas, Expeditionary Army, Üsküdar *****

***** To General Tzavelas, Expeditionary Army, Üsküdar *****
***** General Hatzianestis, Scholai Palatinae, Thrace *****

***** To General Hatzianestis, Scholai Palatinae, Thrace *****
***** General Tzavelas, Expeditionary Army, Üsküdar *****

***** To General Tzavelas, Expeditionary Army, Üsküdar *****
***** General Hatzianestis, Scholai Palatinae, Thrace *****

***** To General Hatzianestis, Scholai Palatinae, Thrace *****
***** General Tzavelas, Expeditionary Army, Üsküdar *****

***** To General Tzavelas, Expeditionary Army, Üsküdar *****
***** General Hatzianestis, Scholai Palatinae, Thrace *****

***** To General Hatzianestis, Scholai Palatinae, Thrace *****
***** General Tzavelas, Expeditionary Army, Üsküdar *****

***** To General Tzavelas, Expeditionary Army, Üsküdar *****
***** General Hatzianestis, Scholai Palatinae, Thrace *****
At the Theodosian walls, a small rebel detachment pointed their machine gun down the rail tunnel passing under the walls. This was the easiest point to defend, so the handful of men did not worry at their isolation. Especially with the small artillery piece on the walls to blast any trains. Only men would have the chance to come through the tunnel, and the machine gun would rip them to shreds.
After being on post a while, they did hear a train coming. The gun on the walls roared, and they cheered despite the temporary deafness. They gathered round the machine gun with spare ammunition, in case a large assault followed. They had only a moment to register the incoming mass before they all died.
On the inside of the walls, an armored train squealed to a halt. A voice rang over the loudspeakers inside.
“Men! Time to detrain! First infantry, clear the walls! Second infantry, secure Blachernae! First artillery, the train will move to give you firing solution on the airships. Third infantry, you’ll secure the Great Palace. Stay on the train until it stops, that’ll be faster than running! Everyone else, drop four squads every block and begin clearing the city of rebels!”


“Sir,” said a rebel, “The reactionaries have breached the outer defenses and routed our forces. They outnumber us by a significant margin. What are your orders?”

“We cannot hold the city forever,” replied Tsoukalos, “But if we cannot keep this city, we will deny it to them. Burn everything. Slaughter everyone of importance. Make sure that they will be reeling for years to come.”

The rebel nodded and relayed the order to the other divisions. All over the city, those rebels not engaging the Scholai Palatinae prepared their rifles, flamethrowers, and gas canisters. When the legions fought their way into the downtown, aided by marines who had landed from the ships in the harbor district, thy found nothing but a charred hulk of a city. 75% of everyone with more than a basic secondary school education was dead, their bodies mutilated and strung up on lights and ramparts. 90% of the clergy were dead, including every patriarch still in the city and the Ecumenical Patriarch. 95% of all government employees, bureaucrats, politicians, and nobles were dead. 80% of all books and works of art were burned; another 10% were carried off as loot. As the rebels retreated or were cut down, they left behind empty wastelands in what was once the heart of the Empire.

Tsoukalos turned around and saw Julius Marco there, gun in hand….

((After the duel))

“Kill this pathetic excuse of life, Marco,” said who appeared to be Julius Caesar.

“With pleasure, my emperor,” said Julius.

Julius’s eyes cleared up, and he realized that the “spirit” was actually the Emperor Michael, holding a sword.

“Wait!” Tsoukalos shouted as both men raised their swords.

“Why should I hold off from killing you, communist scum?” Julius taunted.

“Because you are a communist sleeper agent, tasked with killing the Emperor.”

Julius looked confused. “I don’t believe that.”

He and the Emperor brutally took down the rebel leader.


Much of the former Queen of Cities was now in ruins or up in flames as the Scholai Palatinae assaulted the rebels entrenched inside. With every battle the rebels were driven back, but not before immense casualties had been inflicted on both the legions and the city itself. Bombs hidden in every other building and street claimed dozens of lives, killing soldiers and civilians indiscriminately. Mass deployment of chemical weapons left entire districts and neighborhoods utterly empty. Rebels frequently held civilians hostage as human shields and gassed those they left behind. Museums were demolished with soldiers, civilians, and even fellow rebels still inside. Churches and schools suffered a similar fate. Plumes of smoke rose from the dozens of bonfires where rebels threw priceless books and paintings to the roaring flames before destroying the empty libraries. Blueprints and research notes were raided and looted by the rebels to be brought back to France; the rest were burned. As the legions advanced and cut off the rebels from their supplies, the communists grew more desperate. They began shooting any civilians they encountered. Bodies of men, women, and children of all ages and walks of life were strung up on the streetlights.

Finally, the legions pushed into the city center, surrounding what remained of the rebel armies in the ruins of Hagia Sophia. While the majority of the rebels immediately threw down their weapons and surrendered to the imperial forces, their commander had other ideas and detonated a series of hidden land mines under the square, killing every rebel and many of the soldiers. Many more were wounded.

The Athenian Lancers were largely unharmed by this last act of defiance. Their commander, Colonel Kyrillos Melissenos, barked some orders at his men, who rushed over to where the red flag of the Union of Rome fluttered in the middle of the square. They pulled down the rebel flag and hoisted up the imperial eagle insignia as Melissenos saluted for the cameras. He hoped this would make for a great propaganda photo.

Meanwhile, Major Petros Laskaris inspected the nearby wreckage of one of the rebel airships. He noticed something that seemed out of place and moved in closer to take a look. Upon further inspection he saw that it was an arm, which though significantly burned was still clothed in an imperial uniform that stood out from the red uniforms of the rebels. He dug out the body the arm was connected to and inspected the name printed on the uniform:


“My god,” he muttered, making the sign of the cross. He stared into the empty eyes of his brother, whom he had last seen boarding the Empress Veronica for the raid into France several months ago. “No, this is not happening!”

He fell to his knees, overwhelmed by what he saw. The city he grew up in was destroyed. His brother, who had likely been captured by the communists, had been killed with them. He had lost too much. Tears streamed out of his eyes. “WHHYYYYYY?!!!!” he screamed skyward. “WHY?!”

One cameraman noticed Laskaris and repositioned his camera. He captured one photograph of the major on his knees, his back facing the camera, his dead brother in his arms, the devastation of Constantinople surrounding him. When the photo was developed and published in all major newspapers weeks later with the caption “Lest we forget,” it would quickly become the most recognized symbol of the war. It would anger a people divided by ideology, nationality, and class. It would wake them up to the greater threat that was tearing the Empire apart. It would unite them in their anger and their rage and their suffering into one people, one nation. No longer would they consider themselves Greeks, Hispanians, Italians, or French. They were all Romans. And they would fight against anything that threatened their Empire.


Ioannes kicked down a door and raised his pistol. “Tsoukalos! I know you’re in here!” he shouted. “Prepare to–oh.”

Tsoukalos lay facedown on the floor in a pool of blood. His body was horribly mangled and torn up. Standing over him was Julius…and the Emperor.

“Don’t look at Us,” said the Emperor, “He did most of the work.”

“Um…” said John-Loukas. “Eh…well done, Julius. You’ve killed the leader of the rebels. And we’ve handled everybody else in the palace.”

“Your Majesty, how did you escape the gas attack on your bunker?” said Ioannes. “I thought they got every entrance and exit covered.”

“There was a secret entrance that only We and a few select others know about,” said the Emperor, “We escaped through there, and We decided to come back and help defeat the rebel scum. The legions have entered the city. The rebels are in full retreat. It is only a matter of time before Constantinople is fully liberated.”

“That’s good to hear,” said Julius.

“Hey, what about Theodora?” asked Ioannes. “What happened to her?”

“That, We do not know…” said the Emperor.

Suddenly, another door was kicked down, and Theodora stormed into the room, dragging an unconscious Niketas Doukas behind her. Her robes were bloody and torn, and her hair was wild and messy. Her right hand clutched a bloody sword tightly. Her eyes were still blazing with fire.

“Greetings, Your Majesty,” she said, bowing as well as she could with one hand dragging Niketas and the other one holding a sword, “I have apprehended my brother, who was brainwashed by the rebels. He was a worthy opponent, but I ultimately defeated him.”

She dropped Niketas on the floor. “He is not seriously wounded aside from the hit to the head I inflicted on him, but he will take a while to recover, not counting the time it takes for him to overcome the rebel brainwashing. Are you in need of any assistance?”


Hairini, Nestorius, and the other senators stepped inside Theodora’s moderate-sized mansion, which was decorated with some paintings and ancient Hellenic statues. The cleanliness and order of the estate contrasted dramatically with the destruction and the chaos of Constantinople. Hairini did not believe she was seeing what she was seeing for a moment. After all she had gone through…did she really deserve to be here while thousands of innocent civilians were butchered by the rebels?

Nestorius noticed Hairini’s discomfort. “It’s okay,” he said, taking her hand, “I feel the same way.”

“You don’t understand!” she said, recoiling from Nestorius’s touch. “Why did they all have to die? Why didn’t we do more to help? Why did we flee like cowards?!”

“Hairini, we did what we had to do,” replied Nestorius, “It’s over now.”

“Yes, it’s over, and thousands are dead, and we’re standing in this huge empty mansion like we don’t give a frak about them!” she screamed, tears flying from her eyes.

“Calm down,” said Nestorius, “Let’s take a walk.”

They exited the house and walked through the small garden and park in the back. The sun’s gentle light beat down on them. Birds chirped in the trees. Bees buzzed through the air, fluttering from flower to flower. The top of the Acropolis and the Parthenon on it loomed overhead, basking half of the garden in shadow. It was a very calming sight.

“Theodora’s sister-in-law said that this was all planted and grown by Theodora’s father,” said Nestorius, “Beautiful, isn’t it?”

“Yeah, it is,” replied Hairini, “But how will this make up for what happened back there?”

“It won’t,” said Nestorius, “But it’ll help you cope with it and overcome it.”

She nodded. “I hope they’re okay.”

A senator rushed out of the building. “Senator Nestorius!” he shouted. “We’ve got a message from the capital!”

“What does it say?” asked Hairini, suddenly interested.

“The rebels have been defeated! The city’s been saved!”

((Rebel-occupied Italia))

Lombardi sipped some fine Italian wine as he sat in a chair in the former Favero estate. He had made many significant upgrades to the estate since acquiring it a while, and he considered it one of his best moves as the Prince of Italia (his coronation as King of Italy would be in a month). As the old estate had been ruined by the heavy fighting between the imperials and his Lombard Liberation Legion during the liberation of Venice, he had the most damaged parts (about 70% of the entire estate) torn down and replaced with new buildings, each built according to his own designs. He fashioned himself as a successor to the great artists of Renaissance Italy, such as da Vinci and Michaelangelo. Statues of himself as the perfect Italian man were put up everywhere, and paintings of his face were hung in every room. Phrases in Lombard and Italian, taken from Italian nationalist sources and from quotes his assistants had collected over his time as Prince of Italy, were engraved in all doorways. The flags of the Kingdom of Italy, which bore his family’s crest in addition to the red-white-green tricolor of Italy, fluttered in the wind over the estate.

“Your Majesty,” said a servant, “You have a visitor.”

“If it is that Donatello, remind him that trespassing on my vacation home is punishable by death,” replied Lombardi, without turning around.

“It’s not him, sir, it’s one of your men from the Ministry of Intelligence.”

Lombardi put down his wine. “What does he want?”

“He’s brought news of the communist attack on Constantinople. The Empire has recovered the city, but it’s been severely crippled in the process. He wishes that we issue a declaration of war while they are still weak to drive them out of all Italy and Illyricum for good and to expand our glorious Kingdom.”

“Send him in.”

((Paris – Workers’ Commonwealth HQ))

“So, it appears that the attack on Constantinople was a failure.”

“I do not believe so.”

“What do you mean?”

“Yes, it is a tactical defeat. Our men have been destroyed and driven out of the city. But it is a very costly victory for the reactionaries, a Pyrrhic one. They have lost their most important city. They have lost many of their bureaucrats, their politicians, their generals, their precious capitalists, their citizens, and their educators and scientists. We have dealt a very severe blow right at the heart of the Empire. The psychological impact on them is manyfold. Their citizens will ask many questions. First, how? How did the ‘rebel scum’ get the manpower and the capabilities to not only strike the capital, but also inflict severe damage on it? Next, why? Why were we so successful? Then, who? Who is responsible for this incident? Finally, what? What should be done? I would think that even though the Empire has retaken its capital, its legitimacy and strength have been greatly reduced. Its citizens want answers to why their government has betrayed them today. I daresay that we might have started a revolution in the Empire. If the government we imposed on them didn’t work out, maybe they should create their own…”

“Interesting words, sir. Any new orders?”

“We must redouble our efforts to fight the Empire conventionally, on our terms, in our own territory. They will be reeling from the damage to Constantinople and to the people for years to come, and we must take advantage of that. Tell the troops to begin another offensive against the imperials at once.”

“Yes, sir.”

((Somewhere in Central Asia))

The screams were growing louder and louder, despite the fact that she had covered her ears tightly. She saw flashes of light in front of her. Explosions. People running. Buildings falling apart. Things going up in flames. Horrible machines on the ground and at sea and in the air, shooting and firing and dropping death from all directions. Governments falling, emperors and monarchs deposed, red banners rising and falling, chaos and violence engulfing the world…

Kira woke up in her bed, suddenly startled by the silence and darkness of her room at night. The dreams were getting more frequent recently, interfering with her sleep. Luckily they didn’t interfere with her ability yet…

The Cult was making more demands of her. Ignatiev had convinced the High Priesthood that she was the most accurate dreamer in the entire Cult, shoving more responsibility upon her. She knew that the High Priesthood was concerned by what she saw. They wanted to make sure that their actions were leading to the ultimate goal, to the satisfaction of Chernobog by global war. So far He was probably satisfied.

She wasn’t really that religious, let alone a devout Cultist. She had been taken from her family at a young age and forced into this lifestyle when her abilities manifested. She hardly remembered her parents either. Sometimes she wished that she could live a free life, not restrained by the hierarchy and bureaucracy of the Cult. But until the war calmed down, at least in Persia and Mesopotamia so that she could get across the borders into the Empire, she could not escape. And Ignatiev was watching her. He would not let his most prized dreamer escape so easily…

Kira rolled over and went back to sleep. Again the visions came back. Strangely, these visions were not as violent as the previous ones. She saw a man saluting as the imperial eagle flag was raised in a ruined city square. She saw an imperial soldier on his knees, grieving as he carried his brother’s body in his arms. She saw the emperor of the Romans standing over a body lying in a pool of blood, flanked by three men dressed in senatorial robes and military uniforms. She saw a woman in senatorial robes standing, a sword in her hand, another unconscious man lying before her. She saw a group of senators sitting in an empty mansion, waiting around for news. She saw planes and ships soaring through the clouds and steaming through the seas, heading towards the capital as armies marched over land. She saw Constantinople in all of its glory from the air. The fires were being put out already, and the rebel banners were being torn down. How she could interpret all of these images was beyond her; it just felt natural.

As the images faded away and Kira drifted off to a more peaceful sleep, one thought lingered in her conscious mind. She instinctively formed words out of it, eight words that stubbornly refused to go away despite her attempts to go to sleep. Eight words that would chill her to the core:

“This is not the end. Only the beginning.”

Hearing Nestorius’ request, the Doukai noble quickly called someone to lead his subordinates to a hotel. Lykidis and Antecheirinidis demanded to know where they were being taken, at which point everyone else demanded someone gag the two. With the others dealt with, Nestorius and Hairini entered the car. During the drive to the mansion, they would come to find out that the noble was Theodora’s sister-in-law. Nestorius began asking a few questions about the mansion, while Hairini looked out the car window, feeling just a tad discomforted. Whether it was because of the events that have happened, or because of something else, even she wasn’t so sure.

Soon, they arrived at Theodora’s mansion. A moderately-sized place, stepping inside along with the other senators, they saw some decor consisting of some paintings and ancient Hellenic statues. The entire estate seemed like such a stark contrast to the remains of Constantinople. Hairini’s discomfort continued, as they walked through the halls of the mansion. While she was at awe at everything she was seeing, she wondered if she even had the right to be here while chaos continued in the capital. Nestorius soon caught on.

“It’s okay,” he said, as he attempted to take her hand, “I feel the same way.”

“You don’t understand!” she said, recoiling away from Nestorius. “Why did they all have to die? Why didn’t we do more to help? Why did we flee like cowards?!”

“Hairini, we did what we had to do,” replied Nestorius, “It’s over now.”

“Yes, it’s over, and thousands are dead, and we’re standing in this huge empty mansion like we don’t give a pōkokohua about them!” she screamed, fighting back tears from her eyes while doing so. Nestorius looked distressed. He hadn’t seen such emotions from Hairini before.

“Please calm down, Cyrene,” said Nestorius in a calmer tone, “Here, let’s take a walk.”

They exited the house and walked through the small garden and park in the back. The sun’s gentle light beat down on them. Birds chirped in the trees. Bees buzzed through the air, fluttering from flower to flower. The top of the Acropolis and the Parthenon on it loomed overhead, basking half of the garden in shadow. It was a very calming sight.

“When we were driving here, Theodora’s sister-in-law told me that this was all planted and grown by Theodora’s father,” said Nestorius, “Beautiful, isn’t it?”

“Yeah, it is,” replied Hairini, “But how will this make up for what happened back there, Nestor?”

“It won’t,” said Nestorius, “Nothing can make up for what happened, but this will help you cope with it and overcome it.”

She nodded. “I hope they’re okay,” to which Nestorius replied with his own nod.

Suddenly, a senator rushed out of the building. “Senator Nestorius!” he shouted. “We’ve got a message from the capital!”

“What does it say?” asked Hairini, suddenly interested.

“The rebels have been defeated! The city’s been saved!”

The two jumped in shock. It only felt like they were just there, chaos brewing, and it was already over. Hairini covered her mouth, shedding tears of joy. Nestorius wrapped his arms around her, and attempted not to cry himself. He failed. After a minute or so of crying, they asked the senator to lead them to the others.

In the darkness of night, a ship slowly rocked as it floated in the Golden Horn. Michael Doukas, seventh Emperor of that name, stood on the deck and looked over the Queen of Cities. The only light was from fires that hadn’t yet been extinguished and smoldering embers. The stars above were masked by the smoke rising from the city. Tomorrow would begin the work of reconstruction, but for tonight the Emperor mourned for his people, for the city, for the Empire, and that his reign had been one of destruction.


“No, Prince, it is absolute folly to resume war against the Empire. True, you could break their lines in Pannonia. But they would never forgive that breach of a truce. They would move their legions from Iberia to Naples to destroy you.”

“And what would you gain? Campagna? Puglia? Slices of Pannonia? All filled with Greek speakers! Already most of your subjects are Greeks, more would just weaken you. You must take this chance to forge an Italian identity, secure your position. Form a nation, not just a state.”

“Yes, the communists have weakened the Empire. But not fatally. And do you think they would be friendly to us? Did you not hear what they did to the Hagia Sophia? Do you not think they would long to do the same to St. Peter’s Basilica? Especially if the Empire makes peace with them.”

“After that blow? Of course the Empire will! Not to mention the battle in Klagenfurt. The Empire is desperate to preserve those lines. You don’t think the battering you gave XXXIV. Legion on the peninsula was why the agreed to peace?”

“Really, you do? They were just attempting to recover, to rebuild! You would not have stood a chance against a restored legion.”

“Yes, I know that we are still vulnerable to attack. When they have made peace with the communists they can march right into Burgundy. But I have a plan to convince them the agree to peace. A plan that might even make them like me.”

“No, I don’t foresee any hope for Flanders-Wallonia. Sure, the Empire will need to send a legion over sea, but they have no forces remaining. Maybe I should conquer the whole of it rather than just the regions with Burgundians.”

“No, you’re right. Just as I advised you, better to form a Burgundian identity. It’ll be easier the fewer non-Burgundians I rule.”

“Yes, goodnight, old friend.”

The Pope replaced his telephone down and prayed aloud, “God, save us from ambitious fools and communists.”


The newspapers were full of images of destruction. The Communists had showed their true colors in this sacking. Though their specific claims were often lies. True, they had killed many a scholar. But not as many as they had thought. Many of the rebel forces had assumed anyone wearing glasses must be a scholar. And so random executions had abounded.

Worse for the communists’ image was their focus on killing ‘propagandists’, that is, journalists. Certainly there was no positive report of them afterwards.

The Hagia Spohia had been heavily damaged. But this was hardly the first time it had been damaged, even if this was the worst. But the newspapers wrote of how it could be made safe against earthquakes when rebuilt. To those who remembered the 1894 earthquake, this was a positive thing.

More severe was the damage to housing. The hippodrome soon saw a tent city of refugees. The Imperial family was there daily personally bringing supplies to the refugees. They even slept in the old Imperial box in the hippodrome to show their solidarity with the refugees. Meanwhile, new housing was rapidly being constructed. Some degree of rebuilding had long been necessary, and this was a perfect opportunity to provide the city’s housing with properly bathing facilities, electricity, and much more sturdy construction. The streets were being modernized and public transportation incorporated.

The banks had been destroyed. But the banks had long ago realized the value of keeping extra copies of important records, and better yet, to keep copies in other locations. This was but a temporary hit to the economy.

The museums had been plundered or damaged. “They came for our art,” the people would say sadly. Then they would laugh or snicker. The lack of artistic movements in the Empire during the last century was well known. True, many older works had been lost. But there were plenty more were those came from. New artists saw opportunity in this time.

In fact, most people saw opportunity. Unemployment had long been the most pressing issue in Constantinople. Now there was plenty of work to do. And this was hardly the first time that the capital of the Empire had been sacked. The people had never felt more Roman.

The Empire Strikes Back 103 – The Time of Troubles

17 August 1911


The following newspaper was published this last month, and the archivists consider it significant.

As We had hoped, the past month has seen the Jacobin rebels cleared from nearly all of the Empire. A few remain in eastern Central Africa, but elsewhere they do not put recruitment efforts at risk.

Unfortunately, XXVIII. Legio and XXIX. Legio had to retreat from the battle in Klagenfurt, as repeated enemy reinforcements put them at too great a risk. The defense of Pannonia is not compromised, but it may prove difficult to hold the line We had hoped to hold until reinforcements are raised.

In West Africa, We are seizing enemy colonies, while Scottish troops seize our lands. We hope that XV. Legio and XXXVIII. Legio will be able to join back and defeat the Scottish army, after which they can place all of Western Africa under Imperial Control.

If they are not enough, well, XXV. Legio has been successfully evacuated from the Americas, and it plans to join them, at least initially.

In the east, Azerbaijan looks to not be long independent, but Persia, Iraq, Hedjaz, and Isreal have all sent armies over the border. And Russia is slowly but surely occupying the region north of the Caucasus.

Finally, a Scottish fleet has attacked the Gibraltar Fleet, presumably to force their way into the Mediterranean. What they did not know is that the West Mediterranean was waiting to come to the support of the Gibraltar Fleet.

Meanwhile, the Imperial Bank has introduced a policy by which they can either reduce inflation or reduce unemployment by merely control interest rates. During these perilous times, every little bit helps.

Eventually, Nestorius’ subordinates had arrived from Naples, albeit a day or so late. For him, this would be the first time where he actively interacted with them, rather than just staying in his office, working all day. He brought them to his residence and introduced them to his buddies, before helping them settle in. He described the situation as it was: they would be working on building up a strong provisional governorship for Aoteorea, so that when they retake the islands, things would return to order much quicker. He told everyone to just to what they did in Naples, feeling that to be the best they could do at this time, while his buddies took fitting positions. Everything was coming together as he had planned.

By the 11th of August, Nestorius had been working almost day and night, making sure the papers were all organized. Hairini would often enter his room to make sure he was in good health, considering he was in his early 60s. As a result of pressure from everyone working under him, he was forced to take a period of rest, letting Hairini operate things. He was against resting, but he was reminded that he wasn’t just a Governor. During his rest, he took up various books on the topic of descent, especially on what rules are applied to it in non-European cultures. He began wondering over his own surname – Septiadis. His father had told him that they were descended from a man named Septimus, who lived in southern Illyria/northern Epirus. He recalled looking into this to find no evidence of this fact. As he had nothing better to do, he decided to look into his ancestors. Once he got his hands on his family’s records, he found that the earliest person named was a man named Kyrillos, who lived near Lake Prespa, but the first noteworthy person was a man named Thaddaios. Feeling that perhaps a surname based in legend is a tad bit silly, he decided to declare himself Nestorius Thaddas!


Nestorius and Hairini couldn’t comment much on the news at the Senate. They merely nodded to it, knowing the seriousness of the ordeal.

At least we are holding the line. Have we integrated the new armor units into our legions yet?
-Senator Doukas

****** Secret Missive to all Workers Republics from the Commisar of War, Britannia ********

Succeeding in driving back Imperial Troops…Stop

Have received reports that Imperial Fascist Party has united in Spain ….. Stop

All forces must be prepared for this battle, we can not allow this disgusting system to be allowed to gain any traction….Stop

Requesting that the United Council make preparations for war… Stop

Commisar Komnenos

Nestorius looked over at Hairini when news of plans of having the Imperial Fleet circle Aeteorea, Australia, the Philippines and Java emerged. She looked nervous, but happy.

In Aeteorea

Anaru heard a knock on the door. Worryingly, he looked through the window next to the door to see who it was. He sighed when he saw it was just a buddy of his. He opened the door. “Tipene, what are you doing here?” he asked him.

“I just wanted to see how my buddy was doing,” he replied. “How’s the family?”

“Mother is doing fine, but Hinewai is unsure of the future.”

“Yes, the dictatorship is worrying. But I’ve come with news!”

“What kind of news?” Anaru asked suspiciously.

“They are rumors that Imperial fleets will be passing by soon. I’ve been organizing a little group, and we plan on escaping the island and reaching those ships!” Tipene revealed.

“Wait, you’re against Tane?!” Anaru asked in a subdued, but shocked tone, to avoid anyone hearing.

“Yes, I’m part of the counter-rebellion and I plan on using my position to at least help some of us escape.” Tipene told him. Anaru attempted to say something, but paused. The prospect of escape was tempting.

“Where will you all be meeting up?” he asked.

“By the coast. If we’re lucky, a ship will pass by and, well, you know what we’ll do from there.” Tipene said to him. The two shook hands, as Anaru thanked him for the information. They said goodbye to one another, as Tipene had a sly grin on his face.

Those legions that already had armored units still retain them, but for now We are focused on recruiting the more standard units into the legions: infantry, cavalry, artillery, and engineers.

As always, thank you for your time, senators. We will hold another briefing in a month, or sooner if there is pressing news.
-The Emperor

17 September 1911


These newspapers were publihed in the last month and are considered significant by the archivists.

Italy has continued to incorporate territory in the Alps, and begun to incorporate territory to the south of the border. XXXXIV. Legio nearly defeated one of their smaller armies, but reinforcements turned the battle against them and they needed to retreat to Rome.

And while Azerbaijan’s capital has been taken, they have yet to surrender. II. Legio and IX. Legio are focused on pushing back Persian armies from the Armenian region in order to protect new recruits, while Russian forces occupy more and more of the trans-Caucasus region.

XIX. Legio, having returned to Egypt, marched through Israel to attack the Israeli and Hedjazi armies in Syria. I. Legio did the same to Iraqi forces after returned to Antioch. In that region, Iraq capitulated to China after complete occupation by Persia. An Indian army is replicating the feat, but is isolated from most of the rest of their forces by fighting in eastern Persia.

Most of Ukraine has been occupied, and both Polish and German forces are pouring into the greater Bulgarian area.

In Western Africa, both sets of forces are seizing land from the other, though Ours are working faster. And XXV. Legio has arrived from Guyana, expecting to start reclaiming Imperial lands by next week.

The navies won the battle of Gibraltar, ensuring We remain control of the Mediterranean.

Worryingly, in northern Pannonia, German forces have attacked XXIX. Legio, one of the two Legions with the strength to defend the region.

They need to hold for two weeks at least, when new recruits will be fully equipped and trained.

The rebel scum reveal their true intentions by declaring “good relations” with Germany. And why are our Indian “allies” on good terms with the Huns? I sure hope that Ukraine can hold on until we can get our rebel situation under control.
-Senator Doukas

Raphael Favero receives word that the Italian rebels have plundered his family estate and used the wealth to hire mercenaries.

My vineyards! Anything but the precious vineyards!

Raphael breaks down sobbing in the middle of the Senate over the loss of his family’s estate.

“You are welcome to stay at my estate in Thessaloniki at any time, Raphael. We’ll drive back those bastards and give them their due.”
-Senator Angelos

Yes, though sometimes we might disagree, we are loyal Romans and will help each other. Raphael, feel free to come to my dukedom at Nicaea, I will give you a very pleasant experience (me not personally, I am too busy warding off the enemy hordes.) The Nicaean Guardsman are well trained and armed, the dukedom is safe. My Emperor, feel free to take my Guardsmen to defend this Empire!

-Talbot Palaiologos

Raphael, feel free to stay at one of my estates in Athens or Constantinople. We are all Romans and according to the ancient Hellenic principle of Xenia we must help one another. Do not forget how my great-grandfather aided your family during the Cult attack in 1854. My bodyguards, being trained by the Ministry of Security, are among the best in the Empire. I will also help compensate for any damages those rebel scum caused to your vineyards and estates when we recover them. Those traitorous non-Romans shall pay in blood for what they have done to the Empire!
-Senator Doukas

In Aeteorea, sometime mid-August

Anaru had followed the directions given to him by Tipene. It was quite late, barely anything could be seen. As he approached the coastline, he could see it; a group of people standing near the coast. In the distance, there was a Imperial fleet. Anaru rushed to the group, as someone noticed him and waved towards him. All of a sudden, he heard russling from near by. Armed men jumped from the shadows! He was surrounded, guns aimed for his head. The group near the coast approached him, to reveal more of the same men, holding unarmed men whose hands were tied. One of the armed men was Tipene himself.

“Tipene, do not tell me this is true!” Anaru yelled at him.

“But it is,” Tipene replied, “and you thought it would be that easy.”

“Why would you side with Tane?! He will bring nothing but sorrow to our islands-”

“And what if he does?! At least we can choose to be ourselves. To be Maori. Not be forced to follow the ideals of a people an ocean away,” Tipene barked back. “The Greeks are mad men, believing themselves to be the ancestors of people long dead. And they think they can just push us around as though we are nothing to them. Insects meant to be crushed, purged from this world. THEY BELIEVE WE ARE NOT HUMAN!”

“And you think this will change anything?! How are we so sure Tane will not implement the same tactics the Greeks used on us, under the guise of Maori superiority rather than Greek? He is treating the non-Greeks worse than how they treated us! Is it not possible to just find a way for them to accept us-” Anaru attempted to say before being hit in the face with the butt of Anaru’s rifle.

“Do you really think they will accept us?! ARE YOU THAT DELUDED?!” Tipene spat at him.

“H-Hairini has proven to me that not all Greeks are like the settlers. If we can get our message to the mainland, perhaps they would listen!” Anaru said, as he wiped the blood of his face.

“And what if she’s being forced to say these things by her slaver?! You cannot trust those of Europe and the other Meditteranian territories! They are the enemy! And you side with them!” Tipene yelled, “For this, you will be sent, along with these other men who decided to follow my directions, to the nearest camp…. which Tane has allowed me to run, for my services in discovering would be escapees of his rule.”

Anaru just spat in Tipene’s left eye, causing the latter to whack him with his rifle’s butt once more, giving him a black eye. “You, you and you are to come with me. The rest of you are to bring these men to the camp,” Tipene said, referring to his men, “We shall rest for the morning. We have some families to arrest.”

Tipene and his men left, as the other armed men dragged the captives to the camp, with Anaru yelling that he’ll kill Tipene if he puts one hair on his younger sister.

The morning after

Hinewai has been worried sick since waking up. Anaru hasn’t returned since last night. She hoped nothing had happened to him. Suddenly, she heard a knock on the door. She rushed over to see if it was him and opened the door wide open. Just as she was about to scream his name and hug him, she realized who it was: the dictatorship’s militia. They pointed their guns at Hinewai, causing her to slip as she walked away from the door backwards. Tipene entered the house.

“Long time no see, Hinewai. How’s Anahera?” Tipene asked, referring to her elderly mother.

“Where’s Anaru!?” Hinewai asked in a mix of anger and fright.

Tipene laughed. “Oh, don’t worry. You’re going to join him soon,” he said, as he grabbed her by the wrist. He pulled her up and began tying her hands, before pushing her to the wall. “Check the entire place for any suspicious items and arrest anyone else here!” he demanded, as Anahera left her room to see what the commotion was. She is promptly arrested.

The men check the entire building. Nothing out of the ordinary except for one thing; the telephone. It was of a Greek design. “Tell me, you two; was it Hairini who got you this phone?” Tipene asked the women politely.

“Don’t you dare touch that phone! Hairini paid much for us to be able to hear her!” the elderly woman said.

“Oh, is that so?” Tipene said sarcastically. “You, stay here and watch the phone. Threaten anyone who calls. You two, take these women and let us move to the next house,” he said to his men. As he commanded, one stayed at the home, while the other two took the women and moved on to the next building, arresting the family there, before filling up their mode of transportation. They take the families to the camp, where they reunite with whoever attempted to escape the night before.

In Constantinople, sometime near the end of August

At the makeshift HQ of the Aeteorean provisional governorship, Nestorius was working hard, as he worked with Antiochos to file down all the cities, towns and villages, native and non-native, in Aeteorea. As they worked, Hairini sneaked to the phone to call her family. She wanted to know if they knew of the Imperial fleet circling the area. She dialed the number and nervously clutched the handset. From the other room, one could suddenly hear screaming. Nestorius told everyone to stay put, as he rushed in to see what had happened. It was Hairini, clutching her head, screaming from the top of her lungs. Nestorius grabbed the handset and heard a man mumble things in a language he didn’t recognize. He put it next to the phone as he asked her what had happened.

“THEY HAVE THEM, NESTOR! THEY HAVE MY FAMILY!” Hairini cried out, as she began clutching Nestorius’ chest. Before he could say anything, she spoke once more. “THE MAN ON THE OTHER LINE JUST THREATEN TO KILL THEM IF I DIDN’T COMPLY TO HIS DEMANDS!” she yelled out, crying. Nestorius grabbed her tightly, putting his hand on her head, rubbing it.

“Don’t worry, it is going to be OK. It will be just fine. Please…” he whispered in her ear in an attempt to calm her down. The others looked into the room to see what was going on and promptly stopped, realizing they’ll find out what is going on later.

September 17, 1910

Nestorius had managed to calm Hairini down, but she looked visibly distressed and disheveled. Knowing her family was being held by the dictatorship was having its effects on her. They hoped for some good news, but things were looking quite down. Senator Favero’s sobbing almost brings Hairini to sob with him, but Nestorius grabbed onto her and calmed her down before she could. Seeing as this was the most fitting opportunity, he decided to use it. He stood up and coughed a fake one.

“I apologize for being the bearer of bad news once more in regards to Aeteorea, but I feel as though this is the only chance I will get to tell you all. As you all know, the militia of the Aeteorean dictatorship routinely check those who have some connection to the Empire. Hairini’s family falls in this groups and……” he paused for a moment, trying to prepare himself for what was about to happen. “……unfortunately, near the end of August, it happened. Her family was captured and presumably taken someplace else, perhaps a camp,” he said. As he expected, Hairini began sobbing as well. He quickly grabbed her once more and began calming her down.

Upon hearing of the news in Aeteorea, Theodora speaks up.

“Your Imperial Majesty, I suggest that we send a small team of our best spies and infiltrators to get into the dictatorship in Aeteorea and free high-risk prisoners and, if possible, assassinate Tane. As an outright invasion is out of the picture, we must bring him down from the inside instead. It is the only way we can retake the colony without wasting too many resources.”

((France, near Paris))

John-Loukas and his men trudged through the countryside of France. Once, the land they walked on was lush farmland. Now it was a smoldering ruin, blasted to pieces after months of relentless bombardment by rebel, Imperial, and other rebel artillery. Dead grass and ashes crunched under the captain’s feet.

For weeks, they had eluded the communist patrols roaming the countryside, making their way away from the crash site of the Empress Veronica to the Swiss border, where Imperial control was firmly asserted. As the ship had crashed somewhere in western Normandy, that meant that they had to journey dangerously near Paris.

Leonard and Jonathan walked in the front, while Laskaris and Brent walked in the back. John-Loukas walked in the center. All of them were armed with small standard-issued pistols and had exchanged their tattered Imperial uniforms with rebel uniforms taken from dead bodies.

“Halt,” said John-Loukas suddenly, raising his hand as he heard a noise in the distance, over a nearby hill.

“What is it?” said Laskaris.

“Let’s find out,” said John-Loukas, walking up to the top of the hill.

The other men followed him. When they arrived…

“Oh no,” said Brent.

“This is not good,” added Jonathan.

Below them lay a large hanger, with three complete airships, all loaded with weapons and fuel, on the tarmac outside.

“If they get them in the air, who’s stopping them from reaching Constantinople?” said Leonard.

“We are,” said John-Loukas.

“What do you mean?” hissed Laskaris. “We are but five men, and there are perhaps dozens of them down there! We can’t fight them all!”

“If we succeed in destroying two of the ships and stealing the third, we could stop this threat and get out of rebel territory,” explained John-Loukas, “Now, we will sneak into the compound and infiltrate one of the ships. That’s an order. Any questions?”

Nobody said anything.

“Then let’s get started.”

Harini, maybe I can call up some men in Anatolia to lead an expedition to free your family in Aeteorea. I was born with the gift of the gab you know, I might get 20-10,000 men?

My house in Constantinople is nice and comfortable if you want to stay.
Mind you, Gabriel may or may not ask you what ‘it’ means.
-Senator Marco

Nestorius had managed to calm Hairini down before anyone could speak their mind on the situation. He let her go, because he didn’t want to hold her for too long. Don’t want things to get awkward.

Nestorius retorted. “I’d assume our best spies and infiltrators are currently busy fighting against the Northern Alliance and the rebel states directly on our borders, no?”

Hairini wiped the tears off her face. She shook her head to Senator Marco’s Xenian offer. “I already have a comfortable home with Senator Thaddas here,” she said, as Nestorius had a half-grin on his face.

“And shouldn’t we concentrate our men towards the enemy on our borders?” Nestorius asked, with Hairini reluctantly agreeing with a few halfhearted nods.

fair enough.
-Senator Marco

Senator Thaddas, and Hairini. We are greatly saddened to hear this news. As you surmise, the Empire’s resources are focused at the borders right now. But if there is anything that We can do to help until such time as the legions can return to Oceania, please let Us know. We will have Senator Doukas share any information from intelligence assets still in Aeteorea, though We suspect they are compromised or turned, given your news.

Senator Favero, We will reclaim your family estates, and We have no doubt they will be made even more wonderful than they had been before this rebellion.

Senators, as always, thank you for your time. We will brief you again in a month, or sooner if there is immediate news.
-The Emperor

17 October 1911


This newspaper was released in the last month and considered significant by the archivists.

In this last month, II. Legio and IX. Legio repelled the Persian army from Armenia. They are currently besieging Azerbaijan territory and expect to force their surrender quite soon.

Reinforcements are pouring in for the legions. A first round of infantry have joined up, with cavalry, engineers, and artillery expected in the next month. XIX. Legio became impatient for its reinforcements and has marched on Jerusalem, even now beginning the occupation.

The defensive line in Pannonia continues to hold, and a secondary defensive line is being prepared even now. But the line in greater Bulgaria is being pushed further south, as XXIV. Legio waits for the reinforcements that could allow it to strike back.

In Armenia, both Russia and Persia are pushing into Our territory, even as the legions hope to defeat Azerbaijan.

Though Persia may fall to an Indian onslaught before long.

Meanwhile in western Africa, the legions are rapidly seizing the enemy colonies, and soon may confront the Scottish army in the area.

Finally, after England’s annexation of Wales, both England and Brittany have pledged their support for France in its wars against Burgundy and Flanders-Wallonia.

Senator Nestorius Thaddas and Hairini Waata thanked the Emperor for his kind words. If Hairini needed anything, she would let them know.


For the rest of September, things were calm at the provisional governorship of Aeteorea, except for Hairini. She had managed to calm herself down significantly, but she had started getting intense nightmares about her family…… and what kind of fate they could receive. They managed to get so bad that Nestorius had to stay in her room to make sure she had a good night’s sleep. As this resulted in him not getting any decent sleep, he was forced to relegate most of his more intense tasks to Michail Lykidis and Kojo Onobanjo, one of his formerly Neapolitan subordinates from Africa.


[I]In Constantinople, end of September[/I]

Hairini was on the roof of Nestorius’ residence and makeshift HQ of the Aeteorean provisional governorship, looking out at the city. She tried to fill herself with glee of being in the city, especially as she hadn’t done any sightseeing yet, but she couldn’t. She couldn’t get her family off her mind. Suddenly, she heard the door to the roof open. She turned around to see it was Nestorius.

“Hey. Guessed you were up here, felt like joining you,” he said with a smile. Hairini smiled back weakly, as he joined her in her looking out. As the two watched the city bustling, he spoke once more.

“Remember back in early June when, during a session, I mentioned the dear ones I had lost?” he asked. Hairini nodded.

“You spoke of your father and your lover.”

“Yes, and I stopped before I could speak about her… I feel as though some things could be explained to you if I told you about her,” he said. She looked at him, ready to hear what he had to say. He sighed before speaking once more.

“Before I was a senator, I lived in my hometown of Hadrianopolis. As mother died during my birth, and father was too busy at the Senate, I lived primarily with another family until I was old enough to live on my own. Apparently, that was when I was 15,” he laughed. “Father would always visit on his off days and, as I got older, I would visit him too. My visits intensified after the events surrounding the Cult which happened prior to me becoming a senator,” he revealed. “Now, I never stopped communicating with the family I lived with, if only for one reason…. it was within it that I met the girl of my dreams. We would hangout all the time in the outskirts of town, running across the fields, or the roof tops of the city, watching the hustle and bustle. We cared for one another. We’d keep each other fit and active! We’d race one another all the time, and we’d have climbing contests too. Life was swell,” he told her.

“Then, my father called me to Constantinople. I had no idea what the reason was, but he told me it was urgent. When I arrived, he revealed he was going to retire. While I had always wanted to be a senator, it was still very sudden for me. Following his departure back to Epirus, I moved into his residence, joined by my lover. I initially refused her request to join me, as I didn’t want to drag her into politics, but she never was the kind to quit,” he explained. “It was the life. I lived in the capital, worked as a senator and had the love of my life.”

“What happened then?” she asked. Nestorius’ expression became weak.

“It was just an ordinary off day for me. Nothing important was headed my way, meaning she and I could head to the outskirts and do what we usually do. We raced up a decently sized hill, before collapsing on its top, laughing at each other’s expense, enjoying one another’s presence. After a bit of rest, we got up and danced. We danced like no one had danced before. She took one wrong step and the stone at her feet collapsed. I rushed in to grab her hand, but my fingers only grazed hers…. she fell,” he said with a regretful tone, eyelids shaking along with the fingers on his right hand. “…..I carried her body back to town, where she was declared dead. She had died in my hands, as I had carried her back to town…..” he said, as he put his right hand on his face.

“….her funeral in Hadrianopolis and the day after when I visited her were the hardest days of my life. Everything reminded me of her – Hadrianopolis, Constantinopolis, all of Hellas….. my motherland made me just think of her,” he said, as he turned his head and looked her straight in the eyes. “That feeling was eating me inside out. I had to find a way to get rid of it, but I didn’t even need to,” he told her. “The next session, I was declared Governor of Naples. The day after, I left. Surely Naples was different enough to get rid of this weight on my back…. and it was.”

“The atmosphere of the area was similar, but different. It threw me and the feeling off, which I had hoped. As the Parthenopean governor, as some called me, I closed myself off from society, only interacting with the populace some token times when necessary…. which you already know. My father, the family I had stayed with, as well as the limited time I had been at the senate, shaped my views on Romanity. Full citizenship made the most sense. I believe that was why all non-Neapolitans working under me were minorities that were looking for work, like you,” he laughed, before returning to a saddened expression.

“Over time, I forgot everything. I stopped reading the letters from the Senate from Veronica’s death onwards and I never made a peep about my past. I was just working in my office with no sense of time, seemingly forever. Then, you chose to inform me about the civil war. I knew I had to return. The feelings I had forgotten, the ones that would stop me at the thought of such an idea, couldn’t stop me now. But, as the news poured into the Senate with every session, the feelings returned. I even mention her for the first time in 30+ years….” he said the last sentence choking.

“….she was part of the reason why I asked for the governorship of Aeteorea. She would’ve loved to see the beauty of your islands, and she would’ve wanted me to protect the natives…. That’s why I promise you, Cyrene…. I will make sure to protect your homeland, your family….. If I couldn’t save her, I could at least save them,” he said, as he was on the verge of crying. Hairini couldn’t believe what she had heard. She hugged Nestorius intensely, whispering a thanks into his ear. He returned the hug.


17 October 1910

The two were glad to hear about the Indians rushing into Persia, but the news of Australian insults infuriated Nestorius. “The Australian foreign minister has the gall to do something like this, while the rebellion he is apart of continues its segregation of non-natives!” he barked out.

**** Senate – Constantinople at 4AM****

Nothing stirs in the blackness as 3 shadows creep through the offices and plazas surrounding the Senate chamber deftly dodging the patrols and odd cleaner as they make their way into the heart of the Senate.

Silently they enter the chamber and make thier way to various areas of the senate chamber and then behind the Emperor’s seat.

Then as quickly as they can they depart.

****** Rennes, Death to the Fascist HQ ******

Madame Chairperson a message from our operative at the heart of evil.

Thank you, please feel free to leave.

Packages planted in senate — stop

Cleaners found itching powder – stop

Also banner reading “Itch like the capitalist pig dogs you are!” — stop

Mission aborted —- stop


Curse those cunning devils, but we will get them yet!


As always, thank you for your time.

17 November 1910


Many reinforcements have joined the legions, and the defensive situation has solidified well. For instance, in greater Bulgaria, IV. Legio and XXIV. Legio have formed a defensive line and expect they can hold it indefinitely.

The battle of Maribor continues to rage in Pannonia, and We have sent VII. Legio and XXVIII. Legio to assist. This leaves the secondary defensive line weak, but better to hold the first. And the first does continue to hold. In fact, in Ljubljana, XXVIIIa. Legio threw back an Italian army.

However, in Naples XXXXIV. Legio fought off an Italian army, but everything to their north is being occupied, and the situation looks untenable.

XIX. Legio won the occupation of Jerusalem, and has moved on to Gaza in the hopes of convincing Israel to concede defeat. XXXVII. Legio, freshly reinforced, is moving up to assist them.

XXXVI. Legio, also recently reinforced, has taken the fight to Spain, besieging them from the south as they are distracted by their war with Catalonia.

XXV. Legio and XXXIII. Legio, having reclaimed all Imperial lands in western Africa, have attacked the Scottish army in the region, as XV. Legio continues to seize enemy colonies.

Finally, this newspaper was published in the last month, and the archivist consider it significant.

Kids these days and their radios. Back in my day you had to actually socialize with your friends instead of sitting around some talking box listening to someone half the empire away.

A popping sound comes from the side of the room and several nearby senators jump. Raphael scurries over to where a toaster sits and take a bite of some freshly toasted bread.

Sorry about that. It’s just my breakfast. These new-fangled toasters are quite a wonder.

– Senator Raphael Favero

Just as Nestorius was about to reply to Favero’s comment on the radio, he was interrupted by the toaster. He asks: “Why is there a toaster in the room?”

The better question is why not. Have you ever struggled with toasting bread in a frying pan? Always burning the bread after what seems like hours of cooking? Well not any longer. Thanks to innovations in technology, we can now enjoy toasted breaded within mere minutes. Endorsed by the Favero family, the Strite toaster can be found in stores all across the empire. Buy one now and a portion of the proceeds will go towards the restoration of destroyed houses and estates ruined by rebel scum, a most worthy cause. Restore the empire to its former glory one piece of toasted bread at a time.

– Senator Raphael Favero

Nestorius just looked at Favero. Apparently, he hasn’t realized that toasters are for kitchens, not for senates. He just shook his head, as he mumbled something about being too old for this. He decides to bring the conversation back to the radio.

“Anyway, I disagree with the notion that the radio will kill society and socialization. In fact, I believe that it can be a tool to further culture! I mean, one could use it to listen to classical music all day, as well as listen to the views of the people,” he commented.

Why shouldn’t the Senate have its own toaster? Should we just starve here while discussing politics? And did I show you the film projector yet? It’s amazing! Combine that with our radios and we could broadcast the Emperor’s image and voice all across the Empire!

((Outside Jerusalem))

(Over the phone)
“Sir, the legion has arrived in position. Intel has detected large fortifications protecting much of the city. The wall is strong enough to deflect any conventional bombardment, but we have found a weak portion of the wall that we can break through.”
“The Rebels are alerted to our presence. General Melissenos was hasty in rushing towards Jerusalem.”
“He…He felt surprise was wiser—”
“He is as clumsy as he is stupid. General Dalassenos, prepare your troops for a surface attack. Let’s put these new tanks to good use.”
“Yes, sir.”
(line cuts off)

The rebels crouched in their trenches, breathing in the dry desert air. Their rifles and gyro-guns ((Gatling guns)) were ready, pointed at the thick dust cloud gathering in the mountain pass that Rebel Base Masada guarded. For several minutes, there was only silence. Just when some rebels began to doubt the claims of the message sent that morning saying that an imperial legion was on the way, there was a loud WHUMP. And another one. And another.

There was a screech as several shells shot over their heads, slamming into the thick walls making up the base’s fortifications. Rebels scrambled to man their anti-artillery defenses, but with the dust cloud still there they could hardly aim. The artillery bombardment continued for a whole five minutes, with shells landing at random all across the base. Men screamed as they were blasted to pieces or slashed by shrapnel. Whole sections of the wall simply crumbled under the assault.

And then it was over. The rebels got up from where they had been hiding, confused. Why did the Empire stop shooting at them? They warily manned their positions again, and some peered into binoculars, hoping to see through the dust cloud.

There was a shout from one rebel division when they spotted something move. A shadow appeared in the billowing dust, large and menacing. It slowly advanced through the dust, accompanied by the sound of a large whirring engine. More shadows appeared behind it, similarly shaped and similarly moving. They emerged from the dust cloud simultaneously, revealing their dark metallic bodies and heavy treads. It was a large metal beast, with guns sticking out of the side and the top.

“Fire!” shouted a rebel.

The rebels opened fire, unleashing a deadly hailstorm of bullets and mortar shells. Plumes of dirt erupted at the feet of the tanks, and rocks and soil exploded where mortars impacted the ground. But those bullets and shells that did hit the tanks simply bounced off with a solid THUD.

The tanks returned fire with their cannons and gyro-guns. BLAM-BLAM-BLAM-BLAM. The gunfire repeated itself methodically and constantly, decimating the rebel ranks. Men screamed as rounds slashed through their limbs and chests. The tanks fired their cannons, and the trenches exploded. Men went flying, while others toppled to their deaths when the walls supporting their platforms exploded and fell away beneath them. It was an utter massacre.

After one minute, the tanks’ guns fell silent. Nobody in Masada returned fire. There was nobody left alive outside to shoot the Empire’s troops. Imperial infantry marched up from behind the tanks, ready to storm what remained of the fortress.

Some rebels desperately rushed to the communications room, trying to alert Jerusalem to the attack. “Masada is under attack, repeat, Masada is under attack!” shouted one before he was shot in the back by the first Imperial trooper to enter the room.

General Ioannes Dalassenos, flanked by ten Imperial troopers, stormed into the room, ruthlessly gunning down any resistance with his pistol. “Secure the compound,” he ordered, “Find the hostages before they move them to Jerusalem proper. Minister Doukas will have your heads if we fail to find her brother.”

Alexios seems intrigued by the bizarre smell of toast in the senate chambers.

“I must say,” he mutters to no one in particular, “the Boule is moving up in the world if even the refreshments are well-bred.”

Theodora sips from some high quality Chinese tea. “You don’t say…”

We must agree that the bread toaster is an amazing invention. It’s one of so many conveniences being invented by and for the peoples of the Empire. We are not too worried about the danger of radio, as it requires a specified frequency to operate a radio network. Any truly damaging networks could easily be shut down. But better yet, these radio networks make it far easier to monitor opinion throughout the Empire. No doubt the minister of intelligence finds them the greatest of boons.

In any case, Senators, thank you for your time. We will reconvene the Senate in another month or when there is pressing news.

-The Emperor

17 December 1910


The modern framework of social science was established this month, and We asked the humanities department to research just what makes groups of people feel alienated. We hope that this will help reintegrate the Empire once the fighting is complete.

The need for safety regulations in the Empire’s factories was an obvious reform, and We passed it.

The Battle of Maribor was finally won, ensuring the safety of Pannonia for the foreseeable future.

Unfortunately, the Italian push towards Naples is continuing to be successful, completely crushing XXXXIV. Legio and forcing them to retreat to the bottom of the peninsula. Reports suggest that they have means of defending against gas attacks, and are able to use those attacks against the legions with impunity.

In other bad news, on 8 December 1910, Ukraine capitulated to Russia in the Great War. We do not blame them, as they were completely occupied, but this means that Russian forces will be able to focus on attacking the Empire instead.

In the east, both Azerbaijan and Israel are ready to fall, but Russia and Persia have been pushing into Our territory, and the legions will be hard pressed to find a good line to hold.

West Africa is nearly under Our complete control, which should free up some legions for other tasks.

The occupation of Spain has begun, but will take some time to give results.

In a different front, the UTA have occupied nearly all of Kanata, and are making exorbitant demands on them as well. We suspect that We will soon be able to broker a peace.

Finally, these two newspapers have been published this last month and are considered significant by the archivists.

Bah, these “newspapers” keep getting the facts wrong! What is “Brazil”?
-Senator Tolbert Palaiologos

Alexios looks perplexed on hearing about the Battle of Maribor. “The forces under Strategos Trikoupis engaged an army twice their size and not only defeated them, but utterly annihilated them? I am not sure whether to be impressed or alarmed!”

He looks over the reports from Italy. “Damn Lombardi for a traitorous fool, but he and his ill-gotten forces are proving far more formidable than I thought they would. Is there a recent update on the Italian borders?”

Nestorius pitches in. “I think that is an alternate name for the area which the English control. If that’s the case, then the English will have to worry over their racial issues a bit more,” he comments. “It is good to hear that West Africa, Kanata, Israel and Azerbaijan are going to fall, but the news of Ukrainian capitulation is worrying. Hopefully we can handle it.”

Hairini, having calmed down significantly, reads the editorial about feminism. She disapproves of it, but isn’t sure whether she should comment. Perhaps Teodora’s opinion might change her mind.

“I hear Trikoupis is already being hailed as the ‘Hero of Maribor’ for destroying such a large German army,” said Theodora, “It’s like the shame and disgrace of the First Empire at Teutoberg Forest has been reversed and avenged! It is highly likely that we’ll see more of this brilliant man. Perhaps Dalassenos will promote him to the General Staff. On the Italian situation, it appears that Lombardi’s men aren’t as incompetent at warfare as our cartoons and stereotypes suggest. Although several hundred have already defected to our side, most of the rebel scum are loyal to Lombardi and fight like devils. I would prefer if they go back to whatever rebel scum do, like dying.”

“I believe that yes, “Brazil” is a name used to refer to the region that the English currently inhabit. Though why they would refer to the English Navy as “Brazilian” is beyond me,” Theodora said, “And the more rebel scum surrender to the might of the Empire, the better. We need more soldiers and resources to push back the Russian menace. Ukraine’s losses shall be avenged by the blood of the Slavs!”

Theodora quickly scanned the newspaper again when Hairini kept looking her way. She soon found the article in question, a scathing critique of this new idea of “feminism.” It appeared to be quite one-sided and obviously biased against it. Of course, it was written by a man.

“First off, I don’t like this editorial,” she said, “It’s biased and unfair. It presents only one side of the argument, and the author, who has a male name, does a really bad job at trying to support his argument. In some places the evidence of so-called ‘depravity’ seems forced and twisted out of context. In other places he actually ends up arguing the opposite that feminism is not that bad. Is this man even a trained social scientist? I want to see his credentials! And what is wrong about feminism anyways? Why, some actually trained social scientists have conducted an experiment which, while not conclusive yet, seems to imply that women are better drivers than men (though that may be the result of statistical errors or limitations). Am I doing a horrible job as Minister of Security and Imperial Senator? The Ministry hasn’t burned down yet and the Secret Police isn’t running out of control. We are discussing political matters here in a civil manner, far from the ‘depravity’ the author claims that I would bring. And if ‘feminism’ was bad, then why did the Emperor appoint me as both Senator and Minister in the first place? And take a look at the Chinese and Indians and Japanese and Persians! They’ve granted more rights to their women, much like we allowed our women to work in factories ((assuming we’re going with Victorian-era socio-industrial trends)), and look at their industrial strength! They’re rapidly catching up to us! We must treat all Romans with the respect they deserve according to the values of Romanitas and the legal codes of great emperors such as Iustinianos I, where all citizens are equal under the law regardless of cultural, religious, or social identity. I would really like to go on and on about this, but I’m just so interested in this crossword puzzle that the newspaper has provided right next to the editorial! Let me see…R-E-B-E-L-S-C-U-M…yeah that works…and done!”

Theodora looked up. “Anybody else want to try? We’ve got enough copies of the paper to go around!”

Hairini was mesmerized; Theodora had said everything that needed to be said on the topic. She was close to cheering her on, but she realized that doing so would be uncultured. She turned to Nestorius, asking what party she’s in, but she gets disappointed by the fact that the Foiderátoi doesn’t support full citizenship. Upon the mention of the crossword puzzle, Nestorius chimed in.

“I believe the row here,” Nestorius pointed to it on the paper, “says R-E-V-O-L-T. Whoever put in ‘Has Been Happening For The Last Few Years’ as the hint is really cheeky, I tell you what!” he commented.

Here’s a good one. “Traitors to the empire and manipulators of the working class.” Let’s see if this fits. C-O-M-M-U-N-I-S-T… yes, it does indeed. These crosswords are so simple these days.

– Senator Raphael Favero

Alexios looks over at his fellow Patrician. “I’m sure that if the editor of Greece Today had his way, Raphael, the answer to your clue would have been F-E-M-I-N-I-S-T-S.”

“We should really vet who we allow to be editors,” said Theodora, “Just so we make sure they’re not rebel scum and/or communists.”

Alexios wags his finger playfully. “As Minister for Education, I cannot in good conscience sanction the censorship of the printed word.”

“I did not suggest censorship, I just recommended that we make sure we know who is publishing in our papers,” responded Theodora.

“Well, given that the editor of a paper is generally appointed by the owner or the paper’s board of directors, I am sure that the Crown will be able to put in a word or two if an editor really steps out of line,”
finished Alexios

Senator Angelos, Italy has seized a few alpine provinces and is pushing south towards Naples. Their forces are already past Rome, though they have not seized the city yet, and are not far from Napoli. However, they have stopped immediately incorporating captured provinces into their civil administration, instead leaving them under military governance.

And as for the newspaper, We have no desire to remove but the most seditious of editors. We doubt that those suffering under the effects of the rebellions and wars, who have lost sons, husbands, or fathers, will think much of these men’s sarcastic tones. They just give more credence to official communications when they show such disregard for the common people.

Senators, We will see you again in a month. Thank you for your time.

-The Emperor

17 January 1911


This last December, Italy stuck at the defensive lines in Pannonia. Given the disaster in Naples previously, We decided to make a peace with them, so that We could prosecute the other wars. With some minor border adjustments, Italy received the territory they had seized from Us. The patriarch of Rome has been forced to leave the eternal city, to be replaced with the self-styled Pope from Burgundy. Worry not though, the truce ends at the end of 1915.

Likewise, Java united their island under a Greek and Sulawesi government, as opposed to the Sulawesi-only government that Mataram had formed.

In better news, the new year brought Azerbaijan’s complete capitulation. Any plans for the post war governance of the region must be put on hold however, until the Persian and Russian forces can be pushed back from the area. II. Legio and IX. Legio are marching towards Trabzon and Van in order to begin the creation of a defensive line.

A week later, Kanata agreed to peace. We insisted on only one of the UTA’s claims, which Kanata agreed to with relief. The UTA might have been upset by this, but as reactionaries had taken up arms within their own lands, they were inclined to a peace that would allow them to bring their armies back south.

Elsewhere, the wars continue slowly. The occupation of Spain moves forward, with their army focusing on Catalonia while the legions carve a large foothold in Andalusia.

In west Africa, all enemy forces have been completely defeated (false reports of Italian armies notwithstanding). Only the Scottish colonies of Gambia and Senegal remain to be occupied.

In southern Africa, South Africa has occupied much of Botswana before attacking XXXV. Legio and XXXIX. Legio. The Battle of Gaborone will likely determine the immediate future of the region. Meanwhile, Adal picks on Mutapa. If South Africa can be defeated, We can push back any occupation.

Near the Caucuses, the Azerbaijan distraction has proven to be of great harm, as the entire region swarms with enemy armies. II. Legio and IX. Legio vow to protect from further incursions, however.

Israel has refused a peace until they are completely defeated. That defeat is near at hand, though. Meanwhile, the fight against Hedjaz is beginning. This fight will close a large section of the border, but will likely require the use of multiple legions for several months.

To the east of the Empire, the situation is too complex to describe quickly. But it seems that India is winning. Indeed, the Indians have so beaten Iraq that they requested an end to hostilities. We saw the opportunity to strip them of their last Indonesian island, and will send Our final terms within a few days.

Along the Bulgarian front, the Germans and Poles have thrown all their forces in the region against XXIV. Legio, which is holding firm. IV. Legio is preparing to break camp to aid them in this battle.

In Panonnia, Aquitaine is now making their assault against the legions defending the region. Like Italy, they have some kind of defense against gas attacks, so this will be a hard-fought battle. Worse, they somehow found a hole in the defensive line and slipped a force into Karlovac. XXVIII. Legio and XXIX. Legio are moving to beat them back and plug the hole.

Finally, these newspapers were published this month and are considered significant by the archivists.

Raphael silently hides a turban underneath his seat.

I must say that even as we struggle on land, at least we have a capable navy. Have any of you seen the Imperial Navy’s flagship. Such a beauty.

While it displeases me to hear that the Italian rebel scum will hold on to my home for a further five years, I understand that the fate of the empire is at stake and we must all make sacrifices.

– Senator Raphael Favero

“I do believe that one of my nephews was involved in that silly business with the Imperial flagship. Sisters, eh?” mentioned Alexios Angelos

He looks over the news from Italy in disappointment. “So, Lombardi has grabbed a peace deal whilst he can and the Latin Rite reigns in the Eternal City once? Despicable! I move that Strategos Trikoupis be tasked with the reconquest of Italy when the time comes.”

Good, good. Our struggles have not been in vain, we shall emerge victorious!
-Senator Talbot Palaiologos

“Theory of relativity, eh? Interesting…” said Theodora. “And it’s great that Sherlock is back, I was getting worried of the riots that his death would cause! The English really need to get their act together. First their black crewmen go on strike and then this, young nobles getting unauthorized clearanace to the Royal Navy! We should really make sure that the same does not happen to our own fleet! Maybe some nobles will try to infiltrate the Senate as well! Who knows, maybe they’re already here!”

(Theodora motioned to her security personnel to begin checking the room for intruders)

Late December 1910

Aeteorea was enjoying the beginning of summer with bright sunny days, making it an ideal vacation spot for Europeans wanting to escape winter. Unfortunately, no one was enjoying the sun except those vocal in the support of Tane and those who say and do nothing. Ghettos filled with Europeans and camps filled with Euro-Aeteoreans and dissenting Maori were located everywhere. While the ghettos were unsavory, the camps were, for the most part, standard forced labor camps. However, a select few were even worse than the ghettos – run by megalomanic men, promised everything and more by their dictator. These camps, localized in the region of Central Otago, were the only camps that could be considered truely fascistic. One of these camps was run by Tipene.

17 January 1911

Nestorius looked worried over the news regarding the Pannonian, Bulgarian and Caucasus fronts. He attempted to look through the newspapers for something that would interest him. He found the article regarding the invention of the zipper very confusing. “Why does this article have the headline ‘Smokers rejoice!’ if it is discussing a device that binds the edges of an opening together?” he asked aloud.

“Must be another error,” Hairini quipped.

Nestorius was reading a book about the Severan dynasty that ruled the Empire back in the late 2nd/early 3rd century. He motioned Hairini to come over and look at something in the book. She approached and saw him pointing at a section of text discussing the Constitutio Antoniniana. She was surprised by the information.

Senators, as always, thank you for your time.

17 February 1911


On 23 January, Iraq agreed to Our demands.

But this good news was countered by the dire news from the Pannonian front. The legions, already weakened from their previous fights, were being severely battered by the Aquitaine forces and their poison gas attacks. We saw no other option to but to agree to the status quo and form a peace.

Of course, the legions were immediately attacked in the same location by a Polish army. But by the 10th of February, they had completely defeated that army the same way they had beaten the German one.

Fortunately On 5 February, the battle of Tulcea was decisively won, clearing the Bulgarian front. IV. Legio and XXIV. Legio immediately marched to free Moldavia from German control. But when they spotted a Polish army in the area, they immediately returned to their former defensive line.

We were not surprised to learn that during these perilous times, contact had been lost with the latest expedition to the South Pole. Nevertheless, We furnished a third expedition, if only to point to it as an example of the Imperial Spirit.

In other news, the humanities department at the University of Constantinople has announced a new major: political science. Students will learn the theory and practice of political systems.

And the school of business has become a proponent of what they are calling “human resource development”. It seems to be common kindness dressed up in a way to appeal to businessmen who only see their workers as a resource to be exploited. As strange as that approach is, We are pleased by anything that causes Our workers to be better treated.

In western Europe, Burgundy has made peace with both France and Aquitaine.

There were no newspapers considered worthy of the archives this month.

“This is terrible news. All those nations not seen for many centuries have returned to bedevil Europe, sneering at the Pax Romana. Disgusting!”

Bah, our Empire is so weaken and rotten from within, that two nations now have declared independence. We must move quickly to destroy them and purge the impure elements. We are the Roman Empire without Rome!

-Senator Talbot Palaiologos

As always, Senators, thank you for your time.

17 March 1911


On February 22, the Germans again struck the Pannonian line at its weakened point in Fiume. Again, the legions smashed the attacking army.

While this battle raged, IX. Legio defeated a German army that had tried to slip around the front in the east.

And in Bulgaria, IV. Legio and XXIV. Legio moved to defeat the Poles while not giving them the opportunity to slip past the front. The battle of Bacau proved most effective at blunting Polish power.

XXXV. Legio and XXXIX. Legio won their battle against the South African army, ensuring Our eventual victory in the region. Though it will take the occupation of the region before South Africa will admit this, We fear.

Fortunately, Israel finally admitted they were defeated and were reabsorbed into the Empire. Our initial assessment shows no crimes against the populace, and so only the leaders of the revolt will be punished. Our former administration, mediated through local synagogues instead of local churches, largely remained intact, and so needs not be replaced.

Slowly, the war moves in our favor.

The successes against these aggressors who would take advantage of our weakened state is welcome news. Soon we will push back the Germans, Russians, Poles, and many others and they will come to regret trifling with the Roman Empire.

It is also good to hear that the Holy Land is secure once more. Hopefully this means troops can be moved to more contested areas.

Also, does anyone want any toast? I made extra.

– Senator Raphael Favero

“Oh, sure!” Theodora said. “Anybody want tea to go with their toast?”

((Private – Last month))

Theodora stepped through the corpse-strewn halls of the governor’s palace in Jerusalem her father had administered Israel from. Her father’s sword lay in her hands, drawn and bloodied. Any rebel scum who dared to oppose her was quickly cut down. But no matter how many rooms she searched, she could not find her brother.

An Imperial soldier ran up to her. “Minister Doukas, we have secured the entire complex,” he said, “We have found no trace of your brother.”

“Then tell Dalassenos to put the whole city on lockdown and put all legions in the province on high alert,” she replied, “The rebel scum will not escape my wrath for long.”

Sure! I have buddah if anyone wants some with their toast.
-Senator Marco

5th of March 1911; excerpt from Hairini’s journal

“Things were quite calm, for the most part. One of the most worrying things, however, was how Lykidis has been acting around Nestor. In a conversation I overheard, I found out that Lykidis was, in fact, the descendant of a former Serbian ruling family. ‘Vukanović’, I believe. He planned on convincing Nestor of letting his son be Nestor’s senatorial successor, so that his family may once more rule over land lost as governors. A couple of hours later, he attempted to do just that, but Nestor stopped him dead in his tracks. He told him he didn’t want to hear anything about this until he was close to forced retirement.

Michail was furious and ranted about how his family deserved it. Heraklides jumped in, pointing out how Lykidis’ family is descended from his, the ‘Vojislavljević’ family, and argued that they held that claim instead. Epimonopoulos mentioned how his family, the ‘Nemanjić’ family, derives from the main branch of the ‘Vukanović’, and that they held the claim instead. Alexidas pointed out his family, the ‘Branković’ family, descends from Epimonopoulos’ family via female line through marriage. And out of nowhere, Antecheirinidis jumped in and argued that none of them hold any true claim via family, unlike his family, the ‘Trpimirović’ family, who held more land in Dalmatia, which they all apparently want to govern. At this point, many of my fellow peers, such as Kojo Onobanjo, Sudarto Wanggai, Botros Damji and Dhaaniel Kurien, jumped in and told them no one cared. Nestor, frustrated by his friends all trying to claim themselves as worthy of the Dalmatian governorship, thanked his subordinates profusely for stopping the madness.

For the rest of the day, everyone was quiet. The former friends were all glaring at one another. According to Kojo, Lykidis has told him in the time they’ve worked together that there are many Hellenized families in the Roman Empire, especially of regained lands. Their families had been at each other’s throats for decades now, as well at the throats of the other formerly non-Greek families. When I asked him on his thoughts on the matter, he just told me he didn’t care and that Nestor should adopt a child, just so Michail would stop ranting to him about this. That night, I heard ruffling from Nestor’s room. I quietly moved to the room’s door and slowly opened it to find Nestor having trouble sleeping.

I sat down and talked with him; he was frustrated over the fact that his friends were chasing after his senatorial position. While Antiochos and Nicolaos apologized, he still couldn’t believe such old friends would do something like that to him. I myself was a bit frustrated as well, though that was mostly because of lack of sleep. In a moment of mutual frustration, I leaped onto Nestor. That night, both our frustrations disappeared.”

17 March 1911

Nestorius and Hairini were glad to hear the news of Israel’s fall and of how the war was going. Hearing the offer for toast and tea, Hairini chimed in. “Two pieces of toast and cups of tea for us, please!” she asked politely.

17 April 1911


On 19 March, Germany again attacked the force in Fiume. As always, they were defeated.

The legions took advantage of the temporary German weakness in the region to push the defensive line forward. By moving from Fiume to Pola and Karlovac to Postjana, the line would remain the same length, yet protect half of Istria. And then a short campaign up the coast might prepare the way to move the entire front to the eastern edge of the Alps.

On the eastern front, the legions continued to prove their superiority to the German and Russian forces.

In more governmental matters, the Imperial Bank has introduced another means of controlling the monetary system within the Empire.

Along other fronts:

In Moldavia, the legions are slowly reclaiming the region and placing it back under the civilian government’s control.

In west Africa, the entire region has been placed under the control of either Sokoto or the Empire. Its permanent disposition will be determined in time.

In south Africa, XXXV. Legio is working to reclaim Imperial lands, while XXXIX. Legio chases the South African army region to region, whittling its numbers and not giving it a chance to rest or recover.

And in Guyana, English forces are doing their best to take control of the region.

Good, good, we are finally achieving victory! May I ask the Emperor about my appointment as a general to an army?

-Senator Talbot Palaiologos

It seems that Africa has calmed down and we are turning aside the forces of Germany and Russia. The momentum shifts in our favour. Soon we will push these aggressors back and crush the rebel states that defy us.

– Senator Raphael Favero

Nestorius and Hairini looked quite happy after hearing the news. “Hopefully we will be able to push back the English from Guyana,” the former stated.

Senator Palaiologos, We will certainly appoint you as a general. And We think We will have the perfect opportunity for you to command within the month.

The Empire Strikes Back 102 – The Time of Troubles, the First 58 Days

We see Senators Favero, Palaiologos, Gael, Doukas, and Angelos here. Let us hope we hear from the others soon. First of all, We blame the obstructionism of the bureaucracy for these events, as they prevented Our father and Grandmother from properly meeting the people’s needs. Senator Doukas, you will ensure the bureaucracy adheres to any reforms we pass. Use whatever means are necessary, this is a time of emergency.

The first reform will be an increase in the minimum wage throughout the Empire. We need workers able to provide for their families. See if you can dissuade those who wish for voting rights.

We will ask the humanities department to better develop their methods of understanding society so that We can heal the hurts that have caused these events and will be caused by these events.

Senator Palaiologos, We accept your offer to be placed in a battle command. We will determine the details of your posting in short order.

The first priority will be extracting the legions from hostile territory. They must regroup before we strike back. We will call a meeting of the Senators as soon as there is enough news for an update.

“UNLIMITED POWER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” screamed the emperor.
Theodora slapped Ioannes Dalassenos out of his daydream. The emperor would never talk like that…
“Oh, sorry,” he muttered.
“Excellent,” continued the emperor, “Doux Doukas, I hereby designate you as Minister of Security. As your first order of business, you are to execute Order 62. When the bureaucrats learn what has transpired here, they will kill us, along with all the Senators.”
“I agree. The bureaucracy’s next move will be against the Senate.”
“The vast majority of bureaucrats are now enemies of the Empire.”
“I understand.”
“We must move quickly. The bureaucrats are relentless. If they are not mostly destroyed, it will be civil war without end. First, I want you to go to the Ministry of Security. We will catch them off balance. Do what must be done, Senator Doukas. Do not hesitate. Show no mercy. Only then will you be strong enough to bring balance and safety to the Empire.”
“What about the other bureaucrats spread across the empire?”
“Their betrayal will be dealt with. After you have killed enough of the bureaucrats in the Ministry to make a point, wipe out the traitorous senators and governors and the other rebel leaders. Once more the Romans will rule over a united Europe! And…we shall have…peace.”
“As you wish, Your Imperial Highness,” said Theodora, bowing.
“Strategos Dalssenos,” said the emperor to Ioannes, “You are to take command of Operation Rubicon and oversee the extraction of all stranded legions from the rebel territories. The rebel scum must be shown no mercy once the Empire’s forces are consolidated and ready for battle.”
“Yes, Your Majesty,” said Ioannes.

((Private – Ministry of Security Headquarters, Constantinople))
The doors to the headquarters swung open, and in walked Theodora in official robes, flanked by at least three dozen Varangians.
The bureaucrats stood up and stared. One stepped forward. “Who are you?” he demanded. “What is the meaning of this? Where is Minister Doukas?”
“I am Minister Doukas,” said Theodora, “You have betrayed the Empire, bureaucrats.”
She turned to the Varangians. “Open fire on the traitors. Spare every third man. Show no mercy to the rest.”

((Private – Athens))
The phone rang, and Cody Laskaris of the Athenian Lancers picked it up. “Hello?”
“Execute Order 62,” said Theodora Doukas over the phone. There was gunfire sounding in the background. “Now.”
“As you wish, sir–I mean, ma’am,” said Cody.
He put down the phone and turned to his men. “Get your gear in order,” he ordered, “We have traitors to kill.”

No one was really sure what had happened with Nestorius Septiadis. Following his ascension to the position of Governor of Naples, he mysteriously disappeared from the Senate. Rumors arose of his possible assassination not long after, followed by rumors that said rumored assassination was done by cultists. But the truth is much farther and more simpler than that. Nestorius has simply been in Naples this entire time.
In the years since becoming Governor, he has primarily concentrated on Naples, having moved there almost as soon as he became Governor. He had received countless letters from the Senate, telling him what had happened there and asking him to please attend the next session. The last time he had opened one of those letters was back when Empress Veronica passed away. Everything he knows about the events at the Senate from that point onwards he figured out through hearing what the people in Naples are discussing about.
News of the Civil War spread quickly through Naples. Nestorius was organizing documents when an assistant informed him of the news. “A Civil War?!” he yelled to the assistant, shocked to hear that after all the revolts, the various independence movements had finally decided to step up. After being handed the newest letter from the Senate, Nestorius scratched the beard he had grown during his governorship. He couldn’t believe the magnitude of the situation. He knew what he had to do. “Get my coat and check for the next boat to Greece. I believe it is time I finally returned to the Senate,” he told his assistant.

Nestorius quickly finished the last documents he had to check for the day before his assistant brought him his coat and the boat schedule of the nearest port. As he packed his things, he couldn’t help but notice how his assistant was standing very close near by. He never really paid any attention to those working under him, as they did as they were told and did it well. His views towards non-Greeks meant that those working under him mostly consisted of non-Greeks and Neapolitans. As he finished packing, the assistant approached him further. He looked at her and recalled seeing her in the documents a few times. A Māori of the name of Hairini Waata, some few odd years younger than him. She had a determined look, which coincides with what he has read about her, as she moved from her native Aoteorea to explore the Empire by working under administrative positions. She spoke; “Is there anything else you need?”
Nestorius shook his head. “No, that would be all,” he answered. As he entered the hallway, he was stopped by Hairini. “Sir, if I may ask?”
Nestorius turned curiously and nodded. “May I accompany you?” Hairini asked. Nestorius blinked for a few moments, remembering what he had read about her. “You wish to see the splendor of the Empire, yes?” he responded. Hairini nodded. “I have only been to a few cities in south-western Asia Minor, as well as Athens, before being assigned to work in Naples. For all I have done, I believe it is fair,” she responded. Nestorius stood there for a moment, unsure of what she had done because of how he hasn’t paid attention to those working under him. After asking her, she revealed that she, along with a few others, have been the main pushing force, the ones who answer to him directly and those who give out the commands. He ah’d for his lack of awareness. “Call them here then,” he told her.
A pseudo-meeting had been made, as Nestorius addressed them. “As you all know, a civil war had broken out across large stretches of the Empire. Because of this, I’ll have to head for ‘Polis and rejoin the Senate after so long,” he told them, as they all nodded. “This lady here……. Hairini, was it?” he asked, to which she answered with a nod. “Hairini here tells me that you all have been answering directly from me and keeping this place together as I worked and worked from the top. To that, I wish to thank you. I get carried away in my work and sometimes forget about the things around me, so I am very grateful that you have all helped me thus far,” he told them, causing them to smile. Nestorius pauses for a moment, thinking over what he was going to say next. He wanted to finish the meeting, but Hairini wished to accompany him. As he thought it over, he decided to allow it….. that is, until he noticed a book she was writing in. He asks her to hand it to him, which she reluctantly does. Nestorius flips through the pages and find….. a journal, describing Hairini’s journey since leaving home. He handed the book back to her. “I plan on releasing my journal as a sort of autobiographical story when I stop working in the future,” she revealed. “An aspiring writer?” he asked, to which she responded with a nod. Nestorius smiled, remembering his own travels around Europe and the Middle East when he was young. He was sure of how he was ending the meeting now.
“Alright, I believe that’s it for this impromptu meeting. Hairini, pack your things. We mustn’t be late for the next ship to Greece,” he stated, as Hairini couldn’t believe her ears. She nodded furiously and immediately headed to pack her things. Some 15 minutes later, she was ready. Nestorius and Hairini bid the others farewell as they headed to the nearest port.

27 May 1910

This last week began with the declaration of the civil war. All legions in enemy territory immediately began moving to the nearest port, with the exception of the legions in the vicinity of the Alps, who instead began marching for the eastern Alps. Several other legions had been fighting rebels throughout the Empire, and they continued to do so.

Many of the legions seeking to retreat to ports were ambushed by what had been their comrades just days before. Others just never resumed communication and are completely missing. And even today, there are new attacks from within the Legions’ own ranks.

The Western Mediterranean Fleet is escorting Senator Nestorius’ ship to Constantinople. We expect his arrival on the second of June.

We would not have summoned you for such an indefinite update, but We have received yet more troubling news. Russia and Germany have signed an alliance. Worse, in their announcement, they have specifically referenced Our current troubles.

Senator Palaiologos, We apologize for not yet giving you a command, but We wish to know what forces We have available first.

My Emperor, it is fine. I prefer to lead the remaining legions in Britannia to victory against my cousin, Henry Palaiologos. He has betrayed this Empire and is a die- hard communist. I will personally lead the war against his forces and hope to achieve a victory and bring him to you.
-Senator Christophoros Palaiologos

Having arrived at the port, Nestorius and Hairini both headed to where their ship should be. While Hairini looked around herself, absorbed by the looks of the port, Nestorius suggested they check if they had all their documents. Having done so, they headed to buy their tickets and board the ship. At the ship, the two show their documents and tickets, causing the crew member to raise an eyebrow towards Nestorius. “You are Septiadis?” he asked. “Why, of course. Who else would I be?”
The crew member stood there in silence for a moment and leaned forward. He whispered something in his ear, something Nestorius would yell loudly: “PEOPLE THINK I WAS ASSASSINATED?!” he yelled out. The crew member attempted to shush the surprised senator, but only with Wataa’s help was that achieved. “How about you send a message to the Senate and inform them of our plans to arrive?” she asked politely. The crew member straightened up and rushed elsewhere. The two hoped nothing bad will happen.

Thankfully, nothing bad happened. The crew member returned to tell of how the Western Mediterranean Fleet will be escorting the ship now, because of their presence. They thanked the crew member for his hard work and went to their room. Nestorius laid in his bed, still under slight shock over the fact that people have thought he had been killed years ago. Soon, that thought subsided after he realized that he barely remembered anyone at the Senate; he’d only hope someone recognized him when the two arrived. Hairini was very much more upbeat, as she continued writing into her book. While the two would attend meals onboard, both spent their times mostly in their room.

One evening, off the coast of the Peloponnese, Nestorius was alone in his room, having calmed himself slightly over the rumor by reading some literature. At one point, he noticed how he was in fact alone. If Hairini, a native from Aoteorea, were to do something obscene, it would be his neck in the yoke. Swiftly, he put the literature down and headed to the deck to look for her. Almost instantly, he found her near the railing, staring out at Hellas. He slowly approached her and joined in. “How long have you stared out at the coast and sky?” he asked. “Heh…. I’ve lost count,” she responded, to which he responded with his own little laugh. “You could’ve told me that you’d be gazing tonight. I would’ve joined you,” he said with a smile, which Hairini responded with another little laugh.
The two gazed out and talked about their respective motherlands; while Nestorius hadn’t missed Greece much, as he had seen it all, he did miss Hadrianopolis, as well as Dyrrhachion. Hairini made many comparisons when reminded of home, which Nestorius noticed. “You miss your home, more than I miss mine, hm?” he asked. She looked away from a moment, unsure how to respond, before turning back towards him. “I do. I really do. But I am here thanks to my home…. and my family,” she said. She spoke of how the other big reason why she was working overseas was that she was supporting her family back home, and she spoke of events of discrimination she and her family had faced. “There are many kinds of people in this world, Hairini. Remember that,” Nestorius commented. “I know, I’ve met one right here,” she replied with a smile, which slowly faded.
She began to hesitate whether or not she should ask Nestorius what is on her mind, but after giving it some thought, she decided it was worth a shot. “Nestor, if I may call you that…. is it possible if you could speak about discrimination against non-Greeks in the Empire?” she asked. Nestorius shrugged. “I’ve been gone for so long. The political scene at the Senate might’ve already decided to do something about it, but I don’t know. However, if I’m forced to speak about it, I will defend the people of this Empire, Greek or not,” he told her. Hairini sighed, happy that someone would speak about the topic. “Oh, and if you wish to call me Nestor, that’s fine by me. Just give me a nickname for you,” he told her slyly. Hairini took a moment to think of a name: “Cyrene.”
“Well then, Cyrene, I believe we’ve gazed enough. We should go to sleep,” Nestorius said with a smile. The two returned to their room and went to sleep.

Grand Workers Republic Battle HQ – Rennes, Brittany
“Comrade Chairperson, it has worked. The Emperor still thinks I am loyal to rotting corpse of an Empire. He doesn’t realise that the tides of history and the power of the worker are ready to wash his corruption from the face of the earth. Even now our workers are taking control of the armaments industries here and in Isles. They hope to extract the Legions to prepare to fight the other Empires in the North.”

” Your report is most interesting Gael, we have had similar reports from our brethren across the channel, Henry Palaiologos cousin of my father’s enemy in the capital. We must move fast to secure the rest of the Workers Republic of the Isles and then push our neighbours to either joins us or die.”
“Speaking of Palaiologos, he is in Britannia!”
“He must not leave! I swear by my father and grandfather, I Layla Gray will avenge my blood and liberate our peoples from the tyrants of this world!”

((Constantinople, Ministry of Security Headquarters))
“Minister, we have received troubling news from the rebels in Britannia,” said Cyril, “It appears that they have declared the independence of a ‘Syndicalist’ state called variously as the ‘Union of Britain’ and as the ‘Workers’ Commonwealth.’ We don’t know much about their leadership, military and industrial strength, but propaganda that was found by stranded legions in the province imply a goal to destroy the Empire and execute the imperial family.”
“Worrying,” said Theodora, “They are perhaps the most dangerous of the rebels. Should they get too powerful they could inspire other communist insurrections in the loyal provinces.”
“Theodora, as much as we all want the rebels in Britannia to be crushed, with Gallia in rebel hands it would be impossible to reach them,” said Ioannes Dalassenos, “It is best to focus on the rebel groups operating closest to loyal territory. We must destroy Italia, which with its grip over Lombardy is strangling the loyal citizens in the rest of the province. We must destroy the rebel Palestinians and secure our supply routes. We have to secure the continent first. Britannia can wait.”
Theodora sighed. “Any news on Markos Angelos?”
“We’ve got bad news coming out of Russia.” Ioannes tossed down a newspaper, whose headline screamed “IMPERIAL TRAITOR NEGOTIATES PACT BETWEEN GERMANY, RUSSIA.”
“They’re calling it the Pact of Steel,” said Ioannes, “And the alliance is known by two names: the Northern Alliance and the Central Powers. Markos managed to escape. He has united our two enemies against us.”
“We need to act fast,” said Theodora, “End this civil war before the Russians can strike. We may need foreign assistance from Ukraine, Abyssinia, and India for this.”

((Private – Samarkand))
“Excellent…everything is going according to plan. Prepare to send funding and equipment to the rebels!”

Letter to Constantinople:
Bah, Communist scum! Once more, they have betrayed this Empire. I petition the Emperor to pass a law outlawing all Communist parties in this Empire! They are a blight on this Empire and seek to bring it down at all costs! We must seek a final solution to this problem, I propose that any Communist found after this law is passed will be sentenced to either life in prison or execution on the charge of treason. I am currently conducting a fighting retreat through Britannia. My, I am ashamed to call him this, cousin is in Londinium right now conducting operations against us. But our legions are strong and tough, we will not fall easily. Attrition is slowly whittling us down right now and the rebel is conducting ambushes at every corner. I have received information that our Communist former colleague is the linchpin of the Communist rebellions. I have dispatched several elite soldiers to try and … take care of him. Alas, I fear Britannia will be lost soon.
– General Christophoros Palaiologos

Meanwhile in Londinium in a crowded building ((Henry Palaiologos))…
I am pleased to announce of a Communist brotherhood against the imperialists to resist all attempts to forcefully subjugate the proletariat. Together, we shall stand strong and united against the capitalists who seek only to exploit the hard work of proletariat so they can eat and drink it all away. Together, comrades, we shall bring down this decadent, oppressive Empire called Rome! Together, we shall export the Revolution elsewhere and spread equality and liberty throughout the corners of the world! Our comrades, the Gray’s, are currently marshalling Communist forces in Brittany. Comrades, I ask you to follow me to destroy the weak, retreating forces of the oppressive monarchy called Rome. Comrades, I ask you to spread progress throughout the world!

((In a letter to General Palaiologos))
The final solution to the communist problem should be to deny them anything that could boost their argument. We could implement social reforms that they desire so that they cannot use those to gain credibility. Of course, some reforms, such as the abolition of the monarchy, are too radical and treasonous to even consider, and we should execute any who support those ideas as traitors.
Megas Domestikos Ioannes Dalassenos

Yes, of course, I agree completely with you. But we must also suppress such revolutionary tendencies!
-General Christophoros Palaiologos

Your concerns are understood, general. It is my job as Megas Domestikos to ensure that revolutionary tendencies are and will be suppressed.
-Senator Doukas

3 June 1910

Finally, the nearby rebels have been driven from the vicinity of Constantinople. Yet again, the walls held firm and the Scholai Palatiane won the day.

Likewise, the half of XXIII. Legio in Burgundy has fought free of their foes and is expected to reach the city of Amsterday by the sixth of June. They have reported that Burgundy is led by someone claiming to be the Pope. For those who don’t remember, the Pope was the Bishop of Rome when the Latin Rite had begun to separate from the Church, who had claimed primacy over the other Patriarchs. When the schism was ended, he fled to the few countries that still supported the heretical movement, and eventually there was no more word of Popes after all nations turned back to the church. We do not know whether the succession of Popes continued in secret, or if this is someone merely seeking anything that would provide a claim against the Empire.

In sad news, We received word that VII. Legio was completed defeated in the battle of Manchester. No organized forces are reporting in from Britannia, and We fear that all have been lost.

A small smattering of VI. Legio has escaped enemy forces and hopes to escape to La Rochelle by tomorrow. Likewise X. Legio, heading for Ghent. A large enemy force in Pozega, in the Balkans, is primed to crush XXVII. Legio, but XXIX. Legio should be arriving tomorrow to aid.

The remnants of XI. Legio have escaped from Australia and are under way for the nearest port in the Cocos islands so that their transports can be used to extract XXXXII. Legio from Java.

Many other rebel forces have been defeated, but it is too early to fully know what forces have escaped, let alone what forces will be ready when we strike back.

But something yet more strange has happened. Both Russia and Germany have ceded lands to Poland-Lithuania in order to draw them into their alliance. This may yet be cause for worry.

The ship carrying Nestorius and Hairini arrived as scheduled in Constantinople on the 2nd of June, but circumstances delayed it to arrive in the late evening. The two grabbed their things and got off, as they entered the City of the World’s Desire. Nestorius took a deep breath, as he let the smells of the never-sleeping city surround him once more. “Ah, the Queen of Cities, how long since we have parted?” he thought aloud. Hairini looked around herself, as she saw the spectacle that was the Reigning City. She pulled out her journal and immediately began writing descriptions of the capital. Nestorius looked over to her, laughing slightly. “Cyrene, you’ll have enough time to explore and write later. For now, we should find a place to rest at,” he told her. She turned to him and nodded, putting her journal back. They quickly found a place to rest for the night.

In the morning, the two prepared themselves for the departure to the Senate. “Do you think the senators remember that you exist, Nestor?” Hairini asked. Nestorius paused for a moment. “….Hopefully?” he said in an unsure manner. Hairini responded with a giggle. “Well, I doubt you remember many of them,” she said slyly, causing him to laugh in a confirmational way. Eventually, they got ready and left.
Arriving at the Senate, the two were stopped at the front of the building by two guards, asking for their identities. Once Nestorius revealed who they were, they were allowed in. They then spent the next few minutes trying to find where the Senators were before finally locating them. They quietly entered the room and put their things on the coat rack, as Nestorius tried to identify one of the senators before they identified him.

General Solanis’ letter to the Senate:
It is my duty and my sadness to report to the Imperial Senate and the Emperor of General Palaiologos’ condition. He personally supervised the defence of Manchester against overwhelming enemy forces and was shot twice, once in the arm and once in the chest. He is grievously wounded, I do not know if he will survive. The second in command, General Georgios Mavronis was killed by an artillery shell. Imperial forces are in full retreat, the Seventh Legion is gone. General Durranis is currently leading the remnant of the Tenth Legion to the coast near Ghent to be picked up by the navy. I am leading the Sixth Legion to west coast to be picked up by the navy. I do not know if we will survive.

No-one knew what happened to Marco during the first months of the civil war, but Marco had some rage to take care of.


Once news of the Civil war hit, he didn’t even warn the senate he was going to wales to ‘give those chaps a right talking-to’.
all he did was leave a short note to Sarah and Gabriel.

Dear Sarah and Gabriel,
The recent war has made me quite….annoyed, so I am going over to Wales to join a loyal resistance group and do some sabotage. I shall soon return, donut fear.

Once two weeks had passed, Julius decided that he had quite enough of killing and blowing up supply lines. He got a ship to Constantinople, and managed to avoid enemy patrol ships. As of right now, he is currently in the senate building trying to find everybody.

2 minutes later…
“Hey everybody, have you missed me?”

Nestorius was unsure what to think. He didn’t recognize anyone. He couldn’t even locate the Senators he would’ve assumed to be here, such as Comminus, Smithereens or Komnenos. He became very nervous over approaching the others, but Hairini re-assured him that things would be alright. Nodding in response, the two slowly began approaching the others when, out of nowhere, Senator Marco appeared. Nestorius looked at him for a moment before realizing he had never met him before. He slowly turned back to the other senators and continued approaching them, as he tried to find his seat.

“I see that a few senators have got up late today. Well, at least that means that they’re probably not traitors, heretics, rebels or secessionists.”
-Senator Angelos

As Nestorius found his seat and got an extra one for Hairini, he overheard senator Alexios speak. “You could say I’ve been late for some 30 years,” he quipped.

“Hello everybody,” said Theodora, “I presume your presence here means that you are loyal to the Empire, so I’ll spare you all the standard vetting procedures. Instead…do you have any valuable information on the location of rebel troops and supply routes? I have heard some of you were stranded inside rebel territory for some time.”

Unfortunately, I was only able to get my hands on a letter, and liberate a few villages, plus a small town.
-Senator Marco

Do you have this letter with you? Which towns and villages did you liberate? I need specifics if we are to eradicate the rebel scum!
-Senator Doukas

All I can say is I am most grateful I was not at my estate outside Venice when this whole calamity started. Both my father and grandfather were murdered on its premises, and likely I would have been the third. I can only imagine what those filthy separatists are doing to my estates right now. The poor vineyards.
– Senator Raphael Favero

Nestorius and Hairini just watched the other senators talk with blank expressions. The former was unsure how to go about not only introducing himself to the rest and explaining his absence, as well as figure out what had happened since the death of Empress Veronica, while the latter was just nervous, unaware of how the others would react to a native from a rebel state. But she knew they had to contribute. “Come on, say something,” she whispered to Nestorius. “You think I’m not trying, Cyrene?” he replied with his own whisper.
He decided to draw attention to himself with a few strategically placed coughs. Perhaps someone might realize who he was, considering the fact that they had contacted the Senate before setting off from Naples.

Theodora noticed Nestorius’s artificial coughing immediately. “Senator Nestorius,” she said, “You seem awfully quiet today. Don’t be shy; feel free to talk. Your presence at the Senate today establishes your loyalty to the Empire. Your…assistant…is also welcomed to the Senate with open arms.”

Nestorius was glad to have been finally acknowledged by someone. “Pardon my quiet nature. I’ve just been absent for so long. I….. don’t really recognize anyone here. And I’m very much in the dark in regards to what has happened since 1901, though I’m only slightly aware of what has happened a few years prior to 1901, which I will have to rectify,” he stated. “Nonetheless, I am glad that someone recognized me despite this.”

A quick rundown on major events. The Emperor was assassinated by the Cult while on a visit to the Caucasus. My father gave his life to prevent more deaths. Unfortunately, as you know some provinces have used this as an opportunity to rebel from the Empire. Do not be afraid. You are in the Senate now, in the center of the City of the World’s Desire. You are safe now. There is no war within Constantinople, only outside. United we can triumph over the rebel scum that refuse to acknowledge their Emperor as their true ruler.
-Senator Doukas

Nestorius rubbed his face before nodding. “I see. I’m sorry for your loss,” he said in a slightly saddened tone. “I assure you, my loyalty to the Empire is as strong as ever. Same goes for my assistant,” he stated, as he realized that she hadn’t introduced herself. He turned to her and motioned her with his eyebrows to introduce herself. She got the message and stood up. “I believe I haven’t introduced myself yet. My name is Hairini Waata. I work under Senator Septiadis back in Naples. It is an honor to be here,” she said, bowing towards the senators.

“It is an honor to welcome you to the Senate,” said Theodora, “It is nice to know that many minorities are still loyal to the Empire. We could enact policies that appeal to the minorities to deny the rebels any propaganda topics…but enough of that for now. This is not a regular Senate session. Yes, I lost my father, but I also lost my brother. He has gone missing in Jerusalem when rebel Palestinians seized control of the province. I really want to find him and bring him to safety as well as punish anybody who could have harmed him. We must be generous to those who declare their loyalty to the Empire, but we must be harsh to those who resist. Now, that being said…what say both of you about the Northern Alliance of Germany, Russia, and Poland-Lithuania which has expressed the goals of destroying the Empire for good?”

I did not read the letter yet, as I thought it would be of better use for the minister of security, so I do not know whether this is a communist leader order or some love poetry.
*hands letter over*
As for the towns… let me see… Bangor,Cardiff and Vale.
-Senator Marco

Hairini sighed in relief, knowing that she had been accepted by those in the Senate. Nestorius smiled, before returning to a worried expression once he heard about Theodora’s missing brother. As he was about to express his own opinions on rebel punishment, Theodora spoke of the Northern Alliance. Nestorius looked like he had just heard of his mother’s death. He once more rubbed his face. “Very distressing, to say the least,” he said, with Hairini nodding in agreeance.
“We must however concentrate on our own affairs before doing anything about this alliance. If we do not at least have the mainland of Europa under our control once more, then we are doomed in the face of war,” Nestorius expressed his thoughts.

I am the Minister of Security. It would help the Ministry immensely if you could hand it over at once.
I completely agree with your thoughts. We cannot fight the Russians and Germans at this point, with many of our provinces in rebellion. The rebels must be brought back into the fold before we can turn to the Russians.
-Senator Doukas

A clerk comes over to Alexios and passes him some notes. He nods and stands up.
“In these trying times, I have ordered the Ministry of Education to institute an oath of fealty to be spoken at the beginning of each day, whether at school or college, to bolster unity and to focus our prayers on the actions of the Emperor and the Boule. It is a simple line, to be spoken in Greek, merely, ‘One God, one Emperor, one people’.
“As such, I would hope that the Ministry of Labour would implement this oath at any training session held at places of employment as well, for we cannot have any old Thomas, Michael or Isaac declaring an independent state where once Roman hegemony ruled, and we should take pains to remind all true Romans of this fact, whether at work or at school.
“Glory to God and the Emperor!”

Here you are Doukas. *hands over letter*
-Senator Marco

“Excellent,” said Theodora, taking the letter, “The Ministry will analyze this letter for information.”

*Communication from the Sixth Legion has ceased.

Chairperson, news from Britannia. The Sixth Legion is no more, the Isles are free from Imperial presence. We await news of whether the Senator has managed to escape of perished with the Legions.
Excellent, I understand that the Burgundians allowed the Legions to escape, hopefully the French Workers Army will quickly overwhelm the fascists in their wars and our combined power will continue to grow. Please make sure that our production facilities throughout the region are operating at full capacity, even if we just have to arm every man, woman and child then as long as the workers yearn to be free they will not break us. For the Revolution!
For the Revolution.

Ministry of War headquarters, Constantinople

“Repeat yourself, you’re breaking up,” said Ioannes Dalassenos over the telephone.

“We’re under attack!” screamed the soldier on the other end through heavy static. “The Syndicalist scum–entire Sixth Legion surrounded–need–reinforcements–ASAP!”
“Identify your location,” said Dalassenos.
“We–are–AAAAAHHHH!” The line cut off.
Dalassenos slammed down the phone. Other operators worked to get a connection back up, but Dalassenos knew that there was nobody on the other side who was going to answer the call.
“Deploy a legion to Gallia at once,” he ordered, “I want Paris and all of the rebel scum inside to burn.”

The condition of General Palaiologos is still unknown but it seems that General Solanis has been slain.
-Alexander Mattas, interim Minister of Intelligence

How is this happening? Why is this happening? We have given so much to the provinces and they want independence? How is this happening?
-Senator Marco

“They are clearly not Roman and thus foolishly spurn the glories of Rome.”
-Senator Angelos

They have clearly been corrupted by the Cult.
-Senator Doukas

“While I may not have been following the situation with the Cult closely, I do believe we shouldn’t use them as a scapegoat.”
-Senator Septiadis

“They are terrorists, murderers and pagans. They’re not even Greek. I think being a scapegoat is the least of their problems.”
-Senator Angelos

“I never stated that they weren’t any of those things. I just stated that blaming them for every misfortune the Empire has is a naive stance.”
-Senator Septiadis

They murdered my father. They murdered the Emperor. My reports tell me they helped negotiate the Northern Alliance! Our legions reported finding Cult equipment and propaganda within rebel-occupied territory! How can you not see the big picture here? They have been planning this for a long time. Now of course I don’t blame them for anything and everything without a reason, but I have a reason right now!
-Senator Doukas

Nestorius paused for a moment, appearing to be in deep thought, before speaking once more. “Perhaps the Cult has been planning this, if what you say is true, but I doubt they are connected to every rebel state.”

You’re right. There is no way, logistically or ideologically, they would be able to incite rebellion in Oceania or Britannia; after all, Britannia has embraced communism and Oceania is half a world away from us. However, I never said that the Cult was ever supporting all rebel groups. I apologize for being unclear. I guess I’m still trying to get over the loss of my father and brother.
-Senator Doukas

Nestorius nodded in response. “I doubt anyone can criticize you for still being emotional. We can relate to having lost someone dear,” he said in a staid tone.

I assure you, we will find them and bring them to safety. The Empire leaves no citizen behind.
-Senator Doukas

“Oh, um…. the dear ones I spoke of passed away. My father died of a heart attack a few weeks before the Empress Veronica herself died, while my lover befell an accident which…..” Nestorius was saying before pausing, eyes filled with regret. “…..nevermind my own troubles, we are here to figure out how to save Rome from divided destruction!”

Agreed. Now, anybody know what is going on in the Middle East? The rebels in Jerusalem are the weakest and potentially the easiest to defeat.
-Senator Doukas

As the Senators’ conversation drew to a close, the Emperor spoke again.

Senator Doukas, may We see the letter before the ministry does its full analysis?

Interesting, it seems to be a repeat of the Donation of Constantine, with Burgundy supporting Italy. No doubt these two, being the rebel nations with borders to the Empire, plan to expand into any land they can claim. We shall see about that.
Senators, We thank you for your time. We will summon you again when there is more news.

10 June 1910


On the fourth of June, We received a report that XII. Legio—in Kasema, a province in Central Africa—had been completely defeated. The majority of its regiments, being from Aquitaine, Catalonia, and Spain, had declared for their respective revolutions and attacked the loyalist regiments. They immediately turned to fighting among themselves, and We are uncertain what their plans might be afterwards, being so far from their homelands.

Meanwhile, the survivors of X. Legio were attacked in Bruges while waiting for a transport fleet to pick them up. With all transport fleets still several days away, their survival began to look precarious. And on June 6th the North Sea Fleet, which sat impotently off the coast, reported that the Legion had been completely destroyed, with only a few of the command staff sneaking off to sea during the night and being picked up the fleet.

Fortunately, XVI. Legio in South Africa survived their battle with disloyal regiments and marched for the coast, where the Africa Transport fleet is waiting to pick them up.

And even better news came from Guyana on June 8th. XXV. Legio had defeated their rebellious regiments, and were in pursuit to completely destroy them.

While We are still reacting to immediate events, it looks like matters are beginning to stabilize. Therefore, We have drafted an initial plan for fighting the rebellion. All legions in or near rebel territory will withdraw to Dalmatia or Naples, or where a transport fleet can conveniently drop them off. They will rearm and recruit replacement regiments. The stronger legions will continue to fight the Jacobin, Reactionary, and Communist rebels, fight any former legionary regiments within these borders, and hold the borders against further incursions. If need be, then We will create borders further back. We will also recruit new legions as We are able to secure recruits.

However, We wonder: what does the Senate think should be done regarding legions that have fallen in this rebellion? In the past, their number has been retired entirely. But so many legions have been lost. As well, there are many legions that had been split into multiple fighting groups. We plan to make each of these fighting groups a legion in its own right. Perhaps they can be attached to the few survivors of fallen legions, essentially reconstituting the old? Or do the Senators have other ideas?

And finally, all these plans may soon change, as the Northern Alliance has expanded yet further.

The loyalists in South Africa deserve the highest of honours. Three thousand men, all part of an artillery brigade, fending off five times their number is truly remarkable.
This Northern Alliance worries me. Who are they allying against and for what purpose? I can only assume they wish to take advantage of our state of weakness, for long have the rest of the world been jealous of our success and power.
– Senator Raphael Favero

The Northern Alliance is quickly becoming a major threat to the Empire. We must deal with the rebel scum as quickly as possible so we can deal with Russia.
For ease of communications, I would support making each army a legion in its own right. This would boost their morale and make it easier to identify each unit.
-Senator Doukas

“Not only that, Favero, but those 3,000 men lost less than an eighth of their numbers, with each man called to God taking two dozen traitors with him. Surely, God is great! Further, I propose that Mikhael Papadopoulos be called to the Senate after the rebellion is over and awarded a medal for gallantry of the highest order.”
-Senator Angelos

“The expansion of the Northern Alliance is distressing. We’d face a 6 front war if they declared on us now,” Nestorius thought aloud. “However, in these times, it is great to hear that more and more rebel regiments are being defeated,” he said, as he thought of something. He turned to Hairini.

“Hairini, do you have any knowledge of what is happening in Oceania?” he asked her to her surprise. “Well….. no. I haven’t had the chance to contact my family back home,” she responded. Nestorius turned to the others. “Does anyone happen to know if the communication lines to Oceania are still up?”

I would recommend integration of several divisions of armor into each legion. These tanks show promise and potential. I fear that if we rely on sheer manpower too much, we could run into problems of the Northern Alliance begins using armor divisions. We must create legions consisting entirely of armor and use them to assault rebel positions with impunity. This way, on the battlefield we can quickly and decisive overwhelm our enemies with minimal casualties.
-Senator Doukas

What should we do with the Empress Veronica, which as you know is the militarized and renamed La France airship? Should we send it on reconnaissance missions or bombing runs? And where should it be deployed?
-Senator Doukas

((Private – Samarkand))
“Excellent…everything is going according to plan. Begin preparing for the final solution to destroy the Empire!”

*Workers Army HQ, Rennes Brittany*
Chairperson Gray, we have received missives from Britannia, they have suffered a massive loss to the Legions and even now are being scattered and hunted across the island. However it seems that all Legions are leaving our territory, we feel that they will be withdrawn to the home lands. However we now face a much tougher fight as our troops are limited. – Random Plebian
The former Senator Gael has let us know that further nations seek to rip the Empire apart, we will have to be the jackal to their lion. Allow the Capitalists to fight amongst themselves and we will take the scraps. As long as we can maintain peace between the Marxists in the UK, the Anarchists in France and ourselves we will be able to grow our forces and subdue the neighbouring fascists.
Soon we will be powerful enough to take the fight to the rotting corpse of the Empire!
– Chairperson Gray, Head of the Brittany Workers Council

“Sir, we have arrived over Paris,” said First Officer Michael Laskaris of the Empress Veronica. “What are your orders?”
“Fire at will,” said Captain John-Loukas Picardie, “Make it so.”
And the bombs fell all across Paris, flattening block after block of building and sending communists in all directions, scampering for cover as the Empress Veronica soared overhead in all of its imperial glory, utterly unopposed by any rebel forces.

This is quite worrisome. Tanks seem like an excellent solution at this point.
What was the population before the…. what should should I call them? Scum? Traitorous A**holes? Rose up. Then maybe we could define the population of each area and figure out how much men they can call up.
-Senator Marco

If you wish to be “politically correct,” just say “rebels.”
-Senator Doukas

As at previous sessions, the Emperor waited for a lull before speaking again.

Australia and Aoteorea both have not made any sort of contact with the Empire. The various technicians insist the telephone cables are intact, so We can only assume they are choosing not to send any messages. The few bits of information gathered from radio transmissions suggest Aoteorea has fallen sway to reactionaries, led by a single dictator. XI. Legio had intelligence suggesting Australia has fallen sway to ‘Anarcho-Liberals’, which seem to be a cabal of businessmen.
We will hold another meeting when We again have new information to share.

June 17, 1910


It is as we all feared. The Northern Alliance has declared war on the Empire and its allies. However, before We review the details of this new war, let us discuss the events of the past week.

On 11 June, XXXV. Legio sent its rebellious regiments into retreat. It abandoned its former plan to clear the Greater Congo region of Jacobin rebels until it could recruit new men into its depleted regiments. Instead, it chased the survivors of the disloyal regiments to Kribi, where they were completely destroyed on 13 June.

XXXXIV. Legio had cleared Naples from all other rebels, so attacked an Italian army in Bologna on 12 June. The battle is not yet decided.

XXIX. Legio had waged a desperate defense against Jacobin rebels after most of their regiments had declared for Italy and abandoned them in the midst of battle. They were preparing to break out and escape the battlefield when the rebels instead routed. Nevertheless, XXIX. Legio retreated to a more secure location.

XVI. Legio successfully extracted from South Africa, their transports immediately sailing for the Mediterranean where they would be sorely needed.

We begin to question the integrity of the press. No, no, Senator Doukas, We will allow them to continue to freely publish without harassment. But do check to see if this is the result of outside influence, and if so, what that influence might be.

So now, the war with the Northern Alliance. This map shows the extent of the allies willing to aid the Empire, and the extent of the Northern Alliance. We believe the former plan to withdraw the legions to the heartland of the Empire is still sound, though holding the borders with the Northern Alliance may be difficult. We hope to reclaim rebel territory in order to allow ourselves to recruit more legions to fight the greater war, but the next few weeks will show the viability of that plan.

“Germany is our natural ally,” say the French. We should bring up the matter of Alsace-Lorraine with them.
Those barbarians in Russia and Germany! For the second time in the Empire’s history, the barbarians are invading us! We must rally all of our troops to defeat them and put them in their place! The Ministry of Security is getting in touch with subversive units such as radical communists and fascists within Russia and Germany to see if they can help us bring down our enemies. Of course, I shall only give the green light on your command.
-Senator Doukas

I regret to inform you that General Palaiologos is dead, killed in action in Britannia but apparently, a misprint on a letter has caused Rome to believe the Sixth Legion has been destroyed. It is instead, the Tenth Legion that has been destroyed. I, Paulinas Palaiologos, will carry on my father’s legacy. I hail from Britannia and escaped the vile communist forces there. I may be young, only 29, but I know what is best for this Empire. I request to lead the Tenth Legion against any forces that may seek to defeat Rome. We may be outnumbered but we are Roman, not the barbaric scum that call themselves nations.

The news of Australia and Aoteorea’s rebel governments was of concern to Hairini. She worried for her family’s safety, because of her working overseas for the Empire. Following the session, Nestorius tried his best to calm Hairini down, assuring her that her family should be fine. However, she wouldn’t take it; she needed to contact them by telephone, as she had bought them one a few years earlier. At their residence, she made the call as Nestorius stood by her side. She waited for a couple of minutes, nervously waiting for an answer, before getting one.
“Who is this?” she heard a familiar male voice say. It was her brother. “Anaru! It is Hairini!” she yelled into the phone, startling the Senator next to her. “I have heard of news of the Aoteorean dictatorship. What’s going on over there?!” she asked frantically. She waited for a moment before getting a reply. “Things are looking grim here. The guy in power, who is only known as Tane, has been instituting some fairly frightening rules. He has forces which routinely check those who have some sort of connection to the government. I’m always looking through our windows, hoping to never see them. He has also been enforcing segregation for non-Maori of the island, differentiating immigrants and settlers from foreigners born on Aoteorean soil. The ghettos are depressing,” Anaru revealed to her. “The worst part is how some policies are being borrowed from the Australians. I’ve only heard rumors, but if they are true, then non-Aborigines there are having an even worse time.”
“So, you, mother and sister are all fine?” she asked worryingly. “Yes, but I don’t know for how long. Please, if you can, spread the word to the Greeks in the West! I’ll try my best to protect- oh no, I think I see them. I have to go,” he told her. “Anaru, wait!” she yelled before he hung up. She put the receiver down, looking blue. She turned to Nestorius and told him what she had found out. He was shocked. “We’ll have to see if we can do anything during the next meeting.”

Nestorius’ head was in his hands when he heard that the Northern Alliance had declared war. Hairini, knowing what this meant for the Oceanian states, looked as though she was about to scream her head off.

((Somewhere over France))
The Empress Veronica shook as something hit it. An officer screamed as bullets smashed through a nearby window, striking metal and flesh with extreme prejudice.
“What the hell…” said Laskaris.
A small and dark shape shot past the bridge with a loud hum, and briefly John-Loukas could make out the shape of a hammer, sickle, and Britannian Union Flag.
The British had airplanes too.
“Red alert!” shouted John-Loukas. “Action stations! Set all stations to condition 1!”
Klaxons blared all throughout the ship as the crew manned their stations, among them the two rudimentary antiaircraft guns.
“Find that plane and shoot it down!” ordered John-Loukas.
“Uh, Captain, I think we have a bigger problem than one plane,” said Laskaris, pointing in front of them.
Out of the clouds emerged a large airship, painted in all red, bristling with weapons all over. It was of the same design as the Empress Veronica, but it was twice as large and significantly more armed than the imperial ship, with five more light cannons and three more antiaircraft weapons, as well as what appeared to be a larger bomb bay and…a runway? John-Loukas swore he saw planes inside, getting ready to take off. On the side of the communist airship was written: Aiden Gray.
“Sir, they are hailing us over the wireless,” said the communications officer.
“Patch them through,” said John-Loukas.
“We are the proletariat,” said a Britannian manon the other end, “Lower your weapons and surrender your ship. We will add your social and class distinctiveness to our own. Your experience will adapt to service us. Resistance is futile.”
“No,” said John-Loukas.
“Reactionary bourgeois scum,” said the woman, “I understand you recently bombed the poor proletariat in the free city of Paris.”
“Yes, I ordered that,” proclaimed John-Loukas.
“You will pay for your crimes against the proletariat!” said the man. “The Workers’ Commonwealth and the liberated proletariat of Britannia shall triumph over the reactionaries in Constantinople and bring the revolution to all corners of the world! Surrender now and we shall not kill you all. Resist…and you already know what fate befalls you. It is no use resisting the revolution and inevitable victory of the proletariat.”
“No,” said John-Loukas, “I fight for Emperor and Empire, and I will not bend to some Syndicalist scum!”
There was no response for five seconds. Then there was a laugh.
“Fools,” said the man, “Let us show you the true might of the proletariat!”
The Aiden Gray opened fire on the Empress Veronica, unleashing a devastating hail of flak from its cannons as its complement of biplanes strafed the imperial ship, tearing large holes in the sides of the Empress Veronica’s hull.
The ship rocked from the sheer force of the impacts. Some crew screamed or lost their balance and were tossed overboard. Others bravely tried to man their stations.
“Engines three and four are down!” reported the chief engineering officer, “We have reports of fires breaking out dangerously close to the hydrogen reserves.”
“Seal them off and execute Protocol Herculean,” ordered John-Loukas.
“But sir, there are forty crewmembers still trying to escape from that section!”
“I hate to say this, but if we wait for them the flames could reach the hydrogen, in which case we all die! So do as I order you to do, and execute Protocol Herculean!” shouted John-Loukas.
“As you wish.” The officer turned a key on his console.
There was a rumbling as thousands of gallons of ballast water were suddenly released from their holding chambers, rushing through the lower regions of the ship and dousing all flames. Looking out of the corner of his eye, John-Loukas saw water cascading out of the exhaust pipes and gaps in the hull, carrying with it all forty flailing crewmen over the edge into the abyss that was the sky.
“All fires accounted for,” said the officer.
“Very well, get engines one and two fully operational!” ordered John-Loukas.
“Sir, even if we did, and I am pretty sure we can, we still wouldn’t be able to outrun the communists,” said Laskaris, “Their ship is too advanced and too fast.”
John-Loukas leaned over. “I wasn’t saying we retreat,” he whispered.
“The reactionaries reveal themselves for who they really are,” said the man, “Cowards, throwing away the lives of the proletariat as if they were trash. The reactionaries declare the wars, while the proletariat fights the battles. In war, the proletariat loses. But not today. Today, we have triumphed over the reactionaries in Constantinople! Today, the revolution will succeed!”
“Not on my watch,” said John-Loukas, “Laskaris, full speed ahead.”
The first officer smiled. “Yes, sir.”
Laskaris gunned the throttle, and the Empress Veronica lurched forward, towards the port side of the Aiden Gray.
The voice came back, more panicked now. “What are you doing? Stop! Surrender to the proletariat at once!”
“I will never surrender to any traitor to the Empire!” said John-Loukas. “For Emperor and Empire!”

The Empress Veronica rammed into the side of the Aiden Gray, and both ships tumbled from the heavens, towards the earth below.

Nestorius takes his head out of his hands and looks at the other senators. He knew he would have to share the info he had gathered from Hairini and decided to just do it. He stood up. “If you all don’t mind, I would like to share some info I had gathered from a source regarding Australia and Aoteorea,” he said.
“As we know from last week, Aoteorea is ruled by a dictator, while Australia is ruled by what seems to be a cabal of businessmen. According to my source, both parties, the Aoteorean dictator and the Australian businessmen, are natives of their respective islands; Māori and Aboriginal Australians respectively. The Aoteorean dictator goes by the name of Tane, and his dictatorship has been instituting some fairly shocking rules. His forces routinely check those who have some connection to the Empire,” he said as he gave Hairini a glance, “as well as enforcing segregation for non-Māori people, whilst differentiating between newly arrived immigrants and settlers from non-Māori born on the island itself. They spoke of depressing ghettos. And, according to my source, some of their policies are being borrowed from the Australians, who are reportedly even worse than the dictatorship. By the way they spoke of the rumors they had heard, non-Aborigines people are even worse off there,” he revealed in a worried tone.
“It may not be much, but I knew this info had to be shared,” he stated, as he sat back down. Hairini looked at him worryingly. She hoped that the info would vivify at least one of the senators.

Oh dear, Racism? Excuse me for a moment everyone, but cover your ears or leave the room if you don’t like loud noises.
“Julius, the cult has influenced many people and many influential people has convinced the citizens to rise up-” Senator Doukas began.
*Julius sits down, calming down a bit*
I once met an Australian family while travelling in Australia when I was 16. They were nice people, offered me food and water and helped me to Sydney. They believed in the empire, and wished for it’s eternal life. Now, after all these events,I am shattered. Hairini, I apologise for all these events regarding your family. Hopefully, you will find them.
Now, let us crack some skulls, shall we?
-Senator Marco

Nestorius and Hairini were both blown away by Julius’ reaction to the news. They didn’t expect that kind of vilification, especially Hairini.
She spoke; “T-Thank you for your kind words, Senator Marco,” she said nervously, “but you must remember that many immigrants and settlers who come to Oceania are racist as well. Regarding education, I would be willing to bet that those in power there currently are highly educated and are using their intelligence to take power. We natives want to assimilate, to consider ourselves Roman, but with how we are treated, we end up assuming that you don’t want us to be that. In fact, that’s what I feared the most when I started working overseas, but I am relieved to have experienced a lack of racism in my time in Europa. I was humbled by your kindness,” she told the senate. “And I doubt any Cult is involved in Oceania; most natives follow either a syncretic faith, combining Christianity and their local beliefs, or just Christianity outright. And because of the aforementioned racism, I doubt any native asking for independence would ask help from people not their own race,” she explained.
Nestorius spoke up; “And one has to ask; what is truly Roman? We may be Romans now, but in the times of antiquity, the Romans were Italics who ended up conquering the land we stand in now. They brought the culture of the ancient Greeks into their own, syncretising it with their own. Perhaps we should do the same too. I mean, if it weren’t for this fact, then how did Gaul, Iberia and other such territories allow themselves to be enveloped by Greco-Roman culture?” he asked the Senate.

Julius. This kind of sentiment is the reason we are in this mess. Instead of working with each other for the benefit of the Empire, we are arguing and even killing each other over racial differences! If we are to survive and save the Empire, we must work together. Keep in mind that the Old Empire fell when the people failed to work together to oppose the barbarians and instead killed each other. We must not let that occur again! Calm down, because if we fall apart, the Cult could bring us all down by exploiting our rivalries, and then we will all die.
-Senator Doukas

“To be Roman is to speak Greek and embrace the ideas and values of Rhomaion. You can be born as far from the bells of the Hagia Sophia as it is possible to be on this green earth and still be a Roman if you believe that you are. Remember: One God, one Emperor, one people.”
-Senator Angelos

Okay…Yes.. thank you. I apologise for my outbreak earlier.
Speaking of which, I think something here is odd. God loves us, yes? He punishes sinners, does he not? Then, pray tell, why is he allowing this? Hell, why did god even let catastrophe’s in the past happen! The bible says love thy neighbour, and treat everyone as you wish to be treated, and that hasn’t stopped prejudice, or hate. Also, what is religion? Believing in a god, but the religions just interpret it differently.
-Senator Marco

“I am not qualified to debate on theodicy or the nature of God, Senator Marco. Perhaps you should ask a priest?”
-Senator Angelos

hmmm… good idea.
-Senator Marco

“Aren’t the values and ideals of Rhomaion ever changing, Senator Angelos?” Nestorius asked. Hairini stepped in. “While this discussion over Romanity is an important one, I think discussing what to do over both the rebellions and the war against the Northern Alliance would be significantly more important.”
“Good point. We can continue this discussion after all the warring has passed,” Nestorius said. “Now, does anyone have any idea how we are going to go about the wars?”

My suggestion: withdraw as many legions to the borders and hold the line there, while other legions try to defeat as many rebel factions as quickly as possible. Once at least the European rebels are defeated, we can focus on defeating the Northern Alliance (this means probably abandoning Australia and Aoteorea for the time being, my apologies). Hit Germany and the Central European members first, then go after Russia. But it’s up to the Emperor to decide what to do.
-Senator Doukas

How much men can the russians pull up, and what is their equipment? I would like to think we have superiority in the equipment field.
-Senator Marco

We do not have enough Legions to even attempt an offensive that has a reasonable amount of success. We must mobilize every single able bodied male in this Empire and rush them to the borders. We will have to abandon Italia, land to the East of Romania, and land north of the Caucasus. Guyana must also be given up. With the shorter lines, our decisive advantage as the defender in home terrain will show and we will take down 10 enemies for each Roman. Africa will be easily subdued as will North America. India, this time, is a useless ally as their navy is too small to transport their armies to where they are needed.
-Senator Palaiologos

I never advocated for a primarily offensive strategy; I only advised that we withdraw all of our legions to our own borders to hold off the Russians, while on the side we send a few legions to defeat the smallest rebel factions. I hope that clarifies everything up.
-Senator Doukas

We simply do not have the men to do what you propose. We must mobilize, shorten our borders, and hold in defensive terrain. We do not have enough troops to simultaneously bring back into the fold some of weaker rebel factions while holding off the Northern Alliance. We must wait for India and the UTA to come reinforce us.
-Senator Palaiologos

-Senator Marco

Abandon my family’s vineyards to those rebel scum? I’ll march into Italy myself and take them out single-handedly before I see my family estate touched by those traitors! And to even suggest letting Rome fall is absurd. Even with our capital at Constantinople, there is no Roman Empire without Rome.
– Senator Raphael Favero

There will be no Roman Empire without victory in this war. We must do what is necessary to win this war. Are you calling the Eastern Roman Empire unroman? How dare you insult our ancestors! If we do not shorten the land we need to defend, we will be crushed in this war. For the greater good.

-Temporary Senator Palaiologos

“Given that our ancestors are dead, it would make more sense to focus on recovering Italia and meeting the Russians in battle.”
-Senator Angelos

Give our ancestors are dead, it would make more sense for us to survive instead of attempting and failing to keep their estates safe.
-Senator Palaiologos

“Then we agree that our revered ancestors have nothing to do with the issue and that bringing them up just hinders discussion.”
-Senator Angelos

So says the reactionary…ah, the hypocrites in this Senate.
-Senator Palaiologos

“As I recall, it was the fascist who brought up their ancestors first, but as has been noted, there are hypocrites in the Boule.”
-Senator Angelos

Order! Order! I will not having us giving in to petty arguments while we are at war! We are senators and Romans! We must unite together against the rebel scum and the Russian menace, or else we will all die!
-Senator Doukas

Julius sniffs.
That speech was truly inspiring, Doukas. Our boys in the legions could use it.
Here is a propoganda poster I am using to help recruitment.

The Emperor was relieved that the near fight it the Senate had resolved itself. The last thing the Empire needed was disunity at this level.

Senators, We thank you for your insights. It is still too early to make too great of plans, but We hope the situation will continue to stabilize quickly. We hope Our citizens will not suffer under these rebellious regimes for long, and that the northern barbarians will be thrown back yet again. We will hold a new meeting when there is more news. In the meanwhile, We will most often be found at the Hagia Sophia, where the Patriarch is holding continual prayer services for the Empire and its citizens.

June 24, 1910


There has been much news in the past week. As might be expected, XXIII. Legio was immediately attacked by German forces after the declaration of war. Simultaneously, a German fleet moved to block the transports from being ready to extract the legion. The North Sea Fleet attacked the German fleet, though most of the German fleet slipped away. Both battles are still under way.

XXIX. Legio had escaped to a safe location in Pannonia, when yet more of their regiments declared for Burgundy. XXVIII. Legio had hoped to rest and recover a little, but immediately moved to assist XXIX. Legio.

Transports arrived in Quiberon Bay to extract VI. Legio from La Roche. They are expected to have fully boarded the transports by 3 July.

On 22 June, Persia gave India military access, so India may yet be able to assist the Empire.

Also on 22 June, XXV. Legio reported that they had completed destroyed all British forces in Guyana, making it secure for now.

On 23 June, XI. Legio was dropped off on the Cocos Islands, and the transport fleet moved to rescue XXXII. Legio from Java. They are expected to arrive on 4 July.

Thus far, We have not seen to much action from the Northern Alliance. There are scattered German forces in the Alps, and a Russian army in Stavropol, but no other forces of note in the heartland of the Empire. A few armies have left the Scottish and English colonies in Africa, but once the rebels are defeated, the local Legions should be able to fight them off. However, Ukraine is being attacked by both Russia and Poland-Lithuania. It is too early to see how this will go, but We are not confident.

In potentially good news, Japan and Ming have formed what they call the ‘Greater Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere’, and even swapped some land to cement the treaty. We hope this may distract Russia.

Workers Revolutionary Army HQ. – Brest Fortress

Gathered to listen to the Workers Beacon of Hope and Chairperson of the Workers Combined International Armed Forces – Layla Gray, daughter and granddaughter of the Senatorial Gray family, are representatives from France, Brittania, emissaries from the Northern Alliance and Greater Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere and the entire parliament of Brittany.

Men and Women of the Revolution, I have received word from Paris that our superweapon the Aiden Gray has managed to bring the Imperial death machine to the ground. However it too has been lost and all on board as well. With sadness we acknowledge the martyrdom of those on board.

However to business, we welcome our guests from the North and the East. Our proposal is simple that each of us hve much to gain with the demise of the Empire, we may have differing goals and our visions for the future vary but as my French counterparts have noted recently to the German ambassador until the threat of the Empire has passed we are all at risk of gaining naught but extermination.

The threats and insults coming from the capital prove that if they had their way our cities would be torn down and our citizens enslaved or worse. Or proposal is simple, though no formal alliance will exist between the Workers Combine and either the Northern Alliance or the GACOS, we will not engage in hostilities and will allow passage of troops through our respective territories in order to better co-ordinate this war against the true enemy.

The various workers parliaments have agreed so we provide you with the various agreements for you to take to your superiors for approval, with that if there is no other business you will have to excuse me as we still have battles to fight.

July 1, 1910


Again, there is not detailed news on the war front. You should know that Italian incursions into Pannonia and Naples have been thrown back, but the legions now desperately need time to recover. Meanwhile, new incursions have begun.

XXIII. Legio made an excellent showing for themselves in Amsterdam, and should board their transport fleet by the fifth.

The only legion still in danger is XXXXII. Legio in Batavia, and it seems there is a chance they might win their battle, despite the 60,000 enemies they have faced since the outbreak of the rebellion. Nevertheless, the South East Asia Transports will arrive on 4 July.

We fully expect Pannonia to be cleared of rebels within a week, at most, two. Once that is complete, recruitment of new regiments to bolster the legions in that region can begin.

In world news, the Greater Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere has expanded. We now believe their interests will be opposed to both the Empire and the Northern Alliance. But what truly will happen is yet to be seen.

Nestorius wasn’t really sure what to add to the conversations at the Senate. He wasn’t much of a military man, so all he could do was praise the victories and hope for the best. He was however getting worried over Hairini. She had been trying to contact her family once more, to no avail. She had lost that wunderlust she had back when they arrived in the capital; she had become a nervous mess disguised in a calm skin. Nestorius tried to think of something to reassure her that everything was going to be fine, but nothing came to mind. He was looking over the balcony on the evening of the 30th of June, watching the city stay awake as Hairini slept. All of a sudden, he got an idea. He knew that he always worked better as a governor than a senator, especially when the news at the Senate consisted mostly of military events. He decided to go through with his idea tomorrow.

Nestorius stood up, ready to go through with his idea. “My Emperor, if I may ask something of you,” he started, “I would like to be assigned the position of Governor of Aeteorea,” he said. “I have learned much in my time as Governor of Naples, and I feel as though my abilities gained would allow me to serve as an able provisional governor,” he stated. “However, as I have learned, a governor by himself cannot run a governorship. Those who have worked under me in Naples are excellent at their jobs, and thus I ask for them to join me in the provisional governorship,” he asked him. Hairini looked at Nestorius in surprise.

Christophoros Palaiologos has been confirmed to have died in Britannia. Paulinas Palaiologos has been assassinated by radical communists in the streets of Constantinople. I am the sole remaining member of the main Palaiologoi dynasty.
-Talbot Palaiologos

Senator Septiadis, your request is granted, though We are not sure what you wish to accomplish with this move. It seems likely it will be some time before Aetoerea is returned to Imperial control.

Senators, thank you for your time. As always, We will share further news as it arrives.

8 July 1910


This newspaper was released this week. The archivists consider it significant, so fresh copies have been provided to each of you.

This week, XXV. Legio decided it would be better to wait for transport from Trinidad—where the Guyana Fleet could block any English armies—than from Guyana. They are expected to arrive on Trinidad tomorrow, but We still have seen no sign of English armies.

IX. Legio, after helping clear Armenia of rebels, decided to strike for the heart of Azerbaijan. They anticipate arriving in their capital of Baku on 14 July.

VI. Legio escaped to their transports and will be dropped off in Sicily to recover.

XXXXII. Legio began a retreat for the transports that finally arrived off the coast of Batavia. Though the battle was ‘lost’, they proved the valor of the legions.

The half of XXIII. Legio that had escaped to the North Sea made it to their transports, and will be brought to the southern shore of Anatolia. Once there, they will be reinforced and take up the numeral of one of the traitorous regiments.

Our navies proved their worth as well. The Red Sea navy sank the entire Hedjaz fleet in their battle, and the North Sea Fleet has held off more than three times their number so that the half of XXIII. Legio could escape from Germany. We will probably send them to a friendly port to recover before the battle is over, but wish the transports to gain a little more distance first.

We felt confident enough in the growing security of various regions that We began recruiting new regiments to restore the legions in Pannonia, Naples, Macedonia, Armenia, and southwestern Africa.

And in further good news, Ming has declared war on Russia, bringing the Northern Alliance and the Greater Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere to war with each other. This is a much-needed distraction.

Now let’s hope they don’t get any ideas and attack the Empire.
-Senator Doukas

Following the session, Nestorius and Hairini quickly returned to their residence. “What was that about at the senate?” she asked him, still in surprise that he had requested the Aoteorean governorship. He turned to her; “As a skilled governor, I would imagine my services would be of great use there, especially after we get control of the territories once more. Plus, I’ve always wanted to go beyond Mare Nostrum,” he told her. While the reasons were sound, it was obvious there was another reason. Before she could interrogate him even more, he had moved to the telephone. He called the Neapolitan governorship. On the other side, one of his subordinates picked up. Nestorius explained the situation and told him to gather everyone, sans a few Neapolitans to keep the place in check, and to come to the capital as soon as possible. At that point, Hairini realized that the senator was going to turn part of their residence into a base for the provisional governorship. She attempted to object, but decided against it. Deciding she needed some fresh air, she left to explore the city some more. Not noticing she had left, Nestorius thought over if he should call up a few buddies of his to come and help him as well. He decided more hands would be best.
The early morning before the session, Nestorius waited for his buddies to arrive. His subordinates from Naples wouldn’t arrive for another week or so, if his own trip here was any indication. Soon, they arrived. He went over to greet them with great big hugs, as he hadn’t seen most of them in years; Michail Lykidis, a politician from the town of Ulpiana, Stefanos Antecheirinidis, a linguist from the town of Aenona, Antiochos Heraklides, a childhood friend from the town of Dioclea, Nicolaos Alexidas, an old family friend from Singidunum, and Savvas Epimonopoulos, a theologist from Arsa he met in Naples a few years earlier. He trusted these men quite a bit. He brought them to his residence, where he introduced them to Hairini. He told them to get comfortable, as he and Hairini left for the Senate.
The two sighed in relief after hearing that the Greater Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere had gone to war with the Northern Alliance. The thing the Empire needed the most was some relief and they had just got it.
“It is great to hear that we’re recruiting new regiments for the legions. All help is welcome,” Nestorius commented.

Thank god the asians and Russians are killing each other istead of us.

-Senator Marco

((Somewhere in northern France))
John-Loukas Picardie suddenly opened his eyes and saw nothing but an empty blue sky, clouded by flames and smoke. He tried to move, but his entire body flared with pain, and restraints held down his waist. He looked down found that he was miraculously only bruised, with no broken bones as far as he could tell; not only that, but his chair was generally intact as well. The rest of his crew, though weren’t as lucky. Many officers lay prone throughout the wreckage of the still-burning bridge, some of them impaled on the jagged metal fragments that once made up the skeleton of the Empress Veronica.
He unbuckled his seat belt and got up. Almost immediately he stumbled as pain flared in his left ankle. He wasn’t as lucky as he thought. At least he could still walk.
Where was Laskaris? Where were his other senior officers too? They had to get out of here as quickly as possible and make it back to the Empire. Only God knew how much the rebels had radicalized the locals to communist ideals.
He rounded a corner and stopped, spotting an equally ragged man wearing a rebel French Commune uniform. He carried a pistol with him, while John-Loukas was unarmed. While John-Loukas was a quite experienced soldier, having fought in Konstantinos’s Rebellion and served as a marine on the Empress Veronica, he was in no shape to fight this man. So he hid and frantically looked for something to defend himself with. Unfortunately, in his haste, he knocked over a piece of shrapnel, making a loud noise.
The rebel’s head snapped around towards the origin of the noise. “Who’s there!” he demanded. “Show yourself, Imperial! No rebel would ever hide from his own comrades!”
John-Loukas remained silent as the rebel advanced towards his hiding place. Then a gunshot rang out, and he heard a thud. Warily peering out, he saw that the rebel was dead.
“Hey,” somebody said behind him.
John-Loukas recoiled so rapidly and instinctively that by the time he recognized Laskaris, he had a piece of sharpened metal well on its way towards the first officer’s neck.
“Commander Laskaris!” shouted John-Loukas, dropping his weapon. “You almost gave me a heart-attack there.”
“Not so loud,” said Laskaris, “It’ll attract the other rebels. The gunshot’s already drawing several of them.”
“How many of our crew are still alive?”
“Not many. I found about three of them, but the rebels got five more and executed them.”
“We have to get out of here.”
The two men hurried away from the wreckage of the two airships, towards where three other crewmen–who appeared to be Britannians and went by Leonard, Jonathan, and Brent–had hidden. Jonathan was severely wounded, with a large gash in his right leg. He needed medical attention urgently.
“Okay, where to?” said Brent.
“I don’t know, but we have to stay low and avoid the rebels,” said John-Loukas.
There was a shout from behind them. “Hey! Over here! The Imperials must have gone in that direction!”
“They’re onto us, move!” shouted the captain.
The five men rushed out of there as quickly as possible.
((Paris, some time later))
“Chairman, it appears that the Aiden Gray did not go down with all hands as previously believed.”
“Why is that?”
“Some men have arrived in the city, claiming to be part of the Aiden Gray’s crew. They have important news on the situation.”
“What is that?”
“That although it is confirmed that the Imperial superweapon has also been taken down, some of its crew have survived and escaped custody. If not captured, they could exploit anti-communist sentiments in the populations and bring back sensitive information to Constantinople.”
“Then hunt them down at all costs. I want them brought before me dead or alive, preferably alive. And speed up the production of our replacement Aiden Gray-class airships. We need them to take down the Empire for once and for all.”

17 July 1910


The clearing of rebels from within our heartland continues. The Bulgarian region is on schedule to be cleared of rebels within the next week or two. As such, new recruits for XXIV. Legio have been called up within that region.

Likewise Egypt, where recruits are being called up for XIX. Legio and XXXVII. Legio, Tunis, where recruits are being called up for XVII. Legio, and Morocco, where recruits are being called up for XXXVI. Legio.

The North Sea Fleet has withdrawn in good order from their battle off the coast of Holland. Though Germany is hailing this as a victory for them, they lost ships, while We lost none. Some of our ships are heavily damaged, and the fleet plans to undertake repairs at Lucca.

In bad news, Italy has seized the region of Chur and fully incorporated it. The entire region of the Alps is completely overrun, and We hope that it will take long enough to secure it that the reinforcement of the legions can take place and Pannonia defended.

Likewise, Persia has decided to conquer Baluchistan, bringing the Greater Asian Co-Prosperity to war with the Empire and its allies. Truly this is a time of world war.

Damn Persians, always stirring up trouble! They must be taught a lesson again!
And what is the state of the front in the Middle East? Has Jerusalem been liberated yet?
-Senator Doukas

We MUST consider my uncle’s strategic plan! Without a solid defensive plan in place, we will lose this Empire to the forces of nationalism and revanchism along with a health bit of imperialism. Outnumbered by these numbers, we have no hope of attacking anywhere and winning!
-Senator Palaiologos

Senator Doukas, the front in the middle east has remain fairly static. Israel has sent an army north into Syria, as has Iraq, but this region is heavily fortified and their armies will not have an effect for a long time. The legions currently have no plans for retaking Jerusalem, but that may change once they are reinforced with new regiments.

Senator Palaiologos, We agree with the plan to withdraw to defensive lines. The border of Pannonia in the west, and the Caucasus mountains in the northeast are the current planned lines. But We do not wish to withdraw too far, as that gives the legions fewer people to draw upon. And a full mobilization must wait until the Jacobins have been fully defeated, lest they slaughter farmers and miners waiting to form up.

The Empire Strikes Back 101 – The Death of Emperor Konstantinos XX

It is my sad duty to announce the death of Emperor Konstantinos XX on 20 May, 1910. For now, only small groups may visit his body. In time it will be brought to the Grand Palace, where his funeral will be held on the 20th. After the funeral, Emperor Konstantios XIII will make an address to the Senate.

In the meanwhile, the following newspapers are considered significant by the archivists.

And the Senatorial world map is being updated.

The Empress Veronica lasted more than 30 years, and this one barely 10. May the Emperor rest in peace.
-Senator Marco

As Minister of Intelligence, I have received very worrying news. Russia is preparing for total war and seeking an alliance with nations everywhere in the world to destroy this Empire. Asia might also become a hotbed of war. I have received reports from everywhere in this world that many nations are preparing for war. We must mobilize, unite, and meet this threat wherever the threat may happen to be!
-Senator Palaiologos

Michael Doukas is strangely absent from the beginning of this session. A letter is delivered to Senator Palaiologos, with Doukas’s signature on it. An official from the Ministry of Security sits in Doukas’s chair to answer questions intended for the senator.

“Pardon me for communicating in this way, I seem to have been caught up in some unexpected business.
I never said you advocated for unnecessary violence, but I have heard other self-proclaimed “fascists” in the streets calling for the extermination of non-Greeks and communists. And for clarification, we in the Ministry of Security only resort to violence as a last resort; the Secret Police has legal and bureaucratic safeguards designed to prevent its abuse, and I am pleased to report that it is functioning exactly as planned.”

The Ministry of Security has also received word of Russia’s preparation for global war. I strongly urge the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to attempt to resolve this crisis diplomatically without resorting to war, though if war is inevitable Senator Doukas and the Ministry shall support it completely and utterly.

My condolences to the imperial family. The entire empire will mourn the loss of its late emperor. May Emperor Konstantios XIII reign with the wisdom of his grandmother, Empress Veronica.

So much tragedy in the world. The largest ship in the world sunk by an iceberg and thousands lost to floods in the Lowlands.

– Senator Raphael Favero

That is why we are here Raphael. We are here to discuss the best options of the empire and how to stop such disasters from happening again.
-Senator Marco

“Would we not have heard some word from the Basileus if this were true? A statement should be made to the press to alert the populace, methinks.”
-Senator Angelos

I hope it can be resolved diplomatically. Just in case diplomacy fails, we should evacuate the border provinces, and ask for help from Ming and Ukraine. We should mobilize as well.
-Senator Marco

Alexios’ hands twitch violently when he hears this.

“Evacuate the border provinces? Where would they go? Who would be tasked with this? What possible good would that serve?”

The MoS officer sighs.
“It is not feasible to evacuate the citizens in border themes, but perhaps we could issue partial mobilization orders and increase troop amounts there instead to prepare for potential invasions until this all blows over?”

What does no one trust the Minister of Intelligence? If one person has to know something, then shouldn’t the Minister of Intelligence know?
-Senator Palaiologos

“If any ministry has to know something, I would certainly expect the Basileus, and in time the Boule, to hear about it, otherwise I might suspect that one arm of the government is attempting to keep secrets from the others arms.”
-Senator Angleos

Then what is the Minister of Security for? The Emperor is very busy and he cannot be bothered sometimes. The Ministry of Intelligence is an independent entity in the government to better collect information and carry out espionage missions. We give the Emperor briefings, not the other way around. Would you like direct information or information that has been passed on through a middleman?
-Senator Palaiologos

“Strangely enough, I am not reassured that any single person can be trusted with the security of the Empire and without oversight. It should be the job of any minister to inform the Basileus, or us, his representatives in the Boule, when anything of import is revealed, especially as all the ministries are allegedly cooperating, are they not?”
-Senator Angelos

Reactionary fools always seek to bring back outdated ideas to this Empire. I will let the Basileus decide on this matter over a puny, reactionary senator!
-Senator Palaiologos

“How generous of you that you decide on upon what the Basileus may pass judgement. Take care that you do not forget your place in this empire – just because you fascists have entered the Boule with the name of the imperial bodyguards of old, that hardly distracts from your much weaker and less influential position in politics.”
-Senator Angelos

One day, one day, you will regret your words. One day, the Varangian Guard will have the power in this Empire because the people know the truth. They what is best for them. They know that the reactionaries are fools, communists are a danger to society, the liberals are traitors, and the socialists deserve to be hanged. One day, I will look upon this conversation and know I spoke the truth. The people will know I spoke the truth. The Emperor will know. This Empire is falling apart from both internal and external threats while you smugly look on.
-Senator Palaiologos

“The people know what is best for them?” Alexios laughs coldly. “Well, clearly either you are deluded or the people of the Empire are quite unlike any other person, past or present, who has ever bestrode the globe. Perhaps you should go and lie down, senator; you have become quite overwrought with your own hubris.”

Do you wonder why the Communists rise up? It is because of you old, senile fools stopping progress throughout the Empire.

Russia has seen our weakness, our internal divisions thanks to reactionaries like you, and now they seek to destroy us while you still bicker with me about what the people know!
-Senator Palaiologos

“It takes two to tango, as I believe they say in the lower bars of the city. Besides, I am on record for proposing plans through which the Ministry of Education can heal our internal divisions, as is my job, whereas you simply wish to bypass the Boule and maybe inform the Basileus of your unilateral actions, if you see fit.

“If anyone here is weak, Minister Palaiologos, that would be you.”
-Senator Angelos

We shall see, we shall see.
-Senator Palaiologos

The Ministry of Security official sighs and sips his tea.

And this is why Minister Doukas and I have concluded that arguing with fascists will get you nowhere.

Senators, thank you for honoring Our father today.

To avoid confusion, We will be taking the regnal name Michael, making Us the seventh of that name. Regarding the royal family, We are married to Princess Veronica Maria of Denmark, and have six children. Konstantinos was born in 1894, Alvértos in 1895, Maria in 1897, Errikos in 1900, Michael in 1902, and Alexander in 1905.

Now, let Us share the address Our father had been preparing:

On January 2, XV. Legio achieved mastery over the English army they had been fighting. This was the final straw for England, who agreed to a harsh peace shortly after.

As the fortifications of the Empire completed their upgrades, Senator Theodosio’s reforms of the legions’ command structure began to take effect. We focused Our efforts on ensuring electricity was available all throughout the Empire, and in consistent manners, as opposed to the patchwork of systems that were in place.

Shortly thereafter, We received news of a terrible earthquake in San Francisco. We promised what aid We could to the UTA.

In June of 1906, India declared war on Hedjaz in order to reclaim the last of South Asia. They asked us to assist in the war, and We agreed.

Immediately, I. Legio attacked from the north, seeking to capture the Hedjaz capital of Kaf. Meanwhile, XIX. Legio attacked from the west, seeking to capture as much territory as possible. And the Red Sea Fleet sought the Hedjaz navy in order to sink it.

When Adal joined Hedjaz, We took the opportunity to insist they return the Sunda Islands to the Empire.

After a handful of naval battles, plus the occupation of their territory, Hedjaz was more than willing to agree to these terms.

As 1907 began, Russia seemed to desire to make Us eat Our words at the last address, as they began claiming that the time had come for wars to involve the complete ability of the nation to fight.

Scotland, it seemed, did not agree. England had tried to force them into their sphere of influence, but Scotland resisted. And instead of imposing impossibly harsh terms, Scotland instead took only an English colony. A colony that England could not defend in any case.

Meanwhile, Our plans to electrify the whole of the Empire began to bear fruit. We turned to the School of Business to help develop means of ensuring that businesses acted in a responsible manner.

In July of 1907, the Royal Society announced a prize for the first to reach the South Pole. We immediately set about outfitting an expedition. Shortly thereafter, We were invited to send a team to the fourth Olympics. We began creating the team.

In October, strategies for promoting economic responsibility had been laid. We began laying a legal framework that would allow the Central Bank of the Empire to work according to the newer economic theories.

By May this framework was ready and We passed the National Banking Act to implement it. We then began laying the legal framework for banks that could serve as a means of indirectly investing in businesses.

In Romanga, there was a petition to end the use of chain gangs as punishment. We agreed to seek better forms of punishment for criminals.

In July of 1908, Russia reported an explosion of almost unbelievable size in a remote area of Siberia. Scientists believe it was a meteor striking the Earth.

And in September of 1908, We declared war on Iraq in order to take the New Caledonia region from them.

Communists took this for a moment of weakness and again rebelled in force. We did take the opportunity to allow trade unions to organize themselves, provided they did not attempt to advocate politically.

Of course, this was not a moment of weakness. Mosul fell to I. Legio quickly, and Iraq surrendered once it had done so. The legions swept through the various rebels like something out of a legend, and by early January 1909, the rebellion had been defeated.

During the rebellion, the investment bank laws were drawn up. We were unsure if these banks might cause more trouble than they fixed, so We sought to develop systems of monitoring banks.

And once the rebellion was over, We rethought the trade unions and allowed them to advocate for political reforms. This would channel their efforts in peaceful directions. Of course, the capitalists of the Empire disliked this, but We refused to waver.

By June of 1909, We had established a Bank Inspection Board. We followed this by asking the School of Business to develop methods for businesses to develop themselves as organizations.

In July, Our expedition to the South Pole returned, having not reached their goal. Undeterred, We funded a second expedition. And in October, Our athletes did well at the Olympics, bringing much glory to the Empire.

In January 1910, We discovered just how unhappy the communists had been with the trade union reforms instead of more direct reforms, as they again rose up throughout the Empire.
But as always, they were defeated. This time by ADD PLACEHOLDER FOR WHEN REBELS WERE DEFEATED.

During the rebellion, We saw the rise of newspapers that sought to rationally explain the communist and socialist desires. These led to a greater sympathy for the peaceful ones.

As you can tell, Senators, the rebels were not completely defeated by the time of his death, thus the odd note in his address. However, they are close to being fully defeated.

As well, shortly after his death, my father’s research was completed. We are only now deciding how to best focus Our efforts as Emperor.

Finally, but four days ago, as my father was lying in state, Jacob rebels rose throughout the Empire. These rebels, though are more than within the capabilities of the legions.

Now, to address your concerns regarding Russia and reforms…

A messenger enters the chambers and brings a telegram to Emperor Michael. He pales, swallows, then looks back to the Senators.
Senators, there is a matter I must address immediately. I shall return in a few minutes.

Perhaps we can also find out the reason for Senator Doukas’s absence? Last I heard he was assigned to lead a security detail to protect the Emperor on one of his recent trips.
-The Ministry of Security Officer

At least we taught Iraq and Hejaz to keep out of our colonial spheres. Indonesia belongs to Rome.

Of course Russia would be the one to call for a total war as the new type of warfare. They care nothing for the thousands of innocents that would be slaughtered through the use of such a strategy.

The emperor was kind enough to grant those damned socialists and communists some control of trade unions, and in turn they rose up violently anyway. They clearly know no other way to solve problems. Why we continue to tolerate their rebellious behaviour is beyond me.

– Senator Raphael Favero

I completely agree with Senator Favero. We need to abolish the trade unions and establish syndicates that work for the greater good of the Empire.

I await your announcement, my Basileus.

-Senator Christophoros Palaiologos

“How will syndicates function any differently to trade unions? Besides, if you try to centralise the control of industry, that’s what the communists want, whereas if you attempt to legislate for the conditions and labour requirements of the workforce, you are instituting socialist ideals.

“As I said before, the only other thing to do is to re-educate the populace, so if we wish to teach the trade unions a lesson, we mandate that they are responsible for ensuring that their members speak Greek and hold the unions personally liable for the social disorder that their members cause.

“If we wish to be even more radical, we can insist that their members are in communion with the Orthodox church, and then allow Jewish, Catholic, Protestant or Muslim unions as appropriate, so that all our potential offenders are in one place.”
-Senator Angelos

How will we trust all the minorities? I am sure many are good people but some are threats to this society! How do you tell a Cult member from an ordinary minority?

I agree though, if we must have trade unions, we must hold them to the highest standards of this Empire and force through reforms good for this Empire. Syndicates are better because they are dedicated to the advancement of this Empire, not socialist ideals nor class warfare.
-Senator Palaiologos

Tell me, fascists, why is your faction called the Varangians? Were they not Norsemen and not Greeks at first?
-The Ministry of Security Officer

Alexios says drily, “I would imagine that it’s the job of the Ministry of Security to determine threats to the Empire, not the Ministry of Education.”
-Senator Angelos

Ah, yes but you see, the Varangian Guard proved their absolute, undying loyalty to the Empire, to the Emperor, and to the people multiple times.

Can you say that about other non- Greeks? What about the Cult? The Varangian Guard fought for the greater good of the Empire, they assimilated into Greek culture too!
-Senator Palaiologos

How do you define assimilation? Is it ethnoracial assimilation, or just cultural assimilation? How do you know it has been completed?
-The Ministry of Security Officer


Do you see Norse people who practice the Norse religion and have Norse culture? I think not.
-Senator Palaiologos

Do you see Ashkenazi Jews and Arab Muslims? I think so.
-The Ministry of Security Officer

Bah, stop mocking me you old reactionary. They have not assimilated and may even join the cult!
-Senator Palaiologos

Are you talking to me? Because neither me nor Senator Doukas, whom I represent in his absence, are reactionaries or sympathize with reactionaries. We are liberals. If you want a reactionary to talk to, please talk with Senator Favero. I prefer you insult me properly and get my ideological leanings correct.
-The Ministry of Security Officer

Both of you harbor old,traditional, reactionary ways of thinking in your “liberal” ideology. Liberalism is as great as a threat to this Empire as reactionism or the Cult.
-Senator Palaiologos

Senators, We have received notice that several regions of the Empire have declared independence. Among them are Brittania, Wales, Flanders-Wallonia, France, Burgundy, Aquitaine, Brittany, Catalonia, Spain, Italy, Azerbaijan, Israel, Mataram, Java, the Philippines, Australia, Aoteorea, and South Africa.

The following maps show their borders.

However, these borders may yet change. In addition to be at war with the Empire, many are at war with each other: Spain claims the rulership of all Iberia, France hopes to take from Flanders-Wallonia, France also hopes to take Champagne from Burgundy, Burgundy hopes to take Wallonie from Flander-Wallonia, Aquitaine hopes to take the Rhone region from Burgundy, Java hopes to unite the island by defeating Mataram, and Brittania hopes to unite their island be conquering Wales.

The legions are in disarray, it seems many have seen fighting break out among the regiments recruited in the rebellious provinces and those not raised there.
Wait. Are all the Senators still present?

I will personally flay the Italian scum who dared rebel against the Emperor in my home province. Disloyalty must be met with death. I shall support the Emperor in all endeavours to restore order to the Empire. This shall be the last time we tolerate such rebellious behaviour from the provinces.

– Senator Raphael Favero

My Emperor, I have arrived to declare my unwavering, absolute loyalty to this Empire. I am shocked my home province has revolted against rightful Imperial rule. I am sending Nicaean Guardsmen to assist you in our struggle against the traitorous rebels. The fascists will stand by the Emperor and this Empire no matter what! I ask you, my Emperor, to serve in the army as a general against the hordes of traitors revolting against Roman rule. I will lead the restoration of order in Britannia against all odds and all costs.

-Senator Christophoros Palaiologos, Dux of Nicaea, exiled governor of Britannia

My Emperor,

Sorry for my brief message and my absence at this time.

I am currently trying to make sure the workers of these states refuse to produce weapons for the rebels.

I will work diligently to try to bring the workers to the side of the Empire, however there has been talk of a People’s Republic based on a greater Frankish nation, this change to a workers state may mean many of my party would seek to betray us.

– Senator Gael

The Ministry of Security official stands up.

“I suppose it is time to tell you all what really happened to the emperor,” he says, “He was assassinated by Cultists while touring a city in Georgia, near the border with Russia. How do I know this? Because I have a film showing the assassination itself, procured by the Ministry of Security. Watch at your own peril.”

He puts a reel of film into a projector and turns on the device. Light streams out, and images appear on the far wall to any senators still present.

This is what the film documented:

Abkhazia, Georgia
The train station bustled around Michael Doukas. One more middle-aged man disembarking with his servants juggling the luggage behind was nothing to remark. The Emperor who walked next to him, with four well-paid and extremely careful Varangians about him, decidedly was. So was his anxious care for the emperor’s safety.

He looked about. Passengers were flooding off the train through the connecting corridor, meeting their personal attendants, and those were hailing uniformed porters as luggage was brought in and placed on long tables. Fur hats and head scarves and hats in a hundred different colors waved against the rows of ticket offices along the walls, and swirled through the doorways to waiting cabs or restaurants or shops. Families and friends greeted each other with cool reserve, or glad cries and embraces—his lip curled a little in scorn at that until they all bowed in respect to him and the emperor and cleared a path for him. Some of the servants were holding up signs with names on them, to guide arriving guests to the carriages of their hosts, or in a few cases to their motorcars.

Voices and unintelligible clunks and clanks from the machinery elsewhere filled the air along with the scent of incense in the man-high stone jars that stood here and there on the marble of the floor. The last light of sunset speared down from the high clerestory windows, off the bright gilding that covered the arched ceiling; then the floods came on with a pop and flare of brightness that turned it to a shimmering haze of gold.

Interesting, he thought, looking up as he always did here. The building was five years old, and the spiderweb complexity of gilt, groined vaulting above him was all laminated wood, the latest thing—everything from teak to bamboo, in precisely calculated gradients. And the mathematics had been done here at Tblisi, at the local university.

The rest was not much different from a European railway station, even to the murals of Unity, Romanitas, and Strength and other uplifting sentiments lining the upper walls. Bronzed Indian engineers in dusty turbans laying out irrigation canals, with grateful peasants invoking Christ in the background; missionaries in some godsforsaken ruin (probably Africa) reclaiming hairy savages who crouched in awe at their feet; noble kataphraktoi heroic on rearing steeds, trampling cringing enemies beneath their hooves.

He snorted slightly; they’d left out the traders with crates of gin and beads and cheap rifles, and the prospectors. Whenever he saw official military art, he tended to laugh. Or curse, if he’d had a gin and tonic or two, and swear at how many young subalterns got killed trying to act out nonsense like that before they learned better.

“Your Imperial Highness! Senator Doukas!” a voice called.

He craned his neck, then saw him. “Strategos Dalassenos!” he replied happily.

His old friend beamed at him, a wide white smile across his face, which was darkened by years of service in the tropics; he was a tall man in his early forties, in formal military uniform, black waistcoat and canoe-shaped hat. He gave a nod and a word to Doukas’s two Varangians; Strategos Ioannes Dalassenos was a kindly man as well as one of the Empire’s foremost military leaders on the verge of promotion to Megas Domestikos.

Although it didn’t hurt that his family had become fabulously wealthy with jute mills and shares in Balkan coal mines; he could have dropped the purchase price of Michael’s own estates across a gaming table with a laugh. Not that a general of the Roman legions would go in for high-stakes gambling.

A half dozen others followed, mostly Varangians, except for an Italian who was with the Ministry of Intelligence, and male. They all crowded around the emperor, looking at him with awed reverence before snapping to attention and forming a loose defensive perimeter around him.

“It is an honor to meet you, your Highness,” said Dalassenos

Michael nodded. “Indeed.” he said.

“Oh, my, yes indeed,” Dalassenos crooned. “Very much so, yes.”

The emperor snorted and rubbed his hands together. “We would appreciate it if we could get moving very soon. We have a schedule to keep to and audiences to meet.”

“Yes, Your Highness,” said Michael Doukas.

To the Varangians, he said, “Let’s move!”

He paused to wave the Varangians forward again. There was a commotion a little way off, but he ignored it until someone shouted.

Then he did look up, frowning. Men were pushing their way in, against the flow of the crowd. Several of them, young men; Russians by their looks and dress.

One of them shouted again: “для России-матушки!” (dlya Rossii-matushki)

For Mother Russia, he translated automatically. Why, that’s—

Then he saw the pistols, and for a moment simply gaped. Revolvers, big and heavy and clumsy-looking, with long barrels. Why, that’s illegal! he thought. The pistols were violently illegal for anyone but the military and police; private licenses were extremely rare even among nobility.

He had time for one thought before the first weapon boomed. Cultists—

Time slowed. The men came toward the knot of Varangians, generals, and nobles, shouldering the crowd aside amid shouts and gasps of surprise and indignation. The pistols barked, deep and loud, with long spurts of smoke and flame. Michael saw the Emperor turning, astonishment on his plain middle-aged face, a suitcase in either hand. Then he spun, catching at himself and crying out.

That brought the former Lancer out of his daze. He had been a Doukas and Minister of Security, with all the responsibilities toward dependents that involved. Without another thought he dived, catching the emperor and throwing them to the ground, his own body over him and sicken-ingly conscious of blood soaking through the fabric of his clothes, wet and warm over the hands he clamped down to stop its spurting.

That gave he a view of what happened afterward. A third man carried something besides a pistol, a cloth bundle that trailed a hissing and plume of smoke…

Ioannes Dalassenos recognized it as a bomb almost as soon as him. It was pitched to fall in the middle of the group; the explosion would shatter the metal and wood into lethal shrapnel and kill everyone within a dozen yards. Michael grabbed the parcel out of the air with the skill of the fast-bowling tzykanion player he’d been, and curled himself around it. He squeezed his eyes tight, and then he felt nothing more.

Ioannes Dalassenos could not shut out the horribly muffled thudump of the explosion, or the feel of what spattered him, or the smell.

He forced his eyes open; there were still the men with revolvers—and men willing to set off bombs under their own feet would be horribly dangerous with firearms as well. There was one more shot, and something crashed and tinkled in the middle distance. Half the crowd was stampeding in terror, some trampling those ahead of them.

The emperor drew his ceremonial blade and began a lunge, staggered as two lead slugs struck him square in the chest, lunged again with his sword, a murderously sharp length of fine Damascus steel. It rammed through coat and ribs to emerge dripping red from a Cultist’s back. The emperor withdrew the sword and stepped back, finding a dagger rammed into his chest, right below his heart. He collapsed just seconds later.

Then the four young men disappeared beneath a wave of men wielding swords, knives, walking sticks, fists and feet and a wrought-brass cuspidor stained with betel juice. Despite the nausea that clogged his throat, despite screams and cries and horror, Ioannes thought he saw brief bewilderment on the faces of the Cultists; and that puzzled him itself. Why would Cultists be afraid when they were basically a death cult?

After the explosion and the brief deadly scrimmage things moved by in a blur; imperial doctors, one putting a pressure bandage on the emperor’s wound, stretchers carrying away the wounded. Police came running up, men in red and yellow uniforms with long clubs. Hands helped him to the rim of a fountain, where he sat staring. A loud wail emerged from where other survivors had gathered around the emperor’s still body; the doctors could not save the Basileus.


The voice was firm; he looked up. A thirtyish man in plain crimson-and-green civilian clothes, but with two uniformed policemen behind him, a notebook in his hand and a pistol in a shoulder holster under his red jacket.

“Captain John al-Mustansir,” he said gently—in good Greek but with an Arab accent. “My apologies, sir, but we must take statements before memories fade and change. Now—”

During the questions someone thrust a mug of hot sweet tea into his hand. He lifted it and drank without worrying about the blood on his hands; he had gone through a lot worse. A little strength returned, enough for him to ask in his turn:

“Why? Captain al-Mustansir, why? Is it the Cult?”

“Subversives—yes, Cultists—enemies of the Empire. We think it’s them, but they have never operated this far east before. One may live long enough to answer questions, if we are lucky. Very strange.”

“Senator Doukas was a very brave man,” the captain said, looking down at his notebook. “Without him, several others might have died.”

Ioannes shivered again, barely conscious of the detective muttering to himself as he made quick shorthand notes: “Very strange… the pistols were foreign. Russian armory cap-and-ball make; but the Tsar’s men are not so foolish, are they?”

He burst out: “Why would the Russians come all the way from Moscow to attack us at this point? Why not sooner?”

“I do not know, sir,” the policeman said, tucking his notes away. “But I would very much like to know.”

On the conclusion of the film, a woman in senatorial robes walks into the room, and the Ministry of Security official walks out.

“Your Majesty, I am Senator Theodora Anna Doukas, eldest daughter of Michael Doukas, who was savagely killed alongside your father by the Cult. I declare my complete loyalty to you and to the one true Empire. I am shocked that the Palestinians have rebelled for a second time against the Empire despite the kind and caring policies of my father. They have abducted my brother and are likely torturing him into renouncing rightful Imperial rule as we speak. Our branch of the Doukas family will not follow the bloody path of my uncle Konstantinos, and we will mobilize and rally all available troops and militias in Greece, including the Athenian Lancers, to your command. I hope to serve you as Minister of Security as my father had so that my brother may be found and we can together triumph over the traitors who dare reject the rule of the benevolent Emperor!”

“Italy of course should be the first to fall. The quarrelling Franks and Britons can keep themselves busy. The Angeloi are for the Empire!”
-Senator Angleos

The Empire Strikes Back 100 – 1901-1906


Your presence is requested for a State of the Empire address on January 1st, 1906. It will be held in the main Senate hall in the Grand Palace.

The archivists consider the following newspapers to be of historical significance.

And the Senate’s world map is being updated.

The capital has been so much quieter as of late. This Catman seems to have the underworld on the run. We should try to enlist his services.

The world continues to think it can defy the Roman Empire, but yet again they shall be shown that nothing can occur without our consent.

These radios are absolutely fascinating. To think that someone’s voice can be recorded and then projected all across the empire. How baffling.

– Senator Raphael Favero

Mount Pelee erupts and there’s been an earthquake in Messina…I pray for the lives of those affected by these calamities.

Interesting, this “Catman” guy. He is a vigilante, but he seems to be working quite well in assisting the Secret Police and the normal police forces. He would make a fine addition to the Ministry of Security, should he choose to join us.

How dare they sink the Constantinople! The English and Spaniards and their allies are fools to mess with the might of the Empire!

I hope all of you are well after the Konstantinian and Jacobin revolts of the past few years. There have also been a few small Jacobin and communist rebellions in 1903, but the Ministry of Security made sure they didn’t get anywhere.

Radio…this sounds interesting, like flying machines.

~Senator Michael Doukas

We must have the third way! I transfer my allegiance to the Varangian Guard and alliance my leadership of this glorious party! We shall make Rome strong and great!

As Armaments Minister, I have announced the modernization of the army to bolt action rifles and I am also directing artillery reforms.

I will seek to build a small tanks corps in the near future to help us in future wars against the barbarians that reside outside our borders.

-Senator Christophoros Palaiologos


My I present myself after Aiden Gray returned to his Senatorial seat in Brittany, citizens of the region where allowed to vote as to their choice of candidate. The first true free general election in the Empire. After a long process and with my great predecessor helping me on the campaign I was victorious and now report to the Emperor for service.

I am Alan Gael, I follow the political beliefs of equality and workers rights. It grieves me that the stench of the third way has polluted the Senate. Aiden warned me of Senators Doukas and Favero, but a new snake has appeared to take up this flag.

I put myself at the Emperor beck and call.

– Senator Gael

Dr. Stavridis’s Diary
30 September.

I got home at five o’clock, and found that Doukas and Quintus had not only arrived, but had already studied the transcript of the various diaries and letters which Dalassenos had not yet returned from his visit to the carriers’ men. Mrs. Dalassenos gave us a cup of tea, and I can honestly say that, for the first time since I have lived in it, this old house seemed like home. When we had finished, Mrs. Dalassenos said,
“Dr. Stavridis, may I ask a favor? I want to see your patient, Mr. Renato. Do let me see him. What you have said of him in your diary interests me so much!”
She looked so appealing and so pretty that I could not refuse her, and there was no possible reason why I should, so I took her with me. When I went into the room, I told the man that a lady would like to see him, to which he simply answered, “Why?”
“She is going through the house, and wants to see every one in it,” I answered.
“Oh, very well,” he said, “let her come in, by all means, but just wait a minute till I tidy up the place.”
His method of tidying was peculiar, he simply swallowed all the flies and spiders in the boxes before I could stop him. It was quite evident that he feared, or was jealous of, some interference. When he had got through his disgusting task, he said cheerfully, “Let the lady come in,” and sat down on the edge of his bed with his head down, but with his eyelids raised so that he could see her as she entered. For a moment I thought that he might have some homicidal intent. I remembered how quiet he had been just before he attacked me in my own study, and I took care to stand where I could seize him at once if he attempted to make a spring at her.
She came into the room with an easy gracefulness which would at once command the respect of any lunatic, for easiness is one of the qualities mad people most respect. She walked over to him, smiling pleasantly, and held out her hand.
“Good evening, Mr. Renato,” said she. “You see, I know you, for Dr. Stavridis has told me of you.” He made no immediate reply, but eyed her all over intently with a set frown on his face. This look gave way to one of wonder, which merged in doubt, then to my intense astonishment he said, “You’re not the girl the doctor wanted to marry, are you? You can’t be, you know, for she’s dead.”
Mrs. Dalassenos smiled sweetly as she replied, “Oh no! I have a husband of my own, to whom I was married before I ever saw Dr. Stavridis, or he me. I am Mrs. Dalassenos.”
“Then what are you doing here?”
“My husband and I are staying on a visit with Dr. Stavridis.”
“Then don’t stay.”
“But why not?”
I thought that this style of conversation might not be pleasant to Mrs. Dalassenos any more than it was to me, so I joined in, “How did you know I wanted to marry anyone?”
His reply was simply contemptuous, given in a pause in which he turned his eyes from Mrs. Harker to me, instantly turning them back again, “What an asinine question!”
“I don’t see that at all, Mr. Renato,” said Mrs. Dalassenos, at once championing me.
He replied to her with as much courtesy and respect as he had shown contempt to me, “You will, of course, understand, Mrs. Dalassenos, that when a man is so loved and honored as our host is, everything regarding him is of interest in our little community. Dr. Stavridis is loved not only by his household and his friends, but even by his patients, who, being some of them hardly in mental equilibrium, are apt to distort causes and effects. Since I myself have been an inmate of a lunatic asylum, I cannot but notice that the sophistic tendencies of some of its inmates lean towards the errors of non causa and ignoratio elenche.”
I positively opened my eyes at this new development. Here was my own pet lunatic, the most pronounced of his type that I had ever met with, talking elemental philosophy, and with the manner of a polished gentleman. I wonder if it was Mrs. Dalassenos’s presence which had touched some chord in his memory. If this new phase was spontaneous, or in any way due to her unconscious influence, she must have some rare gift or power.
We continued to talk for some time, and seeing that he was seemingly quite reasonable, she ventured, looking at me questioningly as she began, to lead him to his favorite topic. I was again astonished, for he addressed himself to the question with the impartiality of the completest sanity. He even took himself as an example when he mentioned certain things.
“Why, I myself am an instance of a man who had a strange belief. Indeed, it was no wonder that my friends were alarmed, and insisted on my being put under control. I used to fancy that life was a positive and perpetual entity, and that by consuming a multitude of live things, no matter how low in the scale of creation, one might indefinitely prolong life. At times I held the belief so strongly that I actually tried to take human life. The doctor here will bear me out that on one occasion I tried to kill him for the purpose of strengthening my vital powers by the assimilation with my own body of his life through the medium of his blood, relying of course, upon the Scriptural phrase, `For the blood is the life.’ Though, indeed, the vendor of a certain nostrum has vulgarized the truism to the very point of contempt. Isn’t that true, doctor?”
I nodded assent, for I was so amazed that I hardly knew what to either think or say, it was hard to imagine that I had seen him eat up his spiders and flies not five minutes before. Looking at my watch, I saw that I should go to the station to meet Von Habsburg, so I told Mrs. Dalassenos that it was time to leave.
She came at once, after saying pleasantly to Mr. Renato, “Goodbye, and I hope I may see you often, under auspices pleasanter to yourself.”
To which, to my astonishment, he replied, “Goodbye, my dear. I pray God I may never see your sweet face again. May He bless and keep you!”
When I went to the station to meet Von Habsburg I left the boys behind me. Poor Mike seemed more cheerful than he has been since Loukia first took ill, and Markos is more like his own bright self than he has been for many a long day.
Von Habsburg stepped from the carriage with the eager nimbleness of a boy. He saw me at once, and rushed up to me, saying, “Ah, friend John, how goes all? Well? So! I have been busy, for I come here to stay if need be. All affairs are settled with me, and I have much to tell. Madam Mara is with you? Yes. And her so fine husband? And Michael and my friend Markos, they are with you, too? Good!”
As I drove to the house I told him of what had passed, and of how my own diary had come to be of some use through Mrs. Dalasenos’s suggestion, at which the Professor interrupted me.
“Ah, that wonderful Madam Mara! She has man’s brain, a brain that a man should have were he much gifted, and a woman’s heart. The good God fashioned her for a purpose, believe me, when He made that so good combination. Friend John, up to now fortune has made that woman of help to us, after tonight she must not have to do with this so terrible affair. It is not good that she run a risk so great. We men are determined, nay, are we not pledged, to destroy this monster? But it is no part for a woman. Even if she be not harmed, her heart may fail her in so much and so many horrors and hereafter she may suffer, both in waking, from her nerves, and in sleep, from her dreams. And, besides, she is young woman and not so long married, there may be other things to think of some time, if not now. You tell me she has wrote all, then she must consult with us, but tomorrow she say goodbye to this work, and we go alone.”
I agreed heartily with him, and then I told him what we had found in his absence, that the house which Dracula had bought was the very next one to my own. He was amazed, and a great concern seemed to come on him.
“Oh that we had known it before!” he said, “for then we might have reached him in time to save poor Loukia. However, `the milk that is spilt cries not out afterwards,’ as you say. We shall not think of that, but go on our way to the end.” Then he fell into a silence that lasted till we entered my own gateway. Before we went to prepare for dinner he said to Mrs. Dalassenos, “I am told, Madam Mara, by my friend John that you and your husband have put up in exact order all things that have been, up to this moment.”
“Not up to this moment, Professor,” she said impulsively, “but up to this morning.”
“But why not up to now? We have seen hitherto how good light all the little things have made. We have told our secrets, and yet no one who has told is the worse for it.”
Mrs. Dalassenos began to blush, and taking a paper from her pockets, she said, “Dr. Von Habsburg, will you read this, and tell me if it must go in. It is my record of today. I too have seen the need of putting down at present everything, however trivial, but there is little in this except what is personal. Must it go in?”
The Professor read it over gravely, and handed it back, saying, “It need not go in if you do not wish it, but I pray that it may. It can but make your husband love you the more, and all us, your friends, more honor you, as well as more esteem and love.” She took it back with another blush and a bright smile.
And so now, up to this very hour, all the records we have are complete and in order. The Professor took away one copy to study after dinner, and before our meeting, which is fixed for nine o’clock. The rest of us have already read everything, so when we meet in the study we shall all be informed as to facts, and can arrange our plan of battle with this terrible and mysterious enemy.

Mara Dalassenos’s Journal
30 September, 1905

When we met in Dr. Stavridis’s study two hours after dinner, which had been at six o’clock, we unconsciously formed a sort of board or committee. Professor Von Habsburg took the head of the table, to which Dr. Stavridis motioned him as he came into the room. He made me sit next to him on his right, and asked me to act as secretary. Ioannes sat next to me. Opposite us were Senator Doukas, Dr. Stavridis, and Mr. Quintus, Senator Doukas being next the Professor, and Dr. Stavridis in the center.
The Professor said, “I may, I suppose, take it that we are all acquainted with the facts that are in these papers.” We all expressed assent, and he went on, “Then it were, I think, good that I tell you something of the kind of enemy with which we have to deal. I shall then make known to you something of the history of this man, which has been ascertained for me. So we then can discuss how we shall act, and can take our measure according.
“There are such beings as vampires, some of us have evidence that they exist. Even had we not the proof of our own unhappy experience, the teachings and the records of the past give proof enough for sane peoples. I admit that at the first I was sceptic. Were it not that through long years I have trained myself to keep an open mind, I could not have believed until such time as that fact thunder on my ear.`See! See! I prove, I prove.’ Alas! Had I known at first what now I know, nay, had I even guess at him, one so precious life had been spared to many of us who did love her. But that is gone, and we must so work, that other poor souls perish not, whilst we can save. The nosferatu do not die like the bee when he sting once. He is only stronger, and being stronger, have yet more power to work evil. This vampire which is amongst us is of himself so strong in person as twenty men, he is of cunning more than mortal, for his cunning be the growth of ages, he have still the aids of necromancy, which is, as his etymology imply, the divination by the dead, and all the dead that he can come nigh to are for him at command, he is brute, and more than brute, he is devil in callous, and the heart of him is not, he can, within his range, direct the elements, the storm, the fog, the thunder, he can command all the meaner things, the rat, and the owl, and the bat, the moth, and the fox, and the wolf, he can grow and become small, and he can at times vanish and come unknown. How then are we to begin our strike to destroy him? How shall we find his where, and having found it, how can we destroy? My friends, this is much, it is a terrible task that we undertake, and there may be consequence to make the brave shudder. For if we fail in this our fight he must surely win, and then where end we? Life is nothings, I heed him not. But to fail here, is not mere life or death. It is that we become as him, that we henceforward become foul things of the night like him, without heart or conscience, preying on the bodies and the souls of those we love best. To us forever are the gates of heaven shut, for who shall open them to us again? We go on for all time abhorred by all, a blot on the face of God’s sunshine, an arrow in the side of Him who died for man. But we are face to face with duty, and in such case must we shrink? For me, I say no, but then I am old, and life, with his sunshine, his fair places, his song of birds, his music and his love, lie far behind. You others are young. Some have seen sorrow, but there are fair days yet in store. What say you?”
Whilst he was speaking, Ioannes had taken my hand. I feared, oh so much, that the appalling nature of our danger was overcoming him when I saw his hand stretch out, but it was life to me to feel its touch, so strong, so self reliant, so resolute. A brave man’s hand can speak for itself, it does not even need a woman’s love to hear its music.
When the Professor had done speaking my husband looked in my eyes, and I in his, there was no need for speaking between us.
“I answer for Ioannes and myself,” I said.
“Count me in, Professor,” said Mr. Quintus, laconically as usual.
“I am with you,” said Senator Doukas, “For Loukia’s sake, if for no other reason.”
Dr. Stavridis simply nodded.
The Professor stood up and, after laying his golden crucifix on the table, held out his hand on either side. I took his right hand, and Senator Doukas his left, Ioannes held my right with his left and stretched across to Mr. Quintus. So as we all took hands our solemn compact was made. I felt my heart icy cold, but it did not even occur to me to draw back. We resumed our places, and Dr. Von Habsburg went on with a sort of cheerfulness which showed that the serious work had begun. It was to be taken as gravely, and in as businesslike a way, as any other transaction of life.
“Well, you know what we have to contend against, but we too, are not without strength. We have on our side power of combination, a power denied to the vampire kind, we have sources of science, we are free to act and think, and the hours of the day and the night are ours equally. In fact, so far as our powers extend, they are unfettered, and we are free to use them. We have self devotion in a cause and an end to achieve which is not a selfish one. These things are much.
“Now let us see how far the general powers arrayed against us are restrict, and how the individual cannot. In fine, let us consider the limitations of the vampire in general, and of this one in particular.
“All we have to go upon are traditions and superstitions. These do not at the first appear much, when the matter is one of life and death, nay of more than either life or death. Yet must we be satisfied, in the first place because we have to be, no other means is at our control, and secondly, because, after all these things, tradition and superstition, are everything. Does not the belief in vampires rest for others, though not, alas! for us, on them! A year ago which of us would have received such a possibility, in the midst of our scientific, sceptical, matter-of-fact nineteenth century? We even scouted a belief that we saw justified under our very eyes. Take it, then, that the vampire, and the belief in his limitations and his cure, rest for the moment on the same base. For, let me tell you, he is known everywhere that men have been. In old Greece, in the old Empire, he flourish in Germany all over, in Gallia, in India, even in the Chersonese, and in China, so far away across the world from us, there even is he, and the peoples fear him at this day. He have follow the wake of the berserker Icelander, the devil-begotten Hun, the Slav, the Saxon, the Magyar.
“So far, then, we have all we may act upon, and let me tell you that very much of the beliefs are justified by what we have seen in our own so unhappy experience. The vampire live on, and cannot die by mere passing of the time, he can flourish when that he can fatten on the blood of the living. Even more, we have seen amongst us that he can even grow younger, that his vital faculties grow strenuous, and seem as though they refresh themselves when his special pabulum is plenty.
“But he cannot flourish without this diet, he eat not as others. Even friend Ioannes, who lived with him for weeks, did never see him eat, never! He throws no shadow, he make in the mirror no reflect, as again Ioannes observe. He has the strength of many of his hand, witness again Ioannes when he shut the door against the wolves, and when he help him from the diligence too. He can transform himself to wolf, as we gather from the ship arrival in Golden Horn, when he tear open the dog, he can be as bat, as Madam Mara saw him on the window at Golden Horn, and as friend John saw him fly from this so near house, and as my friend Markos saw him at the window of Miss Loukia.
“He can come in mist which he create, that noble ship’s captain proved him of this, but, from what we know, the distance he can make this mist is limited, and it can only be round himself.
“He come on moonlight rays as elemental dust, as again Ioannes saw those sisters in the castle of Dracula. He become so small, we ourselves saw Miss Loukia, ere she was at peace, slip through a hairbreadth space at the tomb door. He can, when once he find his way, come out from anything or into anything, no matter how close it be bound or even fused up with fire, solder you call it. He can see in the dark, no small power this, in a world which is one half shut from the light. Ah, but hear me through.
“He can do all these things, yet he is not free. Nay, he is even more prisoner than the slave of the galley, than the madman in his cell. He cannot go where he lists, he who is not of nature has yet to obey some of nature’s laws, why we know not. He may not enter anywhere at the first, unless there be some one of the household who bid him to come, though afterwards he can come as he please. His power ceases, as does that of all evil things, at the coming of the day.
“Only at certain times can he have limited freedom. If he be not at the place whither he is bound, he can only change himself at noon or at exact sunrise or sunset. These things we are told, and in this record of ours we have proof by inference. Thus, whereas he can do as he will within his limit, when he have his earth-home, his coffin-home, his hellhome, the place unhallowed, as we saw when he went to the grave of the suicide at Golden Horn, still at other time he can only change when the time come. It is said, too, that he can only pass running water at the slack or the flood of the tide. Then there are things which so afflict him that he has no power, as the garlic that we know of, and as for things sacred, as this symbol, my crucifix, that was amongst us even now when we resolve, to them he is nothing, but in their presence he take his place far off and silent with respect. There are others, too, which I shall tell you of, lest in our seeking we may need them.
“The branch of wild rose on his coffin keep him that he move not from it, a sacred bullet fired into the coffin kill him so that he be true dead, and as for the stake through him, we know already of its peace, or the cut off head that giveth rest. We have seen it with our eyes.
“Thus when we find the habitation of this man-that-was, we can confine him to his coffin and destroy him, if we obey what we know. But he is clever. I have asked my friend Arminius, of Buda-Pesth University, to make his record, and from all the means that are, he tell me of what he has been. He must, indeed, have been that Voivode Dracula who reigned over Wallachia before the Empire rose from its ashes. If it be so, then was he no common man, for in that time, and for centuries after, he was spoken of as the cleverest and the most cunning, as well as the bravest of the sons of the `land beyond the forest.’ That mighty brain and that iron resolution went with him to his grave, and are even now arrayed against us. The Draculas were, says Arminius, a great and noble race, though now and again were scions who were held by their coevals to have had dealings with the Evil One. They learned his secrets in the Scholomance, amongst the mountains over Lake Hermanstadt, where the devil claims the tenth scholar as his due. In the records are such words as `stregoica’ witch, `ordog’ and `pokol’ Satan and hell, and in one manuscript this very Dracula is spoken of as `wampyr,’ which we all understand too well. There have been from the loins of this very one great men and good women, and their graves make sacred the earth where alone this foulness can dwell. For it is not the least of its terrors that this evil thing is rooted deep in all good, in soil barren of holy memories it cannot rest.”
Whilst they were talking Mr. Quintus was looking steadily at the window, and he now got up quietly, and went out of the room. There was a little pause, and then the Professor went on.
“And now we must settle what we do. We have here much data, and we must proceed to lay out our campaign. We know from the inquiry of Ioannes that from the castle to Golden Horn came fifty boxes of earth, all of which were delivered at Blachernae Districh, we also know that at least some of these boxes have been removed. It seems to me, that our first step should be to ascertain whether all the rest remain in the house beyond that wall where we look today, or whether any more have been removed. If the latter, we must trace . . .”
Here we were interrupted in a very startling way. Outside the house came the sound of a pistol shot, the glass of the window was shattered with a bullet, which ricochetting from the top of the embrasure, struck the far wall of the room. I am afraid I am at heart a coward, for I shrieked out. The men all jumped to their feet, Senator Doukas flew over to the window and threw up the sash. As he did so we heard Mr. Quintus’ voice without, “Sorry! I fear I have alarmed you. I shall come in and tell you about it.”
A minute later he came in and said, “It was an idiotic thing of me to do, and I ask your pardon, Mrs. Dalassenos, most sincerely, I fear I must have frightened you terribly. But the fact is that whilst the Professor was talking there came a big bat and sat on the window sill. I have got such a horror of the damned brutes from recent events that I cannot stand them, and I went out to have a shot, as I have been doing of late of evenings, whenever I have seen one. You used to laugh at me for it then, Mike.”
“Did you hit it?” asked Dr. Von Habsburg.
“I don’t know, I fancy not, for it flew away into the wood.” Without saying any more he took his seat, and the Professor began to resume his statement.
“We must trace each of these boxes, and when we are ready, we must either capture or kill this monster in his lair, or we must, so to speak, sterilize the earth, so that no more he can seek safety in it. Thus in the end we may find him in his form of man between the hours of noon and sunset, and so engage with him when he is at his most weak.
“And now for you, Madam Mara, this night is the end until all be well. You are too precious to us to have such risk. When we part tonight, you no more must question. We shall tell you all in good time. We are men and are able to bear, but you must be our star and our hope, and we shall act all the more free that you are not in the danger, such as we are.”
All the men, even Ioannes, seemed relieved, but it did not seem to me good that they should brave danger and, perhaps lessen their safety, strength being the best safety, through care of me, but their minds were made up, and though it was a bitter pill for me to swallow, I could say nothing, save to accept their chivalrous care of me.
Mr. Quintus resumed the discussion, “As there is no time to lose, I vote we have a look at his house right now. Time is everything with him, and swift action on our part may save another victim.”
I own that my heart began to fail me when the time for action came so close, but I did not say anything, for I had a greater fear that if I appeared as a drag or a hindrance to their work, they might even leave me out of their counsels altogether. They have now gone off to Blachernae, with means to get into the house.
Manlike, they had told me to go to bed and sleep, as if a woman can sleep when those she loves are in danger! I shall lie down, and pretend to sleep, lest Ioannes have added anxiety about me when he returns.

Dr. Stavridis’s Diary
1 October, 4 a. m.

Just as we were about to leave the house, an urgent message was brought to me from Renato to know if I would see him at once, as he had something of the utmost importance to say to me. I told the messenger to say that I would attend to his wishes in the morning, I was busy just at the moment.
The attendant added, “He seems very importunate, sir. I have never seen him so eager. I don’t know but what, if you don’t see him soon, he will have one of his violent fits.” I knew the man would not have said this without some cause, so I said, “All right, I’ll go now,” and I asked the others to wait a few minutes for me, as I had to go and see my patient.
“Take me with you, friend John,” said the Professor. “His case in your diary interest me much, and it had bearing, too, now and again on our case. I should much like to see him, and especial when his mind is disturbed.”
“May I come also?” asked Senator Doukas.
“Me too?” said Markos Quintus. “Can I come?” said Dalassenos. I nodded, and we all went down the passage together.
We found him in a state of considerable excitement, but far more rational in his speech and manner than I had ever seen him. There was an unusual understanding of himself, which was unlike anything I had ever met with in a lunatic, and he took it for granted that his reasons would prevail with others entirely sane. We all five went into the room, but none of the others at first said anything. His request was that I would at once release him from the asylum and send him home. This he backed up with arguments regarding his complete recovery, and adduced his own existing sanity.
“I appeal to your friends,” he said, “they will, perhaps, not mind sitting in judgement on my case. By the way, you have not introduced me.”
I was so much astonished, that the oddness of introducing a madman in an asylum did not strike me at the moment, and besides, there was a certain dignity in the man’s manner, so much of the habit of equality, that I at once made the introduction, “Senator Doukas, Professor Von Habsburg, Mr. Markos Quintus of Oceania, Sir Ioannes Dalassenos, Mr. Renato.”
He shook hands with each of them, saying in turn, “Senator Doukas, I had the honor of seconding your father at the Senate. I grieve to know, by your holding the title, that he is no more. He was a man loved and honored by all who knew him, and in his youth was, I have heard, the defender of the Senate during the Cult’s attack. Mr. Quintus, you should be proud of your great continent. Its reception into the Empire was a precedent which may have farreaching effects hereafter, when the Pole and the Tropics may hold alliance to the Eagle and Fasces. The power of Treaty may yet prove a vast engine of enlargement. What shall any man say of his pleasure at meeting Von Habsburg? Sir, I make no apology for dropping all forms of conventional prefix. When an individual has revolutionized therapeutics by his discovery of the continuous evolution of brain matter, conventional forms are unfitting, since they would seem to limit him to one of a class. You, gentlemen, who by nationality, by heredity, or by the possession of natural gifts, are fitted to hold your respective places in the moving world, I take to witness that I am as sane as at least the majority of men who are in full possession of their liberties. And I am sure that you, Dr. Stavridis, humanitarian and medico-jurist as well as scientist, will deem it a moral duty to deal with me as one to be considered as under exceptional circumstances.” He made this last appeal with a courtly air of conviction which was not without its own charm.
I think we were all staggered. For my own part, I was under the conviction, despite my knowledge of the man’s character and history, that his reason had been restored, and I felt under a strong impulse to tell him that I was satisfied as to his sanity, and would see about the necessary formalities for his release in the morning. I thought it better to wait, however, before making so grave a statement, for of old I knew the sudden changes to which this particular patient was liable. So I contented myself with making a general statement that he appeared to be improving very rapidly, that I would have a longer chat with him in the morning, and would then see what I could do in the direction of meeting his wishes.
This did not at all satisfy him, for he said quickly, “But I fear, Dr. Stavridis, that you hardly apprehend my wish. I desire to go at once, here, now, this very hour, this very moment, if I may. Time presses, and in our implied agreement with the old scytheman it is of the essence of the contract. I am sure it is only necessary to put before so admirable a practitioner as Dr. Stavridis so simple, yet so momentous a wish, to ensure its fulfilment.”
He looked at me keenly, and seeing the negative in my face, turned to the others, and scrutinized them closely. Not meeting any sufficient response, he went on, “Is it possible that I have erred in my supposition?”
“You have,” I said frankly, but at the same time, as I felt, brutally.
There was a considerable pause, and then he said slowly, “Then I suppose I must only shift my ground of request. Let me ask for this concession, boon, privilege, what you will. I am content to implore in such a case, not on personal grounds, but for the sake of others. I am not at liberty to give you the whole of my reasons, but you may, I assure you, take it from me that they are good ones, sound and unselfish, and spring from the highest sense of duty.
“Could you look, sir, into my heart, you would approve to the full the sentiments which animate me. Nay, more, you would count me amongst the best and truest of your friends.”
Again he looked at us all keenly. I had a growing conviction that this sudden change of his entire intellectual method was but yet another phase of his madness, and so determined to let him go on a little longer, knowing from experience that he would, like all lunatics, give himself away in the end. Von Habsburg was gazing at him with a look of utmost intensity, his bushy eyebrows almost meeting with the fixed concentration of his look. He said to Renato in a tone which did not surprise me at the time, but only when I thought of it afterwards, for it was as of one addressing an equal, “Can you not tell frankly your real reason for wishing to be free tonight? I will undertake that if you will satisfy even me, a stranger, without prejudice, and with the habit of keeping an open mind, Dr. Stavridis will give you, at his own risk and on his own responsibility, the privilege you seek.”
He shook his head sadly, and with a look of poignant regret on his face. The Professor went on, “Come, sir, bethink yourself. You claim the privilege of reason in the highest degree, since you seek to impress us with your complete reasonableness. You do this, whose sanity we have reason to doubt, since you are not yet released from medical treatment for this very defect. If you will not help us in our effort to choose the wisest course, how can we perform the duty which you yourself put upon us? Be wise, and help us, and if we can we shall aid you to achieve your wish.”
He still shook his head as he said, “Dr. Von Habsburg, I have nothing to say. Your argument is complete, and if I were free to speak I should not hesitate a moment, but I am not my own master in the matter. I can only ask you to trust me. If I am refused, the responsibility does not rest with me.”
I thought it was now time to end the scene, which was becoming too comically grave, so I went towards the door, simply saying, “Come, my friends, we have work to do. Goodnight.”
As, however, I got near the door, a new change came over the patient. He moved towards me so quickly that for the moment I feared that he was about to make another homicidal attack. My fears, however, were groundless, for he held up his two hands imploringly, and made his petition in a moving manner. As he saw that the very excess of his emotion was militating against him, by restoring us more to our old relations, he became still more demonstrative. I glanced at Von Habsburg, and saw my conviction reflected in his eyes, so I became a little more fixed in my manner, if not more stern, and motioned to him that his efforts were unavailing. I had previously seen something of the same constantly growing excitement in him when he had to make some request of which at the time he had thought much, such for instance, as when he wanted a cat, and I was prepared to see the collapse into the same sullen acquiescence on this occasion.
My expectation was not realized, for when he found that his appeal would not be successful, he got into quite a frantic condition. He threw himself on his knees, and held up his hands, wringing them in plaintive supplication, and poured forth a torrent of entreaty, with the tears rolling down his cheeks, and his whole face and form expressive of the deepest emotion.
“Let me entreat you, Dr. Stavridis, oh, let me implore you, to let me out of this house at once. Send me away how you will and where you will, send keepers with me with whips and chains, let them take me in a strait waistcoat, manacled and leg-ironed, even to gaol, but let me go out of this. You don’t know what you do by keeping me here. I am speaking from the depths of my heart, of my very soul. You don’t know whom you wrong, or how, and I may not tell. Woe is me! I may not tell. By all you hold sacred, by all you hold dear, by your love that is lost, by your hope that lives, for the sake of the Almighty, take me out of this and save my soul from guilt! Can’t you hear me, man? Can’t you understand? Will you never learn? Don’t you know that I am sane and earnest now, that I am no lunatic in a mad fit, but a sane man fighting for his soul? Oh, hear me! Hear me! Let me go, let me go, let me go!”
I thought that the longer this went on the wilder he would get, and so would bring on a fit, so I took him by the hand and raised him up.
“Come,” I said sternly, “no more of this, we have had quite enough already. Get to your bed and try to behave more discreetly.”
He suddenly stopped and looked at me intently for several moments. Then, without a word, he rose and moving over, sat down on the side of the bed. The collapse had come, as on former occasions, just as I had expected.
When I was leaving the room, last of our party, he said to me in a quiet, well-bred voice, “You will, I trust, Dr. Stavridis, do me the justice to bear in mind, later on, that I did what I could to convince you tonight.”

Be warned who you call a snake. Traitors and dissidents like you encourage rebellion against the rightful empress. Do not reveal yourself to be the hypocrite we all know you are! My party promises to be the salvation of the empire and you seek to crush us. Radical, militant communists will not be tolerated in our party.

-Senator Christophoros Palaiologos

We began Our reign by continue the process of expanding the Empire’s defenses and naval capabilities. Likewise, We invested heavily into industry.

Thus, when the latest psychological research had been properly organized, We asked leading industrial groups to design effective electrical furnaces, which had the potential to double the production of coal and iron in the Empire. This might end shortages forever.

In the rest of the world, Germany accepted a peace with Scandinavia. Not only did they seize Sjaelland, they forced an independent nation of Finland to be established.

Later in the year, we again had several victorious athletes at the Olympic games.

And in December, the typical communist revolt erupted.

In January 1902, Our attempts to justify claims on Iraq’s colonies was discovered. By May We were able to declare war on them to reclaim the Santa Cruz islands. I. Legio rapidly seized Mosul and Iraq surrendered the islands.

By July, the electric furnaces were ready for production. We then asked the legions to study how modern fortifications might be infiltrated, and to develop offensive and defensive capabilities accordingly.

In December, the previously inconsequential city of Olivewood became the center of a growing cinema industry.

Once the legions had devised these notions, We asked Senator Theodosio to develop a training program for the non-commissioned officers of the legions. Meanwhile, We began a program of upgrading the border defenses.

In May of 1903, Jacobin rebels rose up. They were put down within the month.

In September, Communists rose up again. They were defeated in early October. We decided to attempt to mollify the communists by creating trade unions for workers to better negotiate with factory owners.

In November, one of Our steamers exploded while in an English port. It was clearly an act of sabotage, and We demanded recompense. When it didn’t come, We declared war on England. They were soon joined by Castile, Adal, and Biru.

We were less prepared than We had thought. In West Africa, XXXII. Legio and XXXIV. Legio were completely wiped out. We took the opportunity to recruit several more legions in the area.

Senator Theodosio’s training plan came just time during the war, leading to immediate improvements in the Legions’ fighting abilities. We asked him to then work with Senator Palaiologos to procure better armaments for the Legions.

Meanwhile, XIX. Legio was given access through Ethiopia and marched to Adal. They soon convinced Adal to agree to peace. XXV. Legio left Rome on transports and seized the Azores, which convinced Castile to stop fighting. At the same time, the Guyana Fleet and Red Sea Fleet defeated the greater parts of the English and Adal navies. Both fleets lost a cruiser, but sunk dozens of enemy ships in return.

In Africa, XVII. Legio and XXXI. Legio traveled from Tunis and Madrid to smash the English armies, and were aided by Sokoto and the UTA in doing so. XXV. Legio traveled from the Azores and began occupying English territory while the new armies, not yet titled, reclaimed the Imperial lands England had occupied.

In Guyana, XV. Legio had some initial successes, but was soon overwhelmed by sheer numbers and forced to retreat from the mainland. All of Guyana was occupied, as were Trinidad and Tobago. But the Guyana fleet finally won its long engagement with the English navy and trapped the English army on Trinidad. XV. Legio regained Tobago and recovered its strength.

It was at this time that Jacobins chose to rise up, and in greater numbers than the communists ever had. This looked to be the worst rebellion since the Particularist revolt of the early 17th century.

Every legion was thrown into battle. Fortunately, while the rebels were numerous, they were neither well trained nor well equipped. But the English army holding Trinidad was. The attempt to dislodge them failed miserably, and XV. Legio returned to Tobago.

By mid-September, the legions had won numerous victories. Many provinces were free or nearly free from rebel occupation, while the ones being overrun merely waited for the legions to arrive. But then a reactionary revolution arose.

Even still, every day there were reports of several battles won. But there were also reports of cities and regions lost. The legions could not be everywhere at once. Australia had been strategically ignored in favor of New Zealand, for instance. Whether or not that contributed to the Australian Nationalist revolt is unknown. And in the end they will soon be defeated and Australia stabilized, so the importance of what led to that revolt is limited.

The new rifles secured by Senators Theodosio and Palaiologos gave the legions an even greater edge. They immediately set about securing long range artillery.

Progress was slow but steady. By mid-October sub-Saharan Africa was completely free from rebel influences. Shortly thereafter, the Levant was also freed. By late November, Iberia was peaceful. New Zealand was pacified in early December, Egypt in late December.

1905 saw the rapid growth of dedicated radio networks. We began the regulation of the various frequencies that could be used.

The rebellion was nearly defeated everywhere but Australia by this point. In January, Anatolia, Armenia, Caucasia, and France completely freed from rebel influence, and many other areas freed of all rebel armies. In February, every area outside England, Wales, Macedonia, and Australia was freed, and there were no rebel armies but in Australia. In March, every area outside England and Australia was freed. While there was a little mopping up left to do, the rebellion was now over.

While the rest of the legions recovered and more legions were recruited, XV. Legio brought the war back to England. It recovered Tobago and Trinidad, then seized a beachhead in Guyana. When England refused to attack, they eventually grew impatient and attacked the English armies in Curiappo. But again, English armies were overwhelming and XV. Legio was forced to retreat.

Shortly after that, the legions received their new artillery, and We tasked Senator Theodosio with setting policies that would allow the legions to do their work free of political meddling. Senator Theodosio also introduced a new kind of vehicle for breaking through enemy fortifications. We immediately began building several factories to produce these in quantity.

At the end of July, a party calling themselves the Varangian Guard had formed, wishing for the Empire to be strong above all others.

XXV. Legio traveled from Rome to South America, and along with XV. Legio dealt an English army a strong defeat. They began capturing English territory. It is unlikely that England will last for much longer.

Olivewood…never heard of that town before.
I would like to request a map of the current rebel activities and progress in the war, as my copies were apparently burned when Konstantinians and Jacobins simultaneously stormed my headquarters in Thessaloniki.  What I am wondering is why Konstantinians and Jacobins, who oppose each other in every way and ideology, would work together against the government.  Seriously, why?!
Before anybody claims that the Ministry of Security was incompetent in preventing the two rebellions from breaking out, I would like to announce that an in-depth investigation of the entire Ministry and Secret Police, myself included, has begun after allegations reached my desk of possible traitors, rebel sympathizers, informants, and potential Cultists within the Ministry hampering its activities.  Reports have surfaced of Secret Police officers and Ministry officers defecting to rebel organizations, and I intend to hunt them down and prosecute them to the fullest of the law.
There has been no word from Germany or Hungary on the status of Markos Angelos.

-Senator Doukas

These rebels are becoming quite a burden on the empire.  Either we need to find the root cause for their desire to rebel, whether dissatisfaction in life or even foreign support, or we need to find ways to keep people appeased and content.  They nearly damaged our war effort!

Talking pictures?  The ability to transmit messages across the great distances?  These wonders will never cease.

– Senator Raphael Favero

Introducing Julius Marco, born in Rome on june 27, 1887.
Born in a wealthy family, he was a devoted historian, mainly in the militaristic side of things, and is also a huge fan of “alternate history”, often creating whole words and timelines with his imagination. Being married in March to Sarah Dystoki and finally, in a drunken pronouncement, he said
“Blast it Gabriel! (BFF of Julius) Im married to the best woman a man can ask for, I have a good house and a kind family, and yet I am not in the forum, discussing with the mighty and majestic people that run this empire ideas to improve it! Because of my cowardice, I missed the chance to talk with Empress Veronica, God Bless Her, and could have provided for the common people rights and luxury! SCREW IT, IM JOINING THE SENATE, AND THERE IS NOT A DAMN THING THATS GOING TO STOP ME!”
He promply filed an entry and was allowed in.
And thus began the career of Julius Marcos, on July 31, 1905.

The first day:
“Im so excited! My little boy is joining the senate!”
“Relax mom, I’m just joining the senate! And thats way in Constantinople!”
“Just be glad that nice girl Sarah is coming with you, her dad was quite the angry goth.”
“Im proud of you boyo.”
“Thanks dad.”
Gabriel: SURPRISE!
“What the?”
“Didn’t think you were gonna leave me here now were you, and did you really think I was gonna leave you and Sarah alone to have the sexy times?”
“Got my stuff ready to go! The carriage is outside!” We should be there by 4:00!” ((Time is 5:00 in the morning))
“Bye mom, bye dad,”
“We’ll miss you! And give Raphel Favero those cookies I made!”

Enters the carriage

“Hey yourself, cutie.”
“*Giggles* Why thank you my good sir,”
” Alright lovebirds, Im going to rant about how stupid beards are to the driver, and for the love of god DO NOT have fun, if you know what I mean.”


5:00, Constantinople
Well, this is it. *walks up the stairs*
This is your first day, Julius, LETS DO THIS!
Julius confidently opens up the door, and strolls down the corridor, and walks up to some senators.
“Hi there! Im julius Marco…”

Michael Doukas turns and sees the newcomer.

Well, I wasn’t expecting new senators at this time, but welcome!  I am Michael Doukas, Minister of Security, Doux of Greece, Governor of Palestine, creator of the Secret Police, etc.  I hope you serve the Empire well (and join the Foederatoi)!

Hello there senator Michael! Thank you for your kindness, although I would prefer not to join the Foederatoi right now, Im still mulling over. Im leaning towards Fascism, but not extremely, I just like the military policy, and so far the economy policy is not too shabby, but don’t expect me to go round yelling about “Aryan races” or stuff like that, I will just be a light Fascist.
That reminds me, I must finish the 1933 year in my WW2 scenario…

-Senator Marco

I urge you to choose your allegiances carefully.  And what is this “1933 year in WW2 scenario?”  Is this some sort of future prediction of yours?

-Senator Doukas

Join the Varangian Guard, Julius. We shall accommodate you to the best of our abilities and make this Empire great!

– Senator Palaiologos

Alexios Angelos, a senator in his mid-30s and from a Greek aristocratic family so old they’d probably claim to have been dining with Justinian, greets Julius Marco with a polite smile.

“Another Latin senator, I see.  Good to meet you.  Raphael Favero and I represent the leading lights of Patrikioi, those senators with the oldest and noblest of blood.  Pay no attention to the fascist in the corner: he is in a minority and thus feels he needs to shout to make up for it.”

Also, beware of the communist from Britannia, he is like the fascist Palaiologos.  We in the Foederatoi represent both the old and new nobility, accepting the most talented men into our ranks so that we can work together and benefit the Empire, not run it into the ground like some want to do.

-Senator Doukas

To Micheal: Relax my friend, I am just a fan of the notion of ‘alternate history’ taking points that happened in our timeline and diverging or changing it.

To Palaiolgos:I said, I haven’t made up my mind yet! I like varagian, but the empire is already mighty. Im just afraid of the military failing, as well the economy, it gives me nightmares remembering what happened last time…

Again Mcheal, I may be torn, but I DESPISE communists. I have made extensive readings on the human psyche, and I am afraid that I have come to the conclusion that the the psyche of most humans prevents a decent concept into working decently.

-Senator Marco

My fellow Senators,

I have been spending my time trying to control the rage of all the various Communist factions within our great Empire during this conflict with the English, it is a pity that our fellows throughout the senate were unable to control their own followers.

My Emperor would it be possible for myself to manage the board of the State Trades Union, the General Confederation of Imperial Workers? I feel that our party would be best suited to speak to the common man.

I am glad that our military is now superior to any in the world, but I would like to see our brightest minds focus on the plight of the poorest in our society.

– Senator Gael

Interesting…alternative ways that history could have turned out?  Like, for example, the Empire never having been restored and dying a slow and painful death at the hands of Venetians, Turks, and other barbarians?  Ha!  Good thing that didn’t happen, or the world would be worse off.  Anyways, the point is that history went the way that it did, and while it is nice to reflect on hypotheticals and come to appreciate the significance of certain events in history I don’t see any further value in it.  You are welcome to share your thoughts with me anytime, though.  But let’s focus on more pressing issues.
Markos Angelos is still at large, and I intend to hunt him until he is brought to justice.  However, I cannot do this without the cooperation of the Ministry of Security, which has been corrupted by cultists and Konstantinian sympathizers.  The investigation into the Ministry of Security is ongoing, but it will take time.  Therefore, I strongly urge the Ministry of Intelligence to be careful and increase its vigilance, as it could potentially be similarly compromised.  If it is clean of any subversive elements, though, I ask for its assistance in conducting the search for Angelos.  The traitor must be found and brought to justice.


“What if the Basilissa’s many uncles had had living sons, such that she had not needed to take the throne?  What if her predecessor Andronikos had not been mad?  So many conclusions can be predicated on so few changes.”

-Senator Angleos

“What if we are in a game as characters played by higher powers for their own amusement and our reality is nothing but a fiction?”  No, that would be bordering on philosophy, and I’ll leave that to the Department of Philosophy to handle.

-Senator Doukas

I would hardly consider Venetians barbarians, and I quite take offence to that, for they are part of the Italian people and thus brothers to the Greeks.  The two have forged a bond several millennia old, a mutual bond that has benefited us all, and without the Italian people there would be no Rome.

– Senator Raphael Favero

That is exactly why I said that.  The Venetians are not barbarians, so any attempt by them to destroy the Empire would be foolish and any story revolving around them doing so would be plain rubbish, as Venetians are absolutely not the enemy of the Empire!  Pardon me if I offended you.

-Senator Doukas

Your use of other barbarians implied that both the Venetians and Turks were considered part of that group.  I must apologize for I am very defensive of my people.  While the Greeks have held the legacy of Rome close and led it to glory, some seem to forget that’s its birthplace is still in Italy and thus they diminish the accomplishment of the Italian people.

– Senator Raphael Favero

Speaking of italians, why is Rome not our capital?
Rome is where this empire began. Rome is the place many great leaders refer to as the ‘Infinite city’. The papacy was given rome, for what other city besides Constantinople could the, back then mighty, leader of the catholic church reside? The ostrogoths and lombards even made Rome the capital of their barbarous nations!
So why, oh why is Rome not the capital?

-Senator Marco

My grandfather asked this question in the Senate Session of 1854, or sometime around them, just before the Cult revealed itself to the world in the 5/9 attacks.  Well, Constantinople is the Queen of Cities, the largest and most populous city in Europe, and while we are the Roman Empire, it just symbolizes our origins.  Rome is not practical as a capital, as it is harder to defend than Constantinople, less populous, farther from the centers of trade in Constantinople, and the Patriarch of Rome would be quite annoyed if he was kicked out of the Vatican.  Also, it makes no sense to move our capital when all of us and our government have resided here for centuries.  A move to Rome would cause increased instability.

Also, has anybody heard of this book called “Ton Agóna Mou,” supposedly written by Konstantinos?  It appears that some fascists are using it as inspiration.

-Senator Doukas

oh… I never thought of that…. Thanks for answering that though, you have solved a burning question in my head that was there for 9 years.

“Ton Agona Mou”? Never heard of it, I will go to the market and see if its on sale.

-Senator Marco

I have returned, and yet it is not there. Some of the shopkeepers don’t even know what it is.
Maybe the book is in the black market?

-Senator Marco

That is because I as Minister of Security have just yesterday issued an order for the book’s recall until it is reviewed by the Ministry and deemed acceptable for republication, as complaints have arisen that it spreads “subversive ideas” as it is written by Konstantinos.

-Senator Doukas

Clever idea. I would like to read it, It would be interesting to see the mindset of a man such as he.

-Senator Marco

Once the review of the book is completed and it is cleared for republication, I will make sure to give you a copy.

-Senator Doukas

Thank you my good man.

-Senator Marco

“Censoring books?  Really?  Are we now to be like our western cousins in the Latin Rite?  By censoring the written word, you censor the thoughts of man and that is not our remit as senators.  We should be focussed on impressing upon all the might of Rome and let others aspire to our ancient and venerable culture, rather than poring over texts like some miserable scribe, eager to cross out a naughty child’s errors.

“Besides which, even if you really do think this to be simply a matter of proper education, that is still not the remit of the Ministry of Security, but instead the Ministry of Education, who are presumably more than capable of handling their own duties.”

-Senator Angelos

Some books Alexios should not exist. How would you feel if a book came out saying your family were descendants of the devil?
And this book does prove a threat from security because I have heard from Micheal about the books ‘subversive ideas’. What if this book found its way into our youth? They would be influenced in extremist ways, and may even resort to fanatical actions for Konstantinos.
*spits on ground*
So tell me, do you believe this book must be allowed to roam free?
-Senator marco

“Quite apart from the clear ludicrousness of my family name being associated with descent from the Devil, one can always bring legal action against the publishers oreven duel the author.  After all, is there not an old saying – never believe anything in politics until it has been officially denied?”

-Senator Angelos

Isn’t the purpose of the Ministry of Security to maintain national security, while the Ministry of Education is to handle textbooks and what to teach children?  In any case, this book is NOT meant for children and is DEFINITELY not a textbook.  I believe the Ministry of Education would agree with me when I say it must be pulled from publication immediately; I’ve also obtained the necessary forms from the Ministry of Education allowing me to issue this order.  It promotes hateful and dangerous ideas, among others the overthrow of the Empress and our new Emperor, the disbanding of the Senate, and a dangerous foreign policy calling for the deaths of minorities and non-Greeks.  In the hands of a learned individual, it is useless.  But give it to a man who had the misfortune of not having as good of an education…Anyways, I have brought a copy here to analyze and to justify my actions.

He takes out a rather old copy of the book.

This is the original book–my brother’s diary.  I had to go through a lot to find it and secure it.  Somebody stole this book from Konstantinos’s estate before it was burned down and is now publishing it.  I’ve read it myself.  You have no idea how dangerous are the ideas inside this book, inside my brother’s mind.  I can’t say them out loud.  The point is, this is more of a matter of security than education.  This book teaches people to hate and to kill.  Do you want your sons and brothers to read this book and be converted into Konstantinians?  Given to the public, it would cause untold instability and provoke the Konstantinians to revolt again.  We just barely put down the last one.  Imagine what a rebellion larger than that could do.  And imagine what this book could do to our reputation.  We, as the most civilized nation, would be seen as the most barbaric in the hate this book spreads.  This is the sort of rhetoric that leads to war, and not just any war, a global one, one possibly too large for the Empire to survive.  I will not let that happen on my watch.  So I have resolved to keep this book out of the public’s reach for its and our own good for now.  There is no other option until the reviewing process is over and the book is stripped of subversive elements for good.

But why publish it now?  Why not publish it immediately after the rebellion?  Something doesn’t seem right here.  There must be a reason the book is only being published now.

-Senator Doukas

“The sooner we eliminate minorities and ‘non-Greeks’ the better.  Whilst people insist on regional differences and adherences to local customs above those of the Empire as a whole, such differences can be exploited in such a fashion.  Panhellenism should be the highest goal of this senate.

“Besides, if that book calls for the overthrow of Imperial authority, then acting upon it is clearly treasonable and should be punished as such.  If we already have sufficient legal grounds to ban the book and arrest anyone espousing its philosophies, that is all that needs be done.  Saying that the book is worth reading if its treasonous content were simply to be removed is a nonsense and will simply confuse the poor unenlightened masses that you claim are vulnerable to the book in the first place.”

-Senator Angelos

Then I have nothing more to say.  The ban on this book shall be extended indefinitely.  I will have nobody reading these treasonous ideas!

-Senator Doukas

“That of course includes us, senator.  We can’t be exempted from not reading treasonous material simply because we get to debate whether it should be censored or not.”

-Senator Angelos

Well, I haven’t touched the book ever since we started this lovely discussion.  You can see that it’s been pushed to the corner of my desk and placed under a lot of papers.  This is the original copy; it may yet offer the Ministry of Security clues into the Konstantinians’ motives and activities as well as help in the hunt for Angelos.
But after we find Angelos, this book is to be locked away somewhere in my mansion.

-Senator Doukas

EXCUSE ME!?!?!?!

-Senator Marco

“Something of such great importance should not be entrusted to a single senator.  I would move that the book be presented to the Basileus and allow him to decide what is done with it.  The Imperial family are whom we supposed to be protecting after all.”

“Did you not hear me say that the insistence on certain groups within the Empire not considering themselves to be Greek is harming Imperial unity and leading to just these problems we are experiencing at large?  There should in theory be little difference between a Greek-speaking nobleman from Rome and the same from Oceania, yet this is not so and is what is harming our great empire abroad.”

-Senator Angelos

Pardon me Alexios, I thought you actually meant that. I did not hear your speech abut the minorities, sorry.

Hmm, this is actually a good idea. The first real test for the Basileus.

-Senator Marco

We do not like to interject into the Senators’ discussions, but We agree that this book should be repressed. We, like Empress Veronica before us, believe in the free exchange of ideas within the Empire. It is part of what has made us so strong over the last seventy years. But there are some ideas that are dangerous, and it sounds as if this book is full of them. It is important that ideas of these sorts be contained, and that those who are too interested in them are known and stopped from dangerous action. Likewise, it would be best for Us to hold the book once the investigation is complete. Our family is quite experienced at containing dangerous items.

-Emperor Konstantinos

Very well then, Your Imperial Majesty, I shall hand over this book to you then at once.  It may have been my brother’s, but it will be much safer in the possession of the Imperial Household.

Michael presents the book to the Emperor for him to keep safe.

Thank god that is over.
What now? It appear that most of the problems are over.
Perhaps strategy for taking care of the russians and overviews of our Ming ally. I’m a sucker for china.

-Senator Marco

The Emperor takes the book without glancing at it, but being careful to keep it closed.

Thank you Senator Doukas. We trust you will discover and destroy any other copies. As well, make sure to track who is distributing copies and why. Though We hardly need to tell you how to do your job.

Senator Marco, We have never understood why so many fear Russia. They have only been concerned with Siberia for the last sixty years, ever since they took Karelia and Kola from Scandinavia and the Empire freed Ukraine and parts of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth from their grip. They maintain no claims to the west, and have been quite restrained in Central Asia, despite the aggression of Khiva against its neighbors. We do not believe there is any reason to fear Russia.

Ming has remained stable, but for the Japanese occupation of Shandong. They claim parts of Manchuria currently owned by Japan and Russia, and there may be future wars over these claims. They had been bypassed by the world at large, but they are rapidly modernizing. They are considered a Great Power, largely due to their large military, which is rapidly expanding.

At this time, We would like to review the various government appointments. These are the planned appointments, but if any Senator would wish a different appointment, We would ask them to speak now. As well, We would prefer to hear the preferences of any Senators who do not yet have an appointment before blindly assigning them one. And We would prefer Senators be assigned as the Minister of Intelligence, The Minister of Education, and the Chief of Staff instead of again needing to assign  petty bureaucrats to those roles.

Foreign minister – Senator Favero
Armament minister – Senator Palaiologos
Minister of security – Senator Doukas
Minister of intelligence –
Minister of Education –
Chief of Staff –
Chief of the Army – Senator Theodosio
Chief of the Navy – Senator Smithereens

Regions for Governors:
(North) Africa –
Armenia –
Asia –
Britannia –
Dalmatia – Heraclius Komnenos
Egypt –
Macedonia – Senator Angelos
Naples – Senator Septiadis
Palestine – Senator Doukas
Raetia – Senator Comminus
Sicily – Senator Smithereens
Syria –
Thracia – Prince Konstantios

Aquitaine (Aquitaine) –
Australia (Greek) –
Azerbaijan (Azerbaijani) –
Belgium (Flemish/Walloon) –
Brittany (Breton) – Senator Gael
Burgundy (Burgundian) –
Catalonia (Andalucian) –
France (Cosmopotitaine) –
Italy (Italian) – Senator Favero
Java (Javan) –
New Zealand (Greek) –
Philippines (Filipino) – Senator Nguyen-Climaco
South Africa (Greek) –
Spain (Castilian/Andalusian) – Senator Theodosio
Wales (Welsh) –

I would like to be governor of britannia. The island has always fascinated me, especially its post-roman history, and it would be nice to be able to do something for quality of living, though I doubt the threat the scottish barbarians propose. Yes, Britannia seems like a nice, calm province to be governor of.
May I be allowed governorship of Brittania my Basileus?

-Senator Marco

“Sebasto Basilia, I ask that House Angelos be honoured by my selection as Minister of Education, so that we might spread proper Greek education and culture to the farthest reaches of the Empire and let even the poor natives of Okeania, Afrika and Kanata learn the teachings of Plato, Euclid and Justinian.”

-Senator Angelos

I am content with my current postings.  I do not desire them to change at this point.


Senator Marco, it seems Our records were in error. The Palaiologos family has long been governors of Britannia, and thus they will continue to be so. If you have no objection, We will instead assign you as governor of Wales for now. We have no doubt you will still find the people interesting.

These are thus the final appointments:

Foreign minister – Senator Favero
Armament minister –
Minister of security – Senator Doukas
Minister of intelligence -Senator Palaiologos
Minister of Education – Senator Angelos
Chief of Staff –
Chief of the Army – Senator Theodosio
Chief of the Navy – Senator Smithereens

Regions for Governors:
(North) Africa –
Armenia –
Asia –
Britannia – Senator Palaiologoi
Dalmatia – Senator Komnenos
Egypt –
Macedonia – Senator Angelos
Naples – Senator Septiadis
Palestine – Senator Doukas
Raetia – Senator Comminus
Sicily – Senator Smithereens
Syria –
Thracia – Prince Konstantios

Aquitaine (Aquitaine) –
Australia (Greek) –
Azerbaijan (Azerbaijani) –
Belgium (Flemish/Walloon) –
Brittany (Breton) – Senator Gael
Burgundy (Burgundian) –
Catalonia (Andalucian) –
France (Cosmopotitaine) –
Italy (Italian) – Senator Favero
Java (Javan) –
New Zealand (Greek) –
Philippines (Filipino) – Senator Nguyen-Climaco
South Africa (Greek) –
Spain (Castilian/Andalusian) – Senator Theodosio
Wales (Welsh) – Senator Marcos

As always Senators, thank you for your time. This session is now closed.


(Some pages have been torn out of the journal.  Much information, except that of the last chapter, has been removed and destroyed, but it is assumed that at some point Dracula attacked Mara and fled back to Carpathia, pursued by Doukas and friends.)
Mara Dalassenos’s Journal
1 November.  Somewhere in Carpathia.

All day long we have travelled, and at a good speed. The horses seem to know that they are being kindly treated, for they go willingly their full stage at best speed. We have now had so many changes and find the same thing so constantly that we are encouraged to think that the journey will be an easy one. Dr. von Habsburg is laconic, he tells the farmers that he is hurrying to Bistritz, and pays them well to make the exchange of horses. We get hot soup, or coffee, or tea, and off we go. It is a lovely country. Full of beauties of all imaginable kinds, and the people are brave, and strong, and simple, and seem full of nice qualities. They are very, very superstitious. In the first house where we stopped, when the woman who served us saw the scar on my forehead, she crossed herself and put out two fingers towards me, to keep off the evil eye. I believe they went to the trouble of putting an extra amount of garlic into our food, and I can’t abide garlic. Ever since then I have taken care not to take off my hat or veil, and so have escaped their suspicions. We are travelling fast, and as we have no driver with us to carry tales, we go ahead of scandal. But I daresay that fear of the evil eye will follow hard behind us all the way. The Professor seems tireless. All day he would not take any rest, though he made me sleep for a long spell. At sunset time he hypnotized me, and he says I answered as usual, “darkness, lapping water and creaking wood.” So our enemy is still on the river. I am afraid to think of Ioannes, but somehow I have now no fear for him, or for myself. I write this whilst we wait in a farmhouse for the horses to be ready. Dr. Von Habsburg is sleeping. Poor dear, he looks very tired and old and grey, but his mouth is set as firmly as a conqueror’s. Even in his sleep he is intense with resolution. When we have well started I must make him rest whilst I drive. I shall tell him that we have days before us, and he must not break down when most of all his strength will be needed . . . All is ready. We are off shortly.

2 November, morning.

I was successful, and we took turns driving all night. Now the day is on us, bright though cold. There is a strange heaviness in the air. I say heaviness for want of a better word. I mean that it oppresses us both. It is very cold, and only our warm furs keep us comfortable. At dawn Van Helsing hypnotized me. He says I answered “darkness, creaking wood and roaring water,” so the river is changing as they ascend. I do hope that my darling will not run any chance of danger, more than need be, but we are in God’s hands.
2 November, night.–All day long driving. The country gets wilder as we go, and the great spurs of the Carpathians, which at Veresti seemed so far from us and so low on the horizon, now seem to gather round us and tower in front. We both seem in good spirits. I think we make an effort each to cheer the other, in the doing so we cheer ourselves. Dr. Von Habsburg says that by morning we shall reach the Borgo Pass. The houses are very few here now, and the Professor says that the last horse we got will have to go on with us, as we may not be able to change. He got two in addition to the two we changed, so that now we have a rude four-in-hand. The dear horses are patient and good, and they give us no trouble. We are not worried with other travellers, and so even I can drive. We shall get to the Pass in daylight. We do not want to arrive before. So we take it easy, and have each a long rest in turn. Oh, what will tomorrow bring to us? We go to seek the place where my poor darling suffered so much. God grant that we may be guided aright, and that He will deign to watch over my husband and those dear to us both, and who are in such deadly peril. As for me, I am not worthy in His sight. Alas! I am unclean to His eyes, and shall be until He may deign to let me stand forth in His sight as one of those who have not incurred His wrath.

Memorandum by Albrecht von Habsburg
4 November.

This to my old and true friend John Stavridis, M. D., of Blachernae District, Constantinople, in case I may not see him. It may explain. It is morning, and I write by a fire which all the night I have kept alive, Frau Mara aiding me. It is cold, cold. So cold that the grey heavy sky is full of snow, which when it falls will settle for all winter as the ground is hardening to receive it. It seems to have affected Frau Mara. She has been so heavy of head all day that she was not like herself. She sleeps, and sleeps, and sleeps! She who is usual so alert, have done literally nothing all the day. She even have lost her appetite. She make no entry into her little diary, she who write so faithful at every pause. Something whisper to me that all is not well. However, tonight she is more vif. Her long sleep all day have refresh and restore her, for now she is all sweet and bright as ever. At sunset I try to hypnotize her, but alas! with no effect. The power has grown less and less with each day, and tonight it fail me altogether. Well, God’s will be done, whatever it may be, and whithersoever it may lead!
Now to the historical, for as Frau Mara write not in her stenography, I must, in my cumbrous old fashion, that so each day of us may not go unrecorded.
We got to the Borgo Pass just after sunrise yesterday morning. When I saw the signs of the dawn I got ready for the hypnotism. We stopped our carriage, and got down so that there might be no disturbance. I made a couch with furs, and Mara, lying down, yield herself as usual, but more slow and more short time than ever, to the hypnotic sleep. As before, came the answer, “darkness and the swirling of water.” Then she woke, bright and radiant and we go on our way and soon reach the Pass. At this time and place, she become all on fire with zeal. Some new guiding power be in her manifested, for she point to a road and say, “This is the way.”
“How know you it?” I ask.
“Of course I know it,’ she answer, and with a pause, add, “Have not my Ioannes travelled it and wrote of his travel when he and his Lancers came through?”
At first I think somewhat strange, but soon I see that there be only one such byroad. It is used but little, and very different from the coach road, which is more wide and hard, and more of use.
So we came down this road. When we meet other ways, not always were we sure that they were roads at all, for they be neglect and light snow have fallen, the horses know and they only. I give rein to them, and they go on so patient. By and by we find all the things which Ioannes have note in that wonderful diary of him. Then we go on for long, long hours and hours. At the first, I tell Mara to sleep. She try, and she succeed. She sleep all the time, till at the last, I feel myself to suspicious grow, and attempt to wake her. But she sleep on, and I may not wake her though I try. I do not wish to try too hard lest I harm her. For I know that she have suffer much, and sleep at times be all-in-all to her. I think I drowse myself, for all of sudden I feel guilt, as though I have done something. I find myself bolt up, with the reins in my hand, and the good horses go along jog, jog, just as ever. I look down and find Mara still asleep. It is now not far off sunset time, and over the snow the light of the sun flow in big yellow flood, so that we throw great long shadow on where the mountain rise so steep. For we are going up, and up, and all is oh, so wild and rocky, as though it were the end of the world.
Then I arouse Mara. This time she wake with not much trouble, and then I try to put her to hypnotic sleep. But she sleep not, being as though I were not. Still I try and try, till all at once I find her and myself in dark, so I look round, and find that the sun have gone down. Mara laugh, and I turn and look at her. She is now quite awake, and look so well as I never saw her since that night at Golden Horn when we first enter the Count’s house. I am amaze, and not at ease then. But she is so bright and tender and thoughtful for me that I forget all fear. I light a fire, for we have brought supply of wood with us, and she prepare food while I undo the horses and set them, tethered in shelter, to feed. Then when I return to the fire she have my supper ready. I go to help her, but she smile, and tell me that she have eat already. That she was so hungry that she would not wait. I like it not, and I have grave doubts. But I fear to affright her, and so I am silent of it. She help me and I eat alone, and then we wrap in fur and lie beside the fire, and I tell her to sleep while I watch. But presently I forget all of watching. And when I sudden remember that I watch, I find her lying quiet, but awake, and looking at me with so bright eyes. Once, twice more the same occur, and I get much sleep till before morning. When I wake I try to hypnotize her, but alas! Though she shut her eyes obedient, she may not sleep. The sun rise up, and up, and up, and then sleep come to her too late, but so heavy that she will not wake. I have to lift her up, and place her sleeping in the carriage when I have harnessed the horses and made all ready. Madam still sleep, and she look in her sleep more healthy and more redder than before. And I like it not. And I am afraid, afraid, afraid! I am afraid of all things, even to think but I must go on my way. The stake we play for is life and death, or more than these, and we must not flinch.

5 November, morning.

Let me be accurate in everything, for though you and I have seen some strange things together, you may at the first think that I, Von Habsburg, am mad. That the many horrors and the so long strain on nerves has at the last turn my brain.
All yesterday we travel, always getting closer to the mountains, and moving into a more and more wild and desert land. There are great, frowning precipices and much falling water, and Nature seem to have held sometime her carnival. Mara still sleep and sleep. And though I did have hunger and appeased it, I could not waken her, even for food. I began to fear that the fatal spell of the place was upon her, tainted as she is with that Vampire baptism. “Well,” said I to myself, “if it be that she sleep all the day, it shall also be that I do not sleep at night.” As we travel on the rough road, for a road of an ancient and imperfect kind there was, I held down my head and slept.
Again I waked with a sense of guilt and of time passed, and found Mara still sleeping, and the sun low down. But all was indeed changed. The frowning mountains seemed further away, and we were near the top of a steep rising hill, on summit of which was such a castle as Ioannes tell of in his diary. At once I exulted and feared. For now, for good or ill, the end was near.
I woke Mara, and again tried to hypnotize her, but alas! unavailing till too late. Then, ere the great dark came upon us, for even after down sun the heavens reflected the gone sun on the snow, and all was for a time in a great twilight. I took out the horses and fed them in what shelter I could. Then I make a fire, and near it I make Mara, now awake and more charming than ever, sit comfortable amid her rugs. I got ready food, but she would not eat, simply saying that she had not hunger. I did not press her, knowing her unavailingness. But I myself eat, for I must needs now be strong for all. Then, with the fear on me of what might be, I drew a ring so big for her comfort, round where Mara sat. And over the ring I passed some of the wafer, and I broke it fine so that all was well guarded. She sat still all the time, so still as one dead. And she grew whiter and even whiter till the snow was not more pale, and no word she said. But when I drew near, she clung to me, and I could know that the poor soul shook her from head to feet with a tremor that was pain to feel.
I said to her presently, when she had grown more quiet, “Will you not come over to the fire?” for I wished to make a test of what she could. She rose obedient, but when she have made a step she stopped, and stood as one stricken.
“Why not go on?” I asked. She shook her head, and coming back, sat down in her place. Then, looking at me with open eyes, as of one waked from sleep, she said simply, “I cannot!” and remained silent. I rejoiced, for I knew that what she could not, none of those that we dreaded could. Though there might be danger to her body, yet her soul was safe!
Presently the horses began to scream, and tore at their tethers till I came to them and quieted them. When they did feel my hands on them, they whinnied low as in joy, and licked at my hands and were quiet for a time. Many times through the night did I come to them, till it arrive to the cold hour when all nature is at lowest, and every time my coming was with quiet of them. In the cold hour the fire began to die, and I was about stepping forth to replenish it, for now the snow came in flying sweeps and with it a chill mist. Even in the dark there was a light of some kind, as there ever is over snow, and it seemed as though the snow flurries and the wreaths of mist took shape as of women with trailing garments. All was in dead, grim silence only that the horses whinnied and cowered, as if in terror of the worst. I began to fear, horrible fears. But then came to me the sense of safety in that ring wherein I stood. I began too, to think that my imaginings were of the night, and the gloom, and the unrest that I have gone through, and all the terrible anxiety. It was as though my memories of all Ioannes’s horrid experience were befooling me. For the snow flakes and the mist began to wheel and circle round, till I could get as though a shadowy glimpse of those women that would have kissed him. And then the horses cowered lower and lower, and moaned in terror as men do in pain. Even the madness of fright was not to them, so that they could break away. I feared for my dear Mara when these weird figures drew near and circled round. I looked at her, but she sat calm, and smiled at me. When I would have stepped to the fire to replenish it, she caught me and held me back, and whispered, like a voice that one hears in a dream, so low it was.
“No! No! Do not go without. Here you are safe!”
I turned to her, and looking in her eyes said, “But you? It is for you that I fear!”
Whereat she laughed, a laugh low and unreal, and said, “Fear for me! Why fear for me? None safer in all the world from them than I am,” and as I wondered at the meaning of her words, a puff of wind made the flame leap up, and I see the red scar on her forehead. Then, alas! I knew. Did I not, I would soon have learned, for the wheeling figures of mist and snow came closer, but keeping ever without the Holy circle. Then they began to materialize till, if God have not taken away my reason, for I saw it through my eyes. There were before me in actual flesh the same three women that Ioannes saw in the room, when they would have kissed his throat. I knew the swaying round forms, the bright hard eyes, the white teeth, the ruddy color, the voluptuous lips. They smiled ever at poor dear Mara. And as their laugh came through the silence of the night, they twined their arms and pointed to her, and said in those so sweet tingling tones that Ioannes said were of the intolerable sweetness of the water glasses, “Come, sister. Come to us. Come!”
In fear I turned to my poor Mara, and my heart with gladness leapt like flame. For oh! the terror in her sweet eyes, the repulsion, the horror, told a story to my heart that was all of hope. God be thanked she was not, yet of them. I seized some of the firewood which was by me, and holding out some of the Wafer, advanced on them towards the fire. They drew back before me, and laughed their low horrid laugh. I fed the fire, and feared them not. For I knew that we were safe within the ring, which she could not leave no more than they could enter. The horses had ceased to moan, and lay still on the ground. The snow fell on them softly, and they grew whiter. I knew that there was for the poor beasts no more of terror.
And so we remained till the red of the dawn began to fall through the snow gloom. I was desolate and afraid, and full of woe and terror. But when that beautiful sun began to climb the horizon life was to me again. At the first coming of the dawn the horrid figures melted in the whirling mist and snow. The wreaths of transparent gloom moved away towards the castle, and were lost.
Instinctively, with the dawn coming, I turned to Mara, intending to hypnotize her. But she lay in a deep and sudden sleep, from which I could not wake her. I tried to hypnotize through her sleep, but she made no response, none at all, and the day broke. I fear yet to stir. I have made my fire and have seen the horses, they are all dead. Today I have much to do here, and I keep waiting till the sun is up high. For there may be places where I must go, where that sunlight, though snow and mist obscure it, will be to me a safety.
I will strengthen me with breakfast, and then I will do my terrible work. Mara still sleeps, and God be thanked! She is calm in her sleep . . .

Ioannes Dalassenos’s Journal
4 November, evening.

The accident to the launch has been a terrible thing for us. Only for it we should have overtaken the boat long ago, and by now my dear Mina would have been free. I fear to think of her, off on the wolds near that horrid place. We have got horses, and we follow on the track. I note this whilst Godalming is getting ready. We have our arms. The Szgany must look out if they mean to fight. Oh, if only Quintus and Stavridis were with us. We must only hope! If I write no more Goodby Mara! God bless and keep you.

Dr. Stavridis’s Diary
5 November.

With the dawn we saw the body of Szgany before us dashing away from the river with their leiter wagon. They surrounded it in a cluster, and hurried along as though beset. The snow is falling lightly and there is a strange excitement in the air. It may be our own feelings, but the depression is strange. Far off I hear the howling of wolves. The snow brings them down from the mountains, and there are dangers to all of us, and from all sides. The horses are nearly ready, and we are soon off. We ride to death of some one. God alone knows who, or where, or what, or when, or how it may be . . .

Dr. von Habsburg’s Memorandum
5 November, afternoon.

I am at least sane. Thank God for that mercy at all events, though the proving it has been dreadful. When I left Mara sleeping within the Holy circle, I took my way to the castle. The blacksmith hammer which I took in the carriage from Veresti was useful, though the doors were all open I broke them off the rusty hinges, lest some ill intent or ill chance should close them, so that being entered I might not get out. Ioannes’s bitter experience served me here. By memory of his diary I found my way to the old chapel, for I knew that here my work lay. The air was oppressive. It seemed as if there was some sulphurous fume, which at times made me dizzy. Either there was a roaring in my ears or I heard afar off the howl of wolves. Then I bethought me of my dear Mara, and I was in terrible plight. The dilemma had me between his horns.
Her, I had not dare to take into this place, but left safe from the Vampire in that Holy circle. And yet even there would be the wolf! I resolve me that my work lay here, and that as to the wolves we must submit, if it were God’s will. At any rate it was only death and freedom beyond. So did I choose for her. Had it but been for myself the choice had been easy, the maw of the wolf were better to rest in than the grave of the Vampire! So I make my choice to go on with my work.
I knew that there were at least three graves to find, graves that are inhabit. So I search, and search, and I find one of them. She lay in her Vampire sleep, so full of life and voluptuous beauty that I shudder as though I have come to do murder. Ah, I doubt not that in the old time, when such things were, many a man who set forth to do such a task as mine, found at the last his heart fail him, and then his nerve. So he delay, and delay, and delay, till the mere beauty and the fascination of the wanton Undead have hypnotize him. And he remain on and on, till sunset come, and the Vampire sleep be over. Then the beautiful eyes of the fair woman open and look love, and the voluptuous mouth present to a kiss, and the man is weak. And there remain one more victim in the Vampire fold. One more to swell the grim and grisly ranks of the Undead! . . .
There is some fascination, surely, when I am moved by the mere presence of such an one, even lying as she lay in a tomb fretted with age and heavy with the dust of centuries, though there be that horrid odor such as the lairs of the Count have had. Yes, I was moved. I, Von Habsburg, with all my purpose and with my motive for hate. I was moved to a yearning for delay which seemed to paralyze my faculties and to clog my very soul. It may have been that the need of natural sleep, and the strange oppression of the air were beginning to overcome me. Certain it was that I was lapsing into sleep, the open eyed sleep of one who yields to a sweet fascination, when there came through the snow-stilled air a long, low wail, so full of woe and pity that it woke me like the sound of a clarion. For it was the voice of my dear Madam Mina that I heard.
Then I braced myself again to my horrid task, and found by wrenching away tomb tops one other of the sisters, the other dark one. I dared not pause to look on her as I had on her sister, lest once more I should begin to be enthrall. But I go on searching until, presently, I find in a high great tomb as if made to one much beloved that other fair sister which, like Jonathan I had seen to gather herself out of the atoms of the mist. She was so fair to look on, so radiantly beautiful, so exquisitely voluptuous, that the very instinct of man in me, which calls some of my sex to love and to protect one of hers, made my head whirl with new emotion. But God be thanked, that soul wail of my dear Mara had not died out of my ears. And, before the spell could be wrought further upon me, I had nerved myself to my wild work. By this time I had searched all the tombs in the chapel, so far as I could tell. And as there had been only three of these Undead phantoms around us in the night, I took it that there were no more of active Undead existent. There was one great tomb more lordly than all the rest. Huge it was, and nobly proportioned. On it was but one word.
This then was the Undead home of the King Vampire, to whom so many more were due. Its emptiness spoke eloquent to make certain what I knew. Before I began to restore these women to their dead selves through my awful work, I laid in Dracula’s tomb some of the Wafer, and so banished him from it, Undead, for ever.
Then began my terrible task, and I dreaded it. Had it been but one, it had been easy, comparative. But three! To begin twice more after I had been through a deed of horror. For it was terrible with the sweet Frau Loukia, what would it not be with these strange ones who had survived through centuries, and who had been strengthened by the passing of the years. Who would, if they could, have fought for their foul lives . . .
Oh, my friend John, but it was butcher work. Had I not been nerved by thoughts of other dead, and of the living over whom hung such a pall of fear, I could not have gone on. I tremble and tremble even yet, though till all was over, God be thanked, my nerve did stand. Had I not seen the repose in the first place, and the gladness that stole over it just ere the final dissolution came, as realization that the soul had been won, I could not have gone further with my butchery. I could not have endured the horrid screeching as the stake drove home, the plunging of writhing form, and lips of bloody foam. I should have fled in terror and left my work undone. But it is over! And the poor souls, I can pity them now and weep, as I think of them placid each in her full sleep of death for a short moment ere fading. For, friend John, hardly had my knife severed the head of each, before the whole body began to melt away and crumble into its native dust, as though the death that should have come centuries agone had at last assert himself and say at once and loud, “I am here!”
Before I left the castle I so fixed its entrances that never more can the Count enter there Undead.
When I stepped into the circle where Mara slept, she woke from her sleep and, seeing me, cried out in pain that I had endured too much.
“Come!” she said, “come away from this awful place! Let us go to meet my husband who is, I know, coming towards us.” She was looking thin and pale and weak. But her eyes were pure and glowed with fervor. I was glad to see her paleness and her illness, for my mind was full of the fresh horror of that ruddy vampire sleep.
And so with trust and hope, and yet full of fear, we go eastward to meet our friends, and him, whom Madam Mina tell me that she know are coming to meet us.

Mara Dalassenos’s Journal
6 November.

It was late in the afternoon when the Professor and I took our way towards the east whence I knew Ioannes was coming. We did not go fast, though the way was steeply downhill, for we had to take heavy rugs and wraps with us. We dared not face the possibility of being left without warmth in the cold and the snow. We had to take some of our provisions too, for we were in a perfect desolation, and so far as we could see through the snowfall, there was not even the sign of habitation. When we had gone about a mile, I was tired with the heavy walking and sat down to rest. Then we looked back and saw where the clear line of Dracula’s castle cut the sky. For we were so deep under the hill whereon it was set that the angle of perspective of the Carpathian mountains was far below it. We saw it in all its grandeur, perched a thousand feet on the summit of a sheer precipice, and with seemingly a great gap between it and the steep of the adjacent mountain on any side. There was something wild and uncanny about the place. We could hear the distant howling of wolves. They were far off, but the sound, even though coming muffled through the deadening snowfall, was full of terror. I knew from the way Dr. Von Habsburg was searching about that he was trying to seek some strategic point, where we would be less exposed in case of attack. The rough roadway still led downwards. We could trace it through the drifted snow.
In a little while the Professor signalled to me, so I got up and joined him. He had found a wonderful spot, a sort of natural hollow in a rock, with an entrance like a doorway between two boulders. He took me by the hand and drew me in.
“Zee!” he said, “here du vill be in shelter. Und if zhe volves do komm ich kann meet zhem eine by eine.”
He brought in our furs, and made a snug nest for me, and got out some provisions and forced them upon me. But I could not eat, to even try to do so was repulsive to me, and much as I would have liked to please him, I could not bring myself to the attempt. He looked very sad, but did not reproach me. Taking his field glasses from the case, he stood on the top of the rock, and began to search the horizon.
Suddenly he called out, “Look! Frau Mara, look! Look!”
I sprang up and stood beside him on the rock. He handed me his glasses and pointed. The snow was now falling more heavily, and swirled about fiercely, for a high wind was beginning to blow. However, there were times when there were pauses between the snow flurries and I could see a long way round. From the height where we were it was possible to see a great distance. And far off, beyond the white waste of snow, I could see the river lying like a black ribbon in kinks and curls as it wound its way. Straight in front of us and not far off, in fact so near that I wondered we had not noticed before, came a group of mounted men hurrying along. In the midst of them was a cart, a long leiter wagon which swept from side to side, like a dog’s tail wagging, with each stern inequality of the road. Outlined against the snow as they were, I could see from the men’s clothes that they were peasants or gypsies of some kind.
On the cart was a great square chest. My heart leaped as I saw it, for I felt that the end was coming. The evening was now drawing close, and well I knew that at sunset the Thing, which was till then imprisoned there, would take new freedom and could in any of many forms elude pursuit. In fear I turned to the Professor. To my consternation, however, he was not there. An instant later, I saw him below me. Round the rock he had drawn a circle, such as we had found shelter in last night.
When he had completed it he stood beside me again saying, “At least du shall be safe here from him!” He took the glasses from me, and at the next lull of the snow swept the whole space below us. “Zee,” he said, “zhey komm quickly. Zhey are flogging zhe horses, und galloping as hard as zhey kann.”
He paused and went on in a hollow voice, “They are racing for the sunset. We may be too late. God’s will be done!” Down came another blinding rush of driving snow, and the whole landscape was blotted out. It soon passed, however, and once more his glasses were fixed on the plain.
Then came a sudden cry, “Look! Look! Look! See, two horsemen follow fast, coming up from the south. It must be Markos and John. Take the glass. Look before the snow blots it all out!” I took it and looked. The two men might be Dr. Stavridis and Mr. Quintus.  I knew at all events that neither of them was Ioannes. At the same time I knew that Ioannes was not far off. Looking around I saw on the north side of the coming party two other men, riding at breakneck speed. One of them I knew was Ioannes, wearing his uniform, and the other I took, of course, to be Senator Doukas. They too, were pursuing the party with the cart. When I told the Professor he shouted in glee like a schoolboy, and after looking intently till a snow fall made sight impossible, he laid his Blachernae rifle ready for use against the boulder at the opening of our shelter.
“Zhey are all converging,” he said. “Vhen zhe time komms ve shall have gypsies on all sides.” I got out my revolver ready to hand, for whilst we were speaking the howling of wolves came louder and closer. When the snow storm abated a moment we looked again. It was strange to see the snow falling in such heavy flakes close to us, and beyond, the sun shining more and more brightly as it sank down towards the far mountain tops. Sweeping the glass all around us I could see here and there dots moving singly and in twos and threes and larger numbers. The wolves were gathering for their prey.
Every instant seemed an age whilst we waited. The wind came now in fierce bursts, and the snow was driven with fury as it swept upon us in circling eddies. At times we could not see an arm’s length before us. But at others, as the hollow sounding wind swept by us, it seemed to clear the air space around us so that we could see afar off. We had of late been so accustomed to watch for sunrise and sunset, that we knew with fair accuracy when it would be. And we knew that before long the sun would set. It was hard to believe that by our watches it was less than an hour that we waited in that rocky shelter before the various bodies began to converge close upon us. The wind came now with fiercer and more bitter sweeps, and more steadily from the north. It seemingly had driven the snow clouds from us, for with only occasional bursts, the snow fell. We could distinguish clearly the individuals of each party, the pursued and the pursuers. Strangely enough those pursued did not seem to realize, or at least to care, that they were pursued. They seemed, however, to hasten with redoubled speed as the sun dropped lower and lower on the mountain tops.
Closer and closer they drew. The Professor and I crouched down behind our rock, and held our weapons ready. I could see that he was determined that they should not pass. One and all were quite unaware of our presence.
All at once two voices shouted out to, “Halt!” One was my Ioannes’s, raised in a high key of passion. The other Mr. Quintus’ strong resolute tone of quiet command. The gypsies may not have known the language, but there was no mistaking the tone, in whatever tongue the words were spoken. Instinctively they reined in, and at the instant Senator Doukas and Ioannes dashed up at one side and Dr. Stavridis and Mr. Quintus on the other. The leader of the gypsies, a splendid looking fellow who sat his horse like a centaur, waved them back, and in a fierce voice gave to his companions some word to proceed. They lashed the horses which sprang forward. But the four men raised their Blachernae rifles, and in an unmistakable way commanded them to stop. At the same moment Dr. Von Habsburg and I rose behind the rock and pointed our weapons at them. Seeing that they were surrounded the men tightened their reins and drew up. The leader turned to them and gave a word at which every man of the gypsy party drew what weapon he carried, knife or pistol, and held himself in readiness to attack. Issue was joined in an instant.
The leader, with a quick movement of his rein, threw his horse out in front, and pointed first to the sun, now close down on the hill tops, and then to the castle, said something which I did not understand. For answer, all four men of our party threw themselves from their horses and dashed towards the cart. I should have felt terrible fear at seeing Ioannes in such danger, but that the ardor of battle must have been upon me as well as the rest of them. I felt no fear, but only a wild, surging desire to do something. Seeing the quick movement of our parties, the leader of the gypsies gave a command. His men instantly formed round the cart in a sort of undisciplined endeavor, each one shouldering and pushing the other in his eagerness to carry out the order.
In the midst of this I could see that Ioannes on one side of the ring of men, and Markos on the other, were forcing a way to the cart. It was evident that they were bent on finishing their task before the sun should set. Nothing seemed to stop or even to hinder them. Neither the levelled weapons nor the flashing knives of the gypsies in front, nor the howling of the wolves behind, appeared to even attract their attention. Ioannes’s impetuosity, and the manifest singleness of his purpose, seemed to overawe those in front of him. Instinctively they cowered aside and let him pass. In an instant he had jumped upon the cart, and with a strength which seemed incredible, raised the great box, and flung it over the wheel to the ground. In the meantime, Mr. Quintus had had to use force to pass through his side of the ring of Szgany, but he was stabbed and forced to retreat, dropping his knife. All the time I had been breathlessly watching Ioannes I had, with the tail of my eye, seen him pressing desperately forward, and had seen the knives of the gypsies flash as he won a way through them, and they cut at him. Markos had parried with his great bowie knife, and at first I thought that he too had come through in safety. But as he sprang beside Ioannes, who had by now jumped from the cart, I could see that with his left hand he was clutching at his side, and that the blood was spurting through his fingers.  Though he did not delay in spite of this, I stepped in to help him.  While he, with desperate energy, attacked one end of the chest, attempting to prize off the lid with his great Kukri knife, I attacked the other frantically with his dropped Cherokee knife. Under our efforts the lid began to yield. The nails drew with a screeching sound, and the top of the box was thrown back.
By this time the gypsies, seeing themselves covered by the Blachernaes, and at the mercy of Senator Doukas and Dr. Stavridis, had given in and made no further resistance. The sun was almost down on the mountain tops, and the shadows of the whole group fell upon the snow. I saw the Count lying within the box upon the earth, some of which the rude falling from the cart had scattered over him. He was deathly pale, just like a waxen image, and the red eyes glared with the horrible vindictive look which I knew so well.
As I looked, the eyes saw the sinking sun, and the look of hate in them turned to triumph.
But, on the instant, came the sweep and flash of Jonathan’s great knife. I shrieked as I saw it shear through the throat. Whilst at the same moment my bowie knife plunged into the heart and Doukas fired a bullet into his head, his talented aim not failing him now.
It was like a miracle, but before our very eyes, and almost in the drawing of a breath, the whole body crumbled into dust and passed from our sight.
I shall be glad as long as I live that even in that moment of final dissolution, there was in the face a look of peace, such as I never could have imagined might have rested there.
The Castle of Dracula now stood out against the red sky, and every stone of its broken battlements was articulated against the light of the setting sun.
The gypsies, taking us as in some way the cause of the extraordinary disappearance of the dead man, turned, without a word, and rode away as if for their lives. Those who were unmounted jumped upon the leiter wagon and shouted to the horsemen not to desert them. The wolves, which had withdrawn to a safe distance, followed in their wake, leaving us alone.
Mr. Quintus, who had sunk to the ground, leaned on his elbow, holding his hand pressed to his side. The blood still gushed through his fingers. I flew to him, for the Holy circle did not now keep me back, so did the two doctors. Ioannes knelt behind him and the wounded man laid back his head on his shoulder. With a sigh he took, with a feeble effort, my hand in that of his own which was unstained.
He must have seen the anguish of my heart in my face, for he smiled at me and said, “I am only too happy to have been of service! Oh, God!” he cried suddenly, struggling to a sitting posture and pointing to me. “It was worth for this to die! Look! Look!”
The sun was now right down upon the mountain top, and the red gleams fell upon my face, so that it was bathed in rosy light. With one impulse the men sank on their knees and a deep and earnest “Amen” broke from all as their eyes followed the pointing of his finger.
The dying man spoke, “Now God be thanked that all has not been in vain! See! The snow is not more stainless than her forehead! The curse has passed away!”
And, to our bitter grief, with a smile and in silence, he died, a gallant gentleman and a brave Roman.

[NUMBER TORN OUT] years ago we all went through the flames. And the happiness of some of us since then is, we think, well worth the pain we endured. It is an added joy to Mara and to me that our boy’s birthday is the same day as that on which Markos Quintus died. His mother holds, I know, the secret belief that some of our brave friend’s spirit has passed into him. His bundle of names links all our little band of men together. We just call him Markos.
In the summer of this year we made a journey to Carpathia, and went over the old ground which was, and is, to us so full of vivid and terrible memories. It was almost impossible to believe that the things which we had seen with our own eyes and heard with our own ears were living truths. Every trace of all that had been was blotted out. The castle stood as before, reared high above a waste of desolation.
When we got home we were talking of the old time, which we could all look back on without despair, for Doukas and Stavridis are both happily married, and in Doukas’s case remarried; the Senator seems to have overcome the deaths of his father, mother, and wife by now.  He seems quite full of energy again, just as he was before his brother’s rebellion. I took the papers from the safe where they had been ever since our return so long ago. We were struck with the fact, that in all the mass of material of which the record is composed, there is hardly one authentic document. Nothing but a mass of typewriting, except the later notebooks of Mara and Stavridis and myself, and Von Habsburg’s memorandum. We could hardly ask any one, even did we wish to, to accept these as proofs of so wild a story. Von Habsburg summed it all up as he said, with our boy on his knee and Doukas’s son Niketas, slightly older than Markos, listening nearby.
“Ve vant nicht proofs. Ve ask none zo believe us! Zhis kinder vill some day know vhat a brave und gallant voman his mother ist. Already he knows her sweetness und loving care. Later on he vill understand how some men so loved her, zhat zhey did dare much fur her sake.

((Also private – time for more exposition on the Cult!))

Meanwhile in Samarkand…

Kira closed her eyes as the bitter, sweet-sour taste of the bhang lassi slid into her mouth. Her body recognized it, like a sudden dryness in the throat and tongue that increased even as she drank. Yogurt and ice water, sugar… and hemp resin and poppy juice and things less common. Slowly, she set the silver cup down on the rock beside her and sat on the flat cushion, cross-legged, with each foot resting sole up on the opposite knee, her hands resting on her thighs with index finger touching thumb. Breath and heartbeat slowed, matching the thudding of a distant drum.

“See. See the Path.” Ignatieff’s voice boomed out like a brazen radong-trumpet, echoing on stone and down the corridors that burrowed more deeply into the earth. “Tell. Tell us the Path.”

Her master spoke Hindi for the benefit of the men who knelt ranked before her. It was damp and chilly in the chambers beneath the ancient temple; great roots wove through the stone of the walls, writhing like snakes. Voices chanted in the background, a deep rumble that echoed off stone like the flickering light of the ghee-fed lamps that cast yellow highlights. It made the faint, faded images painted on the walls seem to move of themselves, whirling around the great room in a sinuous dance.

The drug was not needful, for ordinary purposes—for sensing where a patrol would turn, or what would come of taking one pass and not the next. When she slept, eventually, she would pay for the drink in a torrent of unasked, unsought vision. For the present, it opened the gates of the mind, letting the trained will range farther, and faster.

Her eyelids drooped over the blue-rimmed green of her eyes. Lips opened. Sight blurred, but not as an ordinary woman’s might. Here the outlines shifted as she saw the if; this man might be here, or there, might lean forward or sit straight. He might not be here at all, or might be slightly different… now she saw Ignatieff with eyes of the same color and no patch, now with a steel hook in the place of a hand. Now an Ignatieff who did not command, but smiled a reptile’s smile, while she answered with the same expression… that one was very bad, and she wrenched her mind away.

“See! Speak!”

Might-be frayed out in either direction, to pasts and futures, being and not-being all at once. A future in which buildings stood impossibly tall, sheathed in mirror; one in which nothing lived save insects and grass and only shaped stones remained of humanity; one present in which dark soldiers with strange, powerful weapons and crawling metal fortresses fought here in the wilds of Central Asia.

“I see… I see .. .”

Forward, a part of the fan of might-be collapsed into a knot. She recognized it.  The nations of the world going up in flames as men and their machines fought each other, killed each other, large guns lobbing projectiles farther than she had ever seen before, ships sailing underwater, flying machines dropping bombs on cities, large behemoths trudging across desolate trench-scarred landscapes impervious to bullets, death and destruction everywhere.  The rivers ran red with blood, the buildings were reduced to jagged hunks of charred rubble, and large mushroom-shaped clouds loomed over the ruins of devastated cities all over the world.  And then…a thing twisting in space, its dark pitted bulk rolling ponderous against the stars—there was no reference point to show its size, but she sensed a hugeness about it, an utter cold, a metallic tang as of iron. Like a mountain of frozen steel, falling from forever. Then a blue curve marked with the shapes of continents beneath drifting cloud; a flash of fire, night darker than night, a blizzard that blew ice like swords over seas frozen from pole to pole, a last emaciated body crouching in a ruin gnawing at a human skull.

“It comes… closer.” The fingers of her mind stroked the webs of might-be and if. “The one slain. His death brings it closer.” A small brown man’s hands, reaching for a bag that twisted in the air. “Closer. But the—”

She stifled a shriek. “Their faces! I see their faces!” A man and a woman’s much alike. Young.  The man wearing a Roman military uniform and carrying the seal of the Doukas family, the woman sitting at a strange typing device.  Then another man, a Venetian, descended from the Artist, and many other men dressed in senatorial garb.  Then the emperor himself, greeting people as his car moved down a street.

“They are the ones! With them dead, death comes!”

A murmur went through the watching men, and their eyes glittered like wolves watching around a campfire at the edge of sight. Their clothes were of many kinds—saffron yellow robes and caste marks, hairy jackets, silk—but their eyes were the same.

“Kali Yuga!” one whispered. The others took it up with a hissing sibilance. “Kali Yuga! Kali Yuga! Kali Yuga!”

Kali Yuga: Age of Darkness. The dance of the death goddess; the triumph of Ignatieff’s Peacock Angel.  The triumph of Chernobog, the Black God.

My Emperor, I request reassignment to the Minister of Intelligence. Under my command, the military has grown so well- equipped and there is nothing left to do. I wish to become Minister of Intelligence to better serve this empire.
-Senator Christophoros Palaiologos

My emperor! I have received information from a loyal informant about the return of the Cult! The Minister of Intelligence is more important than ever, I promise to be the most competent and capable Minister of Intelligence this Empire has ever seen and finally root out the Cult!
-Senator Christophoros Palaiologos

Thank you my emperor, for giving me governship of wales. I shall do my best to improve it.
what is this Senator palaiogos? The return of the cult? I thought we wiped out those bastards!

-Senator Marco

Senator Palaiologos,

Thank you for bringing up the matter of the Cult.  The Ministry of Security has already identified potential Cult strongholds in central Africa and is coordinating a plan with the Ministry of War to destroy them as we speak.  We will take down the Cult at all costs.

~Senator Doukas

Why would the cult choose africa? Yes we wouldnt really expect it to go THERE of all places but it has little population centres except in Aegyptus and carthage.

-Senator Marco

Do you remember the time when the Cult abducted my grandfather and my father had to go rescue him?  That was about fifty years ago, but the Cult chose Africa because it is the place we least expect them to go to and also because it is hard to reach.  I don’t know why they’re still there because we’ve made it much easier to reach with our colonies.  They likely have abandoned their old strongholds and spread out through the countryside in small cells, trying to play on local tribes’ fears of Christian missionaries to gain their support.  It’s nothing a little education and administrative reform can’t fix, though.
Also, on your point about few population centers, I am afraid you are a bit wrong on that.  There are sizeable population centers in Central Africa like in the Congo.  Central Africa is also close to East and West Africa, home to native cities like Benin City and Great Zimbabwe.  They can easily reach our other colonies as well and then retreat back into the wilderness, and our legions would have a hard time trying to pursue them.

-Senator Doukas

The Cult has managed to establish bases around the world Senator Doukas, it will take more than localized conflict in Africa to root them out. We must strike everywhere, simultaneously, with overwhelming force with support from the local government IF we trust them. If not, then we will do what we have to do to keep this Empire safe. One decisive victory and the Cult will be vanquished.

-Senator Palaiologos

Senator Palaiogolos, I think one big decisive battle will not destroy the cult. Were the english defeated in one big battle? Was carthage? Seljuk? No. It will take years to defeat these pathetic excuses for life, unless we are lucky.

BLAST! We need to increase reinforcements in africa then! Build forts, watchtowers, increase intelligence agents!
WE must defeat them before they get confident!

-Senator Marco

Ah, but is the Cult a nation or is it just a cult? If we destroy their followers and their leadership, along with wiping out any trace of them and any trace of their barbaric rituals, the few that remain will not dare to revive the Cult. And people will no longer have sources that detail how to emulate the Cult. Ruthlessness is needed in dealing with such a horrendous enemy. I fear my uncle was killed by the Cult, the late Ambrosio Palaiologos.

-Senator Christophoros Palaiologos

No, we need stealth!  An outright offensive and invasion of Cult strongholds with military forces would only drive them even further underground and make them harder to find and root out!  We must send in spies to infiltrate their strongholds like they did to us all those years ago, and we must follow up on those spies with special forces trained to fight the Cult.  In order to fight an enemy who fights in the shadows, we too must fight in the shadows.

-Senator Angelos

Not if we destroy the shadow first! An all out assault will crush the Cult! They will not recover from such a devastating strike. Make sure we have agents in trusted places who we do not kill so they feed us information to hunt the shadow of the shadow!

-Senator Palaiologos

My Emperor,

I notice that the armament minister post is vacant and I am more than happy to provide my services in this role.

– Senator Gael

I believe that Senator Palaiologos has already claimed the Armaments Minister post, if I am not mistaken.

-Senator Doukas

I am sorry, I was reassigned to Minister of Intelligence, The Ministry of Armaments is now highly efficient thanks to me and I felt like I was no longer needed in that post. Feel free to take that post although I will watch you closely Senator Gael for any treason with your Communist nonsense.
– Senator Palaiologos

Thank you for clarifying, Senator Palaiologos, though I would prefer you leave the “watch you closely” stuff to the Ministry of Security.

-Senator Doukas

I feel a bit unsafe in a communist as armanents minister…. I feel as if he might, just might arm the communist rebels….
Keep an eye on him please Doukas.

If what you say is true palaiogos, then it should only take a year or two before we wipe out those fanatical bastrads.

-Senator Marco

“Ministries intruding on other ministries’ duties is quite popular of late, don’t you know?”

-Senator Angelos

Erm… I don’t get it….

-Senator Marco

“I was replying to Senator Doukas, not you, Senator Marco.”

-Senator Angelos

sorry old chap.

-Senator Marco

How am I supposed to gather intelligence without watching someone closely? You can bumble around in your boots and shoot people while calling that your “job” but the Ministry of Intelligence, under my command, is highly efficient and needs to keep watch on all dangers of society.

Do not worry Senator Marco, as the Minister of Intelligence, I will be sure to keep watch on every threat to society.

It will only take a year or two to wipe out the fanatics. I assure you of that.

Are you insulting me?

-Senator Palaiologos

“No.  Should I be?”

-Senator Angelos

I am sorry, I will fight back against smears against my name or this Empire.

-Senator Christophoros Palaiologos

Any suggestion that I would use a ministerial position to undermine the authority of the Emperor is vicious slander, though our party works to change the system we have never spoken about any issue with the Emperor.

However when the common man feels that his voice is not listened to even our voices can not still the flame of revolution. I am more than willing if the Emperor were to request our parties assistance in setting forth a raft of social and political policies that will strength the Emperor’s rule, increase productivity and make our nation a beacon before the world!

– Senator Gael

Hahahahaha, no. Communism tricks the people into believing that they are doing something good. Fascism is what the future of this Empire is.

-Senator Christophoros Palaiologos

No, we need a middle ground between fascism and communism.  The former leads to unnecessary violence, the latter (taken to extremes) encourage revolution.  We need to integrate ideas from both ways into our system for the Empire’ continued prosperity.

-Senator Doukas


-Senator Marco

“If the Empire’s path lies only in navigating between fascism and communism, clearly we have abandoned our principles and might as well lie down to die like a starving dog.

“We should educate the masses in proper Greek traditions, improve working conditions so that people are not making a decision to die at work or die at home (or on the street), and then we should improve the production base, so that the plebs might have a few of the little luxuries in life that will make them feel well-cared for.”

-Senator Angelos

That actually seems like a good idea, and I think it won’t be that hard to fund.

-Senator Marco

Actually, that is a decent idea, as long as we don’t forget the ideas of Romanitas that guided the Old Empire.
-Senator Doukas

“Of course it’s a decent idea, Senator Doukas.  By improving work conditions, we both oil the wheels of commerce and labour and remove perhaps the biggest reason for the plebs to revolt.  Even if that is not enough, we will ensure that every citizen is granted at least a basic Greek education, Hellenising the world through the pen, rather than the sword, leaving no hard feelings on that front, and ensuring that all free men everywhere think with one accord.

“More cynically, since you mentioned the Old Empire, my plan also involves the liberal use of panem et circenses, so that the plebs are watered, fed and lettered sufficiently that they actively wish not to rebel, given the significant drop in life’s pleasures if the Empire were to withdraw from whichever poky village in the middle  of nowhere that they choose to inhabit.”

-Senator Angelos

The worst thing about plebeian revolts is that the province said revolt is happening acquires varying degrees of damage, and when we have to put it down we have to kill ordinary romans who just want better quality of living for them and their families.

-Senator Marcos

“The populace does not know what they want (or wants the unattainable), so we decide for them and give it to them.  In that respect, the key is to make them comfortable enough so that it’s too much of a fuss to consider making a different fuss.”

-Senator Angelos

The Empire Strikes Back 99 – The Death of Empress Veronica

January 22, 1901, a messenger arrives to a hastily-assembled Senate.

Senators, I bring sad news. Empress Victoria has passed away this evening, after failing health throughout January. Her funeral will be on the 25th. Her wish was for it to be of military style, and white instead of black, and so it shall be. Afterward, Prince Alvértos will make an address to the Senate.

The Palaiologoi is in shock at the death of Empress Veronica. Also, I am saddened to inform you of the passing of Ambrosio Palaiologos. A faithful senator to the very end, he was killed by assassins at his home. Either that, or someone accidently tossed a torch on his house.  And then went in and stabbed him. We are currently deciding the next head of the family as his lone child has renounced the material world and has become the Patriarch’s Chief Assistant in Antioch.

Sincerely, Spokesman Christophoros Palaiologos

I send my condolences to the royal family.  Empress Veronica’s reign defined an era and led this empire to such heights that will surely be difficult to surpass.

– Senator Leonardo Favero

“The Veronikan Era has passed and with it, the Basilissa of my father and grandfather.  The Angeloi offer their deepest sympathies to the throne.”

– Senator Alexios Angelos

Though my supports and I have clashed with elements of Her Imperial Majesty’s government we have always had great affection and loyalty to our dear departed Empress.

Our thoughts are with the Imperial Family at this time.

– Senator Gray


Michael read the newspaper.  “EMPRESS VERONICA DEAD,” the headlines read.
He was sad, of course, but he was also angry.  He knew the truth, as Minister of Security.  The Blachernae Gazette didn’t tell the whole truth.  But the truth was out there.

Soon after the Empress’s death, an emergency meeting of the Ministry of Security was called, and some of the members of the General Staff were in attendance, including Strategos Dalassenos, as well as some doctors from the Pandidakterion.  The autopsy on the Empress had shown that she had been drained of her blood, with two puncture holes on her neck.  The doctors were baffled and at a loss to explain how she lost so much blood.  She was old, but she wasn’t expected to die like this!  The General Staff and the Secret Police agreed to a measure to hunt down the supposed killer, while hiding the truth from the public.  The citizens weren’t ready for the truth.  Michael knew they would not find their killer, whom they assumed to be human.  Michael and Ioannes knew what really happened that night.  IT got to her.  IT killed her.  IT was punishing them.

He threw the newspaper at the wall, hitting his father’s portrait.  “NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!” he screamed.  “I WILL FIND YOU AND HUNT YOU DOWN WITH EVERYTHING AT MY DISPOSAL!  MARK MY WORDS, DRACULA, YOU WILL NOT LIVE TO SEE THE CORONATION OF THE EMPEROR!”


I humbly offer my deepest condolences to the royal family.  The Empire reached its greatest extent in civilization and power under her reign, a true Pax Romana.  Whether the empress caused the period, or the period creates the empress, she fitted her time perfectly.  She will be greatly missed by all of the citizens of Rome.  Long live the new Emperor!

~Michael Doukas

((Private again))
Dr. Stavridis’s Diary

For a while sheer anger mastered me. It was as if he had during her life struck Loukia on the face. I smote the table hard and rose up as I said to him, “Dr. von Habsburg, are you mad?”
He raised his head and looked at me, and somehow the tenderness of his face calmed me at once. “Vould ich vere!” he said. “Madness vere easy zo bear kompared vith zruth like zhis. Oh, mein freund, vhy, zhink du, did ich go so far round, vhy take so long to tell so simple a zhing? Vas it because ich hate du und have hated du all mein life? Was it because ich vished to give du pain? Vas it zhat ich wanted, no so late, revenge for zhat time vhen you saved my life, and from a fearful death? Ah nein!”
“Forgive me,” said I.
He went on (and I’ll just stop representing his accent here, it’s tiring), “My friend, it was because I wished to be gentle in the breaking to you, for I know you have loved that so sweet lady. But even yet I do not expect you to believe. It is so hard to accept at once any abstract truth, that we may doubt such to be possible when we have always believed the `no’ of it. It is more hard still to accept so sad a concrete truth, and of such a one as Frau Loukia. Tonight I go to prove it. Dare you come with me?”
This staggered me. A man does not like to prove such a truth, Kyrillos excepted from the category, jealousy.
“And prove the very truth he most abhorred.”
He saw my hesitation, and spoke, “The logic is simple, no madman’s logic this time, jumping from tussock to tussock in a misty bog. If it not be true, then proof will be relief. At worst it will not harm. If it be true! Ah, there is the dread. Yet every dread should help my cause, for in it is some need of belief. Come, I tell you what I propose. First, that we go off now and see that child in the hospital. Dr. Melissenos, of the North Hospital, where the papers say the child is, is a friend of mine, and I think of yours since you were in class at Vienna. He will let two scientists see his case, if he will not let two friends. We shall tell him nothing, but only that we wish to learn. And then . . .”
“And then?”
He took a key from his pocket and held it up. “And then we spend the night, you and I, in the churchyard where Loukia lies. This is the key that lock the tomb. I had it from the coffin man to give to Michael.”
My heart sank within me, for I felt that there was some fearful ordeal before us. I could do nothing, however, so I plucked up what heart I could and said that we had better hasten, as the afternoon was passing.
We found the child awake. It had had a sleep and taken some food, and altogether was going on well. Dr, Melissenos took the bandage from its throat, and showed us the punctures. There was no mistaking the similarity to those which had been on Loukia’s throat. They were smaller, and the edges looked fresher, that was all. We asked Melissenos to what he attributed them, and he replied that it must have been a bite of some animal, perhaps a rat, but for his own part, he was inclined to think it was one of the bats which are so numerous on the northern heights of Constantinople. “Out of so many harmless ones,” he said, “there may be some wild specimen from the South of a more malignant species. These things do occur, you, know. Only ten days ago a wolf got out, and was, I believe, traced up in this direction. For a week after, the children were playing nothing but Red Riding Hood on the Heath and in every alley in the place until this `bloofer lady’ scare came along, since then it has been quite a gala time with them. Even this poor little mite, when he woke up today, asked the nurse if he might go away. When she asked him why he wanted to go, he said he wanted to play with the `bloofer lady’.”
“I hope,” said von Habsburg, “that when you are sending the child home you will caution its parents to keep strict watch over it. These fancies to stray are most dangerous, and if the child were to remain out another night, it would probably be fatal. But in any case I suppose you will not let it away for some days?”
“Certainly not, not for a week at least, longer if the wound is not healed.”
Our visit to the hospital took more time than we had reckoned on, and the sun had dipped before we came out. When Van Helsing saw how dark it was, he said,
“There is not hurry. It is more late than I thought. Come, let us seek somewhere that we may eat, and then we shall go on our way.”
About ten o’clock we started from the inn. It was then very dark, and the scattered lamps made the darkness greater when we were once outside their individual radius. The Professor had evidently noted the road we were to go, for he went on unhesitatingly, but, as for me, I was in quite a mixup as to locality. As we went further, we met fewer and fewer people, till at last we were somewhat surprised when we met even the patrol of horse police going their usual suburban round. At last we reached the wall of the churchyard, which we climbed over. With some little difficulty, for it was very dark, and the whole place seemed so strange to us, we found the Este-Ravenna tomb. The Professor took the key, opened the creaky door, and standing back, politely, but quite unconsciously, motioned me to precede him.

Von Habsburg went about his work systematically. Holding his candle so that he could read the coffin plates, and so holding it that the sperm dropped in white patches which congealed as they touched the metal, he made assurance of Loukia’s coffin. Another search in his bag, and he took out a turnscrew.
“What are you going to do?” I asked.
“To open the coffin. You shall yet be convinced.”
He opened the coffin and motioned to me to look.
I drew near and looked. The coffin was empty. It was certainly a surprise to me, and gave me a considerable shock, but Von Habsburg was unmoved. He was now more sure than ever of his ground, and so emboldened to proceed in his task. “Are you satisfied now, friend John?” he asked.
I felt all the dogged argumentativeness of my nature awake within me as I answered him, “I am satisfied that Loukia’s body is not in that coffin, but that only proves one thing.”
“And what is that, friend John?”
“That it is not there.”
“That is good logic,” he said, “so far as it goes. But how do you, how can you, account for it not being there?”
“Perhaps a body-snatcher,” I suggested. “Some of the undertaker’s people may have stolen it.” I felt that I was speaking folly, and yet it was the only real cause which I could suggest.
The Professor sighed. “Ah well!” he said,” we must have more proof. Come with me.”
He put on the coffin lid again, gathered up all his things and placed them in the bag, blew out the light, and placed the candle also in the bag. We opened the door, and went out. Behind us he closed the door and locked it. He handed me the key, saying, “Will you keep it? You had better be assured.”
I laughed, it was not a very cheerful laugh, I am bound to say, as I motioned him to keep it. “A key is nothing,” I said, “there are many duplicates, and anyhow it is not difficult to pick a lock of this kind.”
He said nothing, but put the key in his pocket. Then he told me to watch at one side of the churchyard whilst he would watch at the other.
I took up my place behind a yew tree.

Suddenly, as I turned round, I thought I saw something like a white streak, moving between two dark yew trees at the side of the churchyard farthest from the tomb. At the same time a dark mass moved from the Professor’s side of the ground, and hurriedly went towards it. Then I too moved, but I had to go round headstones and railed-off tombs, and I stumbled over graves. The sky was overcast, and somewhere far off an early cock crew. A little ways off, beyond a line of scattered juniper trees, which marked the pathway to the church, a white dim figure flitted in the direction of the tomb. The tomb itself was hidden by trees, and I could not see where the figure had disappeared. I heard the rustle of actual movement where I had first seen the white figure, and coming over, found the Professor holding in his arms a tiny child. When he saw me he held it out to me, and said, “Are you satisfied now?”
“No,” I said, in a way that I felt was aggressive.
“Do you not see the child?”
“Yes, it is a child, but who brought it here? And is it wounded?”
“We shall see,”said the Professor, and with one impulse we took our way out of the churchyard, he carrying the sleeping child.
When we had got some little distance away, we went into a clump of trees, and struck a match, and looked at the child’s throat. It was without a scratch or scar of any kind.
“Was I right?” I asked triumphantly.
“We were just in time,” said the Professor thankfully.
We had now to decide what we were to do with the child, and so consulted about it. If we were to take it to a police station we should have to give some account of our movements during the night. At least, we should have had to make some statement as to how we had come to find the child. So finally we decided that we would take it to the Heath, and when we heard a policeman coming, would leave it where he could not fail to find it. We would then seek our way home as quickly as we could. All fell out well. At the edge of the Heath we heard a policeman’s heavy tramp, and laying the child on the pathway, we waited and watched until he saw it as he flashed his lantern to and fro. We heard his exclamation of astonishment, and then we went away silently. By good chance we got a cab near the `Spainiards,’ and drove to town.
I cannot sleep, so I make this entry. But I must try to get a few hours’ sleep, as Von Habsburg is to call for me at noon. He insists that I go with him on another expedition.

27 September. 1901

It was two o’clock, several months after the funeral of the Empress, before we found a suitable opportunity for our attempt. The funeral held at noon was all completed, and the last stragglers of the mourners had taken themselves lazily away, when, looking carefully from behind a clump of alder trees, we saw the sexton lock the gate after him. We knew that we were safe till morning did we desire it, but the Professor told me that we should not want more than an hour at most. I shrugged my shoulders, however, and rested silent, for von Habsburg had a way of going on his own road, no matter who remonstrated. He took the key, opened the vault, and again courteously motioned me to precede. Von Habsburg walked over to Loukia’s coffin, and I followed. He bent over and again forced back the leaden flange, and a shock of surprise and dismay shot through me.
There lay Loukia, seemingly just as we had seen her the night before her funeral. She was, if possible, more radiantly beautiful than ever, and I could not believe that she was dead. The lips were red, nay redder than before, and on the cheeks was a delicate bloom.
“Is this a juggle?” I said to him.
“Are you convinced now?” said the Professor, in response, and as he spoke he put over his hand, and in a way that made me shudder, pulled back the dead lips and showed the white teeth. “See,” he went on,”they are even sharper than before. With this and this,” and he touched one of the canine teeth and that below it, “the little children can be bitten. Are you of belief now, friend John?”
Once more argumentative hostility woke within me. I could not accept such an overwhelming idea as he suggested. So, with an attempt to argue of which I was even at the moment ashamed, I said, “I want to believe, but she may have been placed here since last night.”
“Indeed? That is so, and by whom?”
“I do not know. Someone has done it.”
“And yet she has been dead one week. Most peoples in that time would not look so.”
I had no answer for this, so was silent. Von Habsburg did not seem to notice my silence. He said to me,
“Here, there is one thing which is different from all recorded. Here is some dual life that is not as the common. She was bitten by the vampire when she was in a trance, sleep-walking, oh, you start. You do not know that, friend John, but you shall know it later, and in trance could he best come to take more blood. In trance she dies, and in trance she is Un-Dead, too. So it is that she differ from all other. Usually when the Un-Dead sleep at home,” as he spoke he made a comprehensive sweep of his arm to designate what to a vampire was `home’, “their face show what they are, but this so sweet that was when she not Un-Dead she go back to the nothings of the common dead. There is no malign there, see, and so it make hard that I must kill her in her sleep.”
This turned my blood cold, and it began to dawn upon me that I was accepting von Habsburg’s theories. But if she were really dead, what was there of terror in the idea of killing her?
He looked up at me, and evidently saw the change in my face, for he said almost joyously, “Ah, you believe now?”
I answered, “Do not press me too hard all at once. I am willing to accept. How will you do this bloody work?”
“I shall cut off her head and fill her mouth with garlic, and I shall drive a stake through her body.”
It made me shudder to think of so mutilating the body of the woman whom I had loved. And yet the feeling was not so strong as I had expected. I was, in fact, beginning to shudder at the presence of this being, this Un-Dead, as Von Habsburg called it, and to loathe it. Is it possible that love is all subjective, or all objective?
I waited a considerable time for Von Habsburg to begin, but he stood as if wrapped in thought. Presently he closed the catch of his bag with a snap, and said,
” She have yet no life taken, though that is of time, and to act now would be to take danger from her forever. But then we may have to want Michael, and how shall we tell him of this? If you, who saw the wounds on Loukia’s throat, and saw the wounds so similar on the child’s at the hospital, if you, who saw the coffin empty last night and full today with a woman who have not change only to be more rose and more beautiful in a whole week, after she die, if you know of this and know of the white figure last night that brought the child to the churchyard, and yet of your own senses you did not believe, how then, can I expect Michael, who know none of those things, to believe?
“My mind is made up. Let us go. You return home for tonight to your asylum, and see that all be well. As for me, I shall spend the night here in this churchyard in my own way. Tomorrow night you will come to me to the  Hotel at ten of the clock. I shall send for Michael to come too, and also that so fine young man of Oceania that gave his blood. Later we shall all have work to do. I come with you so far as Hippodrome District and there dine, for I must be back here before the sun set.”
So we locked the tomb and came away, and got over the wall of the churchyard, which was not much of a task, and drove back to Hippodrome District.

Note left by von Habsburg in his portmanteau, [REDACTED] directed to John Stavridis, M. D. (not delivered)

27 September

Friend John,

I write this in case anything should happen. I go alone to watch over the churchyard.  The Un-Dead may be there, waiting for us.  I shall place garlic and crucifixes around the tomb to limit the Un-Dead’s movement.  But the Un-Dead are strong, and if I fail, you must be prepared to take up the challenge.

Therefore I write this in case . . . Take the papers that are with this, the diaries of Dalassenos and the rest, and read them, and then find this great Un-Dead, and cut off his head and burn his heart or drive a stake through it, so that the world may rest from him.

If it be so, farewell.


Dr. Stavridis’s Diary

29 September.

Last night, at a little before ten o’clock, Michael and Markos Quintus came into von Habsburg’s room. He told us all what he wanted us to do, but especially addressing himself to Michael, as if all our wills were centered in his. He began by saying that he hoped we would all come with him too, “for,” he said, “there is a grave duty to be done there. You were doubtless surprised at my letter?” This query was directly addressed to Senator Doukas. “I was. It rather upset me for a bit. There has been so much trouble around my house of late that I could do without any more. I have been curious, too, as to what you mean.
“Markos and I talked it over, but the more we talked, the more puzzled we got, till now I can say for myself that I’m about up a tree as to any meaning about anything.”
“Me too,” said Markos Quintus laconically.
“Oh,” said the Professor, “then you are nearer the beginning, both of you, than friend John here, who has to go a long way back before he can even get so far as to begin.”
It was evident that he recognized my return to my old doubting frame of mind without my saying a word. Then, turning to the other two, he said with intense gravity,
“I want your permission to do what I think good this night. It is, I know, much to ask, and when you know what it is I propose to do you will know, and only then how much. Therefore may I ask that you promise me in the dark, so that afterwards, though you may be angry with me for a time, I must not disguise from myself the possibility that such may be, you shall not blame yourselves for anything.”
“That’s frank anyhow,” broke in Markos. “I’ll answer for the Professor. I don’t quite see his drift, but I swear he’s honest, and that’s good enough for me.”
“I thank you, Sir,” said Von Habsburg proudly. “I have done myself the honor of counting you one trusting friend, and such endorsement is dear to me.” He held out a hand, which Markos took.
Then Michael spoke out, “Dr. Von Habsburg, I don’t quite like to `buy a pig in a poke’, as they say in Caledonia, and if it be anything in which my honour as a gentleman or my faith as a Christian and a servant of the Empire is concerned, I cannot make such a promise. If you can assure me that what you intend does not violate either of these two, then I give my consent at once, though for the life of me, I cannot understand what you are driving at.”
“I accept your limitation,” said Von Habsburg.

“Agreed!” said Michael. “That is only fair. And now that the pourparlers are over, may I ask what it is we are to do?”
“I want you to come with me, and to come in secret, to the churchyard at Kingstead.”
Michael’s face fell as he said in an amazed sort of way,
“Where poor Loukia is buried?”
The Professor bowed.
Michael went on, “And when there?”
“To enter the tomb!”
Michael stood up. “Professor, are you in earnest, or is it some monstrous joke? Pardon me, I see that you are in earnest.” He sat down again, but I could see that he sat firmly and proudly, as one who is on his dignity. There was silence until he asked again, “And when in the tomb?”
“To open the coffin.”
“This is too much!” he said, angrily rising again. “I am willing to be patient in all things that are reasonable, but in this, this desecration of the grave, of one who . . .” He fairly choked with indignation.  “Would it not be well to hear what I have to say?” said Van Helsing. “And then you will at least know the limit of my purpose. Shall I go on?”
“That’s fair enough,” broke in Quintus.
After a pause Von Habsburg went on, evidently with an effort, “Miss Loukia is dead, is it not so? Yes! Then there can be no wrong to her. But if she be not dead. . .”
Michael jumped to his feet, “Good God!” he cried. “What do you mean? Has there been any mistake, has she been buried alive?”He groaned in anguish that not even hope could soften.
“I did not say she was alive, my child. I did not think it. I go no further than to say that she might be Un-Dead.”
“Un-Dead! Not alive! What do you mean? Is this all a nightmare, or what is it?”
“There are mysteries which men can only guess at, which age by age they may solve only in part. Believe me, we are now on the verge of one. But I have not done. May I cut off the head of dead Miss Loukia?”

Michael screamed.
“Heavens and earth, no!” cried Michael in a storm of passion. “WHY,  Habsburg, WHY should I help you carry out this act of desecration?!  You know I have other things to do, such as find the empress’s killer!”
Von Habsburg rose up from where he had all the time been seated, and said, gravely and sternly, “My Lord Doukas, I too, have a duty to do, a duty to others, a duty to you, a duty to the dead, and by God, I shall do it! All I ask you now is that you come with me, that you look and listen, and if when later I make the same request you do not be more eager for its fulfillment even than I am, then, I shall do my duty, whatever it may seem to me. And then, to follow your Lordship’s wishes I shall hold myself at your disposal to render an account to you, when and where you will.” His voice broke a little, and he went on with a voice full of pity.
“But I beseech you, do not go forth in anger with me. In a long life of acts which were often not pleasant to do, and which sometimes did wring my heart, I have never had so heavy a task as now. Believe me that if the time comes for you to change your mind towards me, one look from you will wipe away all this so sad hour, for I would do what a man can to save you from sorrow. Just think. For why should I give myself so much labor and so much of sorrow? I have come here from my own land to do what I can of good, at the first to please my friend John, and then to help a sweet young lady, whom too, I come to love. For her, I am ashamed to say so much, but I say it in kindness, I gave what you gave, the blood of my veins. I gave it, I who was not, like you, her lover, but only her physician and her friend. I gave her my nights and days, before death, after death, and if my death can do her good even now, when she is the dead Un-Dead, she shall have it freely.” He said this with a very grave, sweet pride, and Michael was much affected by it.
He took the old man’s hand and said in a broken voice, “Oh, it is hard to think of it, and I cannot understand, but at least I shall go with you and wait.”

And so passed Empress Veronica. She had been the last survivor of the mysterious events in the old Imperial Palace that had unfolded after Andronikos had been made heir in 1820. When she came to the throne in 1836, she masterfully brought the newly reformed Senate under her control, took up the reigns of the Empire, and brought prosperity back to the Empire. During her sixty-five year reign, the Empire industrialized, became far more educated, and expanded (primarily in Africa). She would be remembered as one of the greatest rulers of the Roman Empire.

Her funeral was a sorrowful affair, with the whole Imperial family, the Senate, and crowds of mourners attending. She was laid to rest in a new mausoleum within the Blachernae Palace complex, one that extended under the Theodosian walls. After the ceremony was over, the Imperial family remained for their own remembrances.

Meanwhile, the Senate gathered at the Grand Palace complex in the heart of Constantinople, waiting for Emperor Alvértos to arrive and give the first address of his reign to the Senate.


Thank you for your many kind words regarding Our mother. We have decided to continue the methods of governance she developed. The same ministries will be appointed, all current Senators retain their appointments to the Senate, the governorships will continue.

The archivists found several newspapers to be worthy of archiving, and We have had copied made for you all.

As well, the Senate’s map shall be updated.

Let us describe the royal family, as Our mother did not share specifics of her grandchildren with you. We have been happily married to Alexandria of Scandinavia since 1863, and have had six children. Alvértos Nikephoros was born in 1864, but died in 1892 of influenza. Konstantios was born in 1865, and in 1893 married Princess Veronica Maria of Denmark. They have four children. Louiza was born in 1867, and in 1889 married Alexander William George Duff, 1st Duke of Fife. They had three children. The first, a son, was stillborn, but the two daughters born later are in good health. Veronica was born in 1868, and is yet unmarried. Mathilde was born in 1869, and in 1896 married Prince Carl of Scandinavia. They have not had any children so far. Finally, Alexander was born in 1871, but died a day later.

The last announcement before We share the address Our mother had begun planning is that We will take the name of Konstantinos XX on Our coronation. And now, the State of the Empire since 1900, as prepared by Empress Veronica.

At the very beginning of 1900, We received several requests for alliances. Those from Dai Nam, Siam, Benin, and Baluchistan were accepted, as We believed these alliances would allow Us to influence these regions for the better. An alliance with England was rejected as We felt their expansion in South America was disrupting the balance of power. Instead, an alliance with the United Tribes of America was signed.

Meanwhile, Scandinavia declared that Greenland was rightfully theirs, and declared war on Scotland for it.

In March, We received news from Our expedition to the North Pole: they had been the first to make it.

Shortly thereafter, the Olympic Committee invited Us to send a team to the second Olympics. We promptly agreed.

In England, there was stranger news. A new political force had coalesced around complete economic freedom. Their ideas soon spread to the Empire.

While there had been minor clashes with rebel groups throughout the year, in June We saw something new: a rising of people who wanted more independence for New Zealand.

As the core ideas of anti-rationalism formed, We asked the Psychology department to apply these insights to their field.

In October, when Scandinavia had fully committed to their war, Germany declared war on them in order to reclaim the Sjaelland islands.

In late December, Jacobin rebels rose yet again.

Unfortunately, Empress Veronica’s planned address ended on that note. We do not know what more could be added, though. Do the Senators have any questions or comments?

These Anarcho-Liberals look like trouble, but they can be managed like the militant socialists and the Jacobins, and if they are willing to work with us I would gladly do so.  I send my deepest condolences to the people of Napoli, who have suffered greatly from the volcanic eruption.
First to the North Pole!  A triumph for the Empire!  Now to the South Pole!
I am looking forward to the coronation.  Long live the Emperor!

~Michael Doukas


“Ha, I have won!” said Konstantinos, standing in front of him.
If you ignore him he’ll go away, thought Michael.
“Do you really think I would go away that easily?”  said Konstantinos.  “Wrong!  And now the Emperor is adopting my name…”
Michael slammed his fist down on the table.  When he looked up again, Konstantinos was gone.
“My apologies,” he said to the other senators.

Damn how much “economic freedom” do these capitalists need!

– Senator Gray

“Greetings fellow senators, I am here for two reasons this day. First to give my condolences to both the Royal and the Palaiologos family, Both of your families have truly lost someone of great importance to not only the people they knew, but to the Empire itself. Secondly, I am announcing my retirement from both my governorship and my role as minister of armaments. I sincerely hope these offices are filled by good, hard-working Romans. And lastly, as requested by many members of my house, me and my kin are no longer Kvensson’s, but as members of house Varangios. God bless the Empire and the new Emperor.”

-Senator Magnus Kvensson

Thank you, Senators. We plan to keep the current appointments for the next five years. They would be thus:

Foreign minister – Senator Favero
Armament minister –
Minister of security – Senator Doukas
Chief of Staff – Senator Στήβεν
Chief of the Army – Senator Theodosio
Chief of the Navy – Senator Smithereens

(North) Africa – Senator Damaskinos
Britannia – Senator Palaiologos
Dalmatia – Heraclius Komnenos
Macedonia – Senator Angelos
Naples – Senator Septiadis
Palestine – Senator Doukas
Raetia – Senator Comminus
Sicily – Senator Smithereens
Thracia – Prince Alvértos

Brittany – Senator Γκρέυ
Italy – Senator Favero
Philippines – Senator Nguyen-Climaco
Spain – Senator Theodosio

And remember that Australia includes New Zealand, the eastern half of New Guinea, and the smaller islands eastwards of there. The Philippines include Java, the western half of New Guinea, and the islands between those three points.

The following provinces will be placed in the control of non-Senator governors:
New Zealand
South Africa

Are there any desired changes? And would any Senators volunteer to be the new Armaments Minister?

We have selected a new head of the Palaiologoi Family, I, Christophoros  Palaiologos, has been selected. I vow to make the Eastern Roman Empire great and strong! We will conquer our way to victory with our Greek citizens! ((basically a proto- fascist from seeing so many of his family killed)).

-Senator Christophoros Palaiologos, duke of Nicaea

I urge you to choose your words carefully, sir, lest you be called a traitor and supporter of the Konstantinians and Markos Angelos.  For those very words you said echo those that my brother proclaimed during his rebellion.  Don’t go down the path he did.  It will not end well for you.  I am saying this for your own good.


Alexios Angelos asks, “Isn’t our empire already great and strong?  Suggesting otherwise seems foolish.”

Bah! Fools, every single one of you! Konstantinos did not know what was great for the country, just what was great for him! Do you see the Russians amassing armies at our borders? Do you see the minorities attempting to commit acts of treason against the government? We must arm and prepare for the eventual betrayal!

Senator Christophoros Palaiologos

Again, thank you, Senators. Senator Palaiologos, though your rhetoric is more inflamed than We would use, your passion is good. Therefore We are assigning you as armaments minister. Therefore the final appointments are:

Foreign minister – Senator Favero
Armament minister – Senator Palaiologos
Minister of security – Senator Doukas
Chief of Staff – Senator Στήβεν
Chief of the Army – Senator Theodosio
Chief of the Navy – Senator Smithereens

(North) Africa – Senator Damaskinos
Britannia – Senator Palaiologos
Dalmatia – Heraclius Komnenos
Macedonia – Senator Angelos
Naples – Senator Septiadis
Palestine – Senator Doukas
Raetia – Senator Comminus
Sicily – Senator Smithereens
Thracia – Prince Alvértos

Brittany – Senator Γκρέυ
Italy – Senator Favero
Philippines – Senator Nguyen-Climaco
Spain – Senator Theodosio

And remember that Australia includes New Zealand, the eastern half of New Guinea, and the smaller islands eastwards of there. The Philippines include Java, the western half of New Guinea, and the islands between those three points.

The following provinces will be placed in the control of non-Senator governors:
New Zealand
South Africa

As always, Senators, thank you for your time.

Very good, armaments minister! I will be sure to preside over the glorious expansion of our military as armaments minister! I promise this! The military will grow strong under my direction! My rhetoric is designed to tell the Greek people the truth and only the truth. We must have a square deal for the worker for each worker’s capability! We must destroy the forces of reactionism, socialism, communism, and liberalism that bring this country down.

I claim the mantle of leadership of the Kyriarchia! Together, the Greeks and the Eastern Roman Empire will stand strong against the world!

– Senator Palaiologos

“Eastern Roman, senator?  Most of Europe bows to our new Basileus, so let us not reuse titles that have been obsolete for many centuries.”

-Senator Angelos

Yes, I dare say Eastern Roman because this country is not yet at the peak of its power! We need war to truly become the new Roman Empire! Rome only became Rome because of their martial prowess! We are not truly Rome until we show our martial prowess!

– Senator Palaiologos

Leonardo Favero, long-time senator and foreign minister, was found dead in his estate outside Venice, having received several stabs to the torso.  There are clear signs that someone rifled through the files in his office.  As the former minister of intelligence and current foreign minister, it is possible that the senator possessed sensitive documents, some worth killing for.  Local authorities suspect the culprit may be working for either the Russians, communists, socialists, anarchists, reactionaries, cultists, or some unknown party.  In short, they have no idea who did it.  The family will be holding a small funeral for relatives only.  His son, Raphael, will be taking his place in the senate.

I have told the Senate, Rome is beset on all sides my enemies! We must capture those responsible for a senator’s death and torture them for information! Then we will hang them! We need a stronger military and better security forces to make sure this never happens again!

– Senator Palaiologos

No, please stay out of this.  This is the job of the Ministry of Security.  I personally knew Leonardo, and I know of subversive elements (NOT minorities but Greeks, mind you) who would very much like him dead.  Therefore, as Minister of Security I strongly urge you to keep to yourself and not try to interfere in our investigation.  And it is not our way to torture and kill people for information; that would play into the hands of the communists.

-Senator Doukas

A job you are not doing! If someone commits crime, we will punish them. However, I know that minorities are a far greater threat to the stability of the Empire than the Greeks.

We must do what is right and best for the country, not what is not against your morals. The decadence and aristocratic, useless morals of the upper class is unbearable!

– Senator Palaiologos

I assure you, I am doing my job to the best of my ability!  Who are you to question my performance?  Only the Emperor can do that!  And if somebody commits a crime, we punish them, of course, but we do not torture people and we certainly do not kill people without reason!

-Senator Doukas

I dare to question the performance of anyone not performing up to expectations which include you! This is the problem with the nobility! They have no skill yet demand all the power! We need a meritocratic, Greek administration for this great Empire!

We will torture people for the greater good of the country, your morals cannot get in the way of security! I will not kill people without reason, some criminals should be killed but others should not.

– Senator Palaiologos

I have my credentials.  I have served a number of years with the imperial legions.  When Konstantinos rebelled all those years ago, I was the one who defeated him.  I was the one who put down Markos Angelos’s many rebellions and have been hunting him down for the last several years.  I organized the secret police and made it into an instrument of justice, placing safeguards on it to prevent its abuse and corruption into a weapon of tyranny.  Torture would be used as a propaganda tool by our enemies whom you say are all barbarians.  They would claim that “why does the Armaments Minister claim that Rome is the center of civilization when it treats its own people in barbaric ways?”  How would you respond to that?  And our current interrogation methods are effective enough.  Every single suspect we have interrogated, including servants of Markos Angelos, have cooperated with us and have been providing valuable information on rebel activities.

Do you have anything to say to our non-Greek senators in attendance, to remind them of what happened when Konstantinos stormed into this palace during his rebellion and shot the Hispanian senator Theodosio in cold blood?  When he ordered the purging of all non-Greeks to “make Rome great again?”  What say you to them, whose families were gunned down by Konstantinos’s mobs and soldiers ruthlessly?  What say you to the non-Greek but Roman citizens who through Romanitas have been loyal citizens of the Empire and have never harbored thoughts of treason?  Answer me!

-Senator Doukas

Bah! All you know are aristocratic notions of morality, class, and  more! You put down a few rebellions? How many troops did you have? 60,000 against 3,000 rebels? Anyways, that is just tactical experience. Maybe we should make you a colonel and send you to the border with Germany! Secret police? Do not forget the instrumental role of the former Empress Veronica and the Senate in the formation of the secret police! Why should we make torture known to the world? Do we publicize our military and industrial secrets? Why would we publicize our use of torture? Our enemies are barbarians, they themselves use torture! They would appear hypocritical to accuse us of torture, they would not dare to do that. I do not say we ought to oppress minorities. Many are criminals but some, I agree, are good people. We should treat them as valuable members of this Empire, but not as valuable as the great Greek citizens that are the core of this glorious empire. Theodosio is more Greek than Hispanian! He is a good citizen of the empire! Purging all non- Greeks is a mistake as is his reactionary, aristocratic policies. Konstantinos should be tortured and hanged for his crimes! However, someone is unable to successfully shake him off. I will not name names but everyone knows who it is!

Do you forget when the Germanic tribes sacked Rome? Do you forget when the tribes in Scotland attacked Britannia and looted their way through it? Do you know what people from non- Roman countries are bringing in when they come here?

We will never forget nor forgive!

– Senator Palaiologos

My fellow Senators I request a leave of absence, my old bones grow tired and it is time another take my place.

I will return to my governors residence and consult the people.

– Former Senator Gray

Dr. Stavridis’s Diary
It was just a quarter before twelve o’clock when we got into the churchyard over the low wall. The night was dark with occasional gleams of moonlight between the dents of the heavy clouds that scudded across the sky. We all kept somehow close together, with Von Habsburg slightly in front as he led the way. When we had come close to the tomb I looked well at Michael, for I feared the proximity to a place laden with so sorrowful a memory would upset him, but he bore himself well. I took it that the very mystery of the proceeding was in some way a counteractant to his grief. The Professor unlocked the door, and seeing a natural hesitation amongst us for various reasons, solved the difficulty by entering first himself. The rest of us followed, and he closed the door. He then lit a dark lantern and pointed to a coffin. Michael stepped forward hesitatingly. Von Habsburg said to me, “You were with me here yesterday. Was the body of Frau Loukia in that coffin?”
“It was.”
The Professor turned to the rest saying, “You hear, and yet there is no one who does not believe with me.’
He took his screwdriver and again took off the lid of the coffin. Michael looked on, very pale but silent. When the lid was removed he stepped forward. He evidently did not know that there was a leaden coffin, or at any rate, had not thought of it. When he saw the rent in the lead, the blood rushed to his face for an instant, but as quickly fell away again, so that he remained of a ghastly whiteness. He was still silent. Von Habsburg forced back the leaden flange, and we all looked in and recoiled.
The coffin was empty!
For several minutes no one spoke a word. The silence was broken by Markos Quintus, “Professor, I answered for you. Your word is all I want. I wouldn’t ask such a thing ordinarily, I wouldn’t so dishonor you as to imply a doubt, but this is a mystery that goes beyond any honor or dishonor. Is this your doing?”
“I swear to you by all that I hold sacred that I have not removed or touched her. What happened was this. Two nights ago my friend Stavridis and I came here, with good purpose, believe me. I opened that coffin, which was then sealed up, and we found it as now, empty. We then waited, and saw something white come through the trees. The next day we came here in daytime and she lay there. Did she not, friend John?
“That night we were just in time. One more so small child was missing, and we find it, thank God, unharmed amongst the graves. Yesterday I came here before sundown, for at sundown the Un-Dead can move. I waited here all night till the sun rose, but I saw nothing. It was most probable that it was because I had laid over the clamps of those doors garlic, which the Un-Dead cannot bear, and other things which they shun. Last night there was no exodus, so tonight before the sundown I took away my garlic and other things. And so it is we find this coffin empty. But bear with me. So far there is much that is strange. Wait you with me outside, unseen and unheard, and things much stranger are yet to be. So,” here he shut the dark slide of his lantern, “now to the outside.” He opened the door, and we filed out, he coming last and locking the door behind him.
Von Habsburg took from his bag a mass of what looked like thin, wafer-like biscuit, which was carefully rolled up in a white napkin. Next he took out a double handful of some whitish stuff, like dough or putty. He crumbled the wafer up fine and worked it into the mass between his hands. This he then took, and rolling it into thin strips, began to lay them into the crevices between the door and its setting in the tomb. I was somewhat puzzled at this, and being close, asked him what it was that he was doing. Arthur and Quincey drew near also, as they too were curious.
He answered, “I am closing the tomb so that the Un-Dead may not enter.”
“And is that stuff you have there going to do it?”
“It Is.”
“What is that which you are using?” This time the question was by Michael. Von Habsburg reverently lifted his hat as he answered.
“The Host. I brought it from Vienna.”
It was an answer that appalled the most sceptical of us, and we felt individually that in the presence of such earnest purpose as the Professor’s, a purpose which could thus use the to him most sacred of things, it was impossible to distrust. In respectful silence we took the places assigned to us close round the tomb, but hidden from the sight of any one approaching. I pitied the others, especially Michael. I had myself been apprenticed by my former visits to this watching horror, and yet I, who had up to an hour ago repudiated the proofs, felt my heart sink within me. Never did tombs look so ghastly white. Never did cypress, or yew, or juniper so seem the embodiment of funeral gloom. Never did tree or grass wave or rustle so ominously. Never did bough creak so mysteriously, and never did the far-away howling of dogs send such a woeful presage through the night.
There was a long spell of silence, big, aching, void, and then from the Professor a keen “S-s-s-s!” He pointed, and far down the avenue of yews we saw a white figure advance, a dim white figure, which held something dark at its breast. The figure stopped, and at the moment a ray of moonlight fell upon the masses of driving clouds, and showed in startling prominence a dark-haired woman, dressed in the cerements of the grave. We could not see the face, for it was bent down over what we saw to be a fair-haired child. There was a pause and a sharp little cry, such as a child gives in sleep, or a dog as it lies before the fire and dreams. We were starting forward, but the Professor’s warning hand, seen by us as he stood behind a yew tree, kept us back. And then as we looked the white figure moved forwards again. It was now near enough for us to see clearly, and the moonlight still held. My own heart grew cold as ice, and I could hear the gasp of Arthur, as we recognized the features of Lucy Westenra. Lucy Westenra, but yet how changed. The sweetness was turned to adamantine, heartless cruelty, and the purity to voluptuous wantonness.
Van Helsing stepped out, and obedient to his gesture, we all advanced too. The four of us ranged in a line before the door of the tomb. Van Helsing raised his lantern and drew the slide. By the concentrated light that fell on Lucy’s face we could see that the lips were crimson with fresh blood, and that the stream had trickled over her chin and stained the purity of her lawn death robe.
We shuddered with horror. I could see by the tremulous light that even Von Habsburg’s iron nerve had failed. Michael was next to me, and if I had not seized his arm and held him up, he would have fallen.
When Loukia, I call the thing that was before us Loukia because it bore her shape, saw us she drew back with an angry snarl, such as a cat gives when taken unawares, then her eyes ranged over us. Loukia’s eyes in form and color, but Lucy’s eyes unclean and full of hell fire, instead of the pure, gentle orbs we knew. At that moment the remnant of my love passed into hate and loathing. Had she then to be killed, I could have done it with savage delight. As she looked, her eyes blazed with unholy light, and the face became wreathed with a voluptuous smile. Oh, God, how it made me shudder to see it! With a careless motion, she flung to the ground, callous as a devil, the child that up to now she had clutched strenuously to her breast, growling over it as a dog growls over a bone. The child gave a sharp cry, and lay there moaning. There was a cold-bloodedness in the act which wrung a groan from Michael. When she advanced to him with outstretched arms and a wanton smile he fell back and hid his face in his hands.
She still advanced, however, and with a languorous, voluptuous grace, said, “Come to me, Michael. Leave these others and come to me. My arms are hungry for you. Come, and we can rest together. Come, my husband, come!”
There was something diabolically sweet in her tones, something of the tinkling of glass when struck, which rang through the brains even of us who heard the words addressed to another.
As for Michael, he seemed under a spell, moving his hands from his face, he opened wide his arms. She was leaping for them, when Von Habsburg sprang forward and held between them his little golden crucifix. She recoiled from it, and, with a suddenly distorted face, full of rage, dashed past him as if to enter the tomb.
When within a foot or two of the door, however, she stopped, as if arrested by some irresistible force. Then she turned, and her face was shown in the clear burst of moonlight and by the lamp, which had now no quiver from Von Habsburg’s nerves. Never did I see such baffled malice on a face, and never, I trust, shall such ever be seen again by mortal eyes. The beautiful color became livid, the eyes seemed to throw out sparks of hell fire, the brows were wrinkled as though the folds of flesh were the coils of Medusa’s snakes, and the lovely, blood-stained mouth grew to an open square, as in the passion masks of the Hellenes and Japanese. If ever a face meant death, if looks could kill, we saw it at that moment.
And so for full half a minute, which seemed an eternity, she remained between the lifted crucifix and the sacred closing of her means of entry.
Von Habsburg broke the silence by asking Michael, “Answer me, oh my friend! Am I to proceed in my work?”
“Do as you will, friend. Do as you will. There can be no horror like this ever any more.” And he groaned in spirit.
Quintus and I simultaneously moved towards him, and took his arms. We could hear the click of the closing lantern as Von Habsburg held it down. Coming close to the tomb, he began to remove from the chinks some of the sacred emblem which he had placed there. We all looked on with horrified amazement as we saw, when he stood back, the woman, with a corporeal body as real at that moment as our own, pass through the interstice where scarce a knife blade could have gone. We all felt a glad sense of relief when we saw the Professor calmly restoring the strings of putty to the edges of the door.
When this was done, he lifted the child and said, “Come now, my friends. We can do no more till tomorrow. There is a funeral at noon, so here we shall all come before long after that. The friends of the dead will all be gone by two, and when the sexton locks the gate we shall remain. Then there is more to do, but not like this of tonight. As for this little one, he is not much harmed, and by tomorrow night he shall be well. We shall leave him where the police will find him, as on the other night, and then to home.”
Coming close to Michael, he said, “My friend Michael, you have had a sore trial, but after, when you look back, you will see how it was necessary. You are now in the bitter waters, my child. By this time tomorrow you will, please God, have passed them, and have drunk of the sweet waters. So do not mourn over-much. Till then I shall not ask you to forgive me.”
Michael and Quintus came home with me, and we tried to cheer each other on the way. We had left behind the child in safety, and were tired. So we all slept with more or less reality of sleep.

29 September, night.

A little before twelve o’clock we three, Michael, Markos Quintus, and myself, called for the Professor. It was odd to notice that by common consent we had all put on black clothes. Of course, Michael wore black, for he was in deep mourning, but the rest of us wore it by instinct. We got to the graveyard by half-past one, and strolled about, keeping out of official observation, so that when the gravediggers had completed their task and the sexton under the belief that every one had gone, had locked the gate, we had the place all to ourselves. Von Habsburg, instead of his little black bag, had with him a long leather one, something like a tzykanion bag. It was manifestly of fair weight.
When we were alone and had heard the last of the footsteps die out up the road, we silently, and as if by ordered intention, followed the Professor to the tomb. He unlocked the door, and we entered, closing it behind us. Then he took from his bag the lantern, which he lit, and also two wax candles, which, when lighted, he stuck by melting their own ends, on other coffins, so that they might give light sufficient to work by. When he again lifted the lid off Loukia’s coffin we all looked, Michael trembling like an aspen, and saw that the corpse lay there in all its death beauty. But there was no love in my own heart, nothing but loathing for the foul Thing which had taken Loukia’s shape without her soul. I could see even Michael’s face grow hard as he looked. Presently he said to Von Habsburg, “Is this really Loukia’s body, or only a demon in her shape?”
“It is her body, and yet not it. But wait a while, and you shall see her as she was, and is.”
When all was ready, Von Habsburg said, “Before we do anything, let me tell you this. It is out of the lore and experience of the ancients and of all those who have studied the powers of the Un-Dead. When they become such, there comes with the change the curse of immortality. They cannot die, but must go on age after age adding new victims and multiplying the evils of the world. For all that die from the preying of the Un-dead become themselves Un-dead, and prey on their kind. And so the circle goes on ever widening, like as the ripples from a stone thrown in the water. Friend Michael, if you had met that kiss which you know of before poor Loukia die, or again, last night when you open your arms to her, you would in time, when you had died, have become nosferatu, as they call it in Carpathia and the Slavic lands, and would for all time make more of those Un-Deads that so have filled us with horror. The career of this so unhappy dear lady is but just begun. Those children whose blood she sucked are not as yet so much the worse, but if she lives on, Un-Dead, more and more they lose their blood and by her power over them they come to her, and so she draw their blood with that so wicked mouth. But if she die in truth, then all cease. The tiny wounds of the throats disappear, and they go back to their play unknowing ever of what has been. But of the most blessed of all, when this now Un-Dead be made to rest as true dead, then the soul of the poor lady whom we love shall again be free. Instead of working wickedness by night and growing more debased in the assimilating of it by day, she shall take her place with the other Angels. So that, my friend, it will be a blessed hand for her that shall strike the blow that sets her free. To this I am willing, but is there none amongst us who has a better right? Will it be no joy to think of hereafter in the silence of the night when sleep is not, `It was my hand that sent her to the stars. It was the hand of him that loved her best, the hand that of all she would herself have chosen, had it been to her to choose?’ Tell me if there be such a one amongst us?”
We all looked at Michael. He saw too, what we all did, the infinite kindness which suggested that his should be the hand which would restore Loukia to us as a holy, and not an unholy, memory. He stepped forward and said bravely, though his hand trembled, and his face was as pale as snow, “My true friend, from the bottom of my broken heart I thank you. Tell me what I am to do, and I shall not falter!”
Von Habsburg laid a hand on his shoulder, and said, “Brave lad! A moment’s courage, and it is done. This stake must be driven through her. It well be a fearful ordeal, be not deceived in that, but it will be only a short time, and you will then rejoice more than your pain was great. From this grim tomb you will emerge as though you tread on air. But you must not falter when once you have begun. Only think that we, your true friends, are round you, and that we pray for you all the time.”
“Go on,” said Michael hoarsely. “Tell me what I am to do.”
“Take this stake in your left hand, ready to place to the point over the heart, and the hammer in your right. Then when we begin our prayer for the dead, I shall read him, I have here the book, and the others shall follow, strike in God’s name, that so all may be well with the dead that we love and that the Un-Dead pass away.” Michael took the stake and the hammer, and when once his mind was set on action his hands never trembled nor even quivered. Von Habsburg opened his missal and began to read, and Quintus and I followed as well as we could.
Michael placed the point over the heart, and as I looked I could see its dint in the white flesh. Then he struck with all his might.
The thing in the coffin writhed, and a hideous, bloodcurdling screech came from the opened red lips. The body shook and quivered and twisted in wild contortions. The sharp white champed together till the lips were cut, and the mouth was smeared with a crimson foam. But Michael never faltered. He looked like a figure of Thor as his untrembling arm rose and fell, driving deeper and deeper the mercybearing stake, whilst the blood from the pierced heart welled and spurted up around it. His face was set, and high duty seemed to shine through it. The sight of it gave us courage so that our voices seemed to ring through the little vault.
And then the writhing and quivering of the body became less, and the teeth seemed to champ, and the face to quiver. Finally it lay still. The terrible task was over.
The hammer fell from Michael’s hand. He reeled and would have fallen had we not caught him. The great drops of sweat sprang from his forehead, and his breath came in broken gasps. It had indeed been an awful strain on him, and had he not been forced to his task by more than human considerations he could never have gone through with it. For a few minutes we were so taken up with him that we did not look towards the coffin. When we did, however, a murmur of startled surprise ran from one to the other of us. We gazed so eagerly that Michael rose, for he had been seated on the ground, and came and looked too, and then a glad strange light broke over his face and dispelled altogether the gloom of horror that lay upon it.
There, in the coffin lay no longer the foul Thing that we had so dreaded and grown to hate that the work of her destruction was yielded as a privilege to the one best entitled to it, but Loukia as we had seen her in life, with her face of unequalled sweetness and purity. True that there were there, as we had seen them in life, the traces of care and pain and waste. But these were all dear to us, for they marked her truth to what we knew. One and all we felt that the holy calm that lay like sunshine over the wasted face and form was only an earthly token and symbol of the calm that was to reign for ever.
Von Habsburg came and laid his hand on Michael’s shoulder, and said to him, “And now, Arthur my friend, dear lad, am I not forgiven?”
The reaction of the terrible strain came as he took the old man’s hand in his, and raising it to his lips, pressed it, and said, “Forgiven! God bless you that you have given my dear one her soul again, and me peace.” He put his hands on the Professor’s shoulder, and laying his head on his breast, cried for a while silently, whilst we stood unmoving.
When he raised his head Von Habsburg said to him, “And now, my child, you may kiss her. Kiss her dead lips if you will, as she would have you to, if for her to choose. For she is not a grinning devil now, not any more a foul Thing for all eternity. No longer she is the devil’s Un-Dead. She is God’s true dead, whose soul is with Him!”
Michael bent and kissed her, and then we sent him and Quintus out of the tomb. The Professor and I sawed the top off the stake, leaving the point of it in the body. Then we cut off the head and filled the mouth with garlic. We soldered up the leaden coffin, screwed on the coffin lid, and gathering up our belongings, came away. When the Professor locked the door he gave the key to Michael.
Outside the air was sweet, the sun shone, and the birds sang, and it seemed as if all nature were tuned to a different pitch. There was gladness and mirth and peace everywhere, for we were at rest ourselves on one account, and we were glad, though it was with a tempered joy.
Before we moved away Von Habsburg said, “Now, my friends, one step of our work is done, one the most harrowing to ourselves. But there remains a greater task, to find out the author of all this our sorrow and to stamp him out. I have clues which we can follow, but it is a long task, and a difficult one, and there is danger in it, and pain. Shall you not all help me? We have learned to believe, all of us, is it not so? And since so, do we not see our duty? Yes! And do we not promise to go on to the bitter end?”
Each in turn, we took his hand, and the promise was made. Then said the Professor as we moved off, “Two nights hence you shall meet with me and dine together at seven of the clock with friend John. I shall entreat two others, two that you know not as yet, and I shall be ready to all our work show and our plans unfold. Friend John, you come with me home, for I have much to consult you about, and you can help me. Tonight I leave for Vienna, but shall return tomorrow night. And then begins our great quest. But first I shall have much to say, so that you may know what to do and to dread. Then our promise shall be made to each other anew. For there is a terrible task before us, and once our feet are on the ploughshare we must not draw back.”

Dr. Stavridis’s Diary
When we arrived at the Macedonia Hotel, Von Habsburg found a telegram waiting for him.
“Am coming up by train. Ioannes at [REDACTED]. Important news. Mara Dalassenos.”
The Professor was delighted. “Ah, that wonderful Madam Mara,” he said, “pearl among women! She arrive, but I cannot stay. She must go to your house, friend John. You must meet her at the station. Telegraph her en route so that she may be prepared.”
When the wire was dispatched he had a cup of tea. Over it he told me of a diary kept by Ioannes Dalassenos when abroad, and gave me a typewritten copy of it, as also of Mrs. Dalassenos diary at [REDACTED]. “Take these,” he said, “and study them well. When I have returned you will be master of all the facts, and we can then better enter on our inquisition. Keep them safe, for there is in them much of treasure. You will need all your faith, even you who have had such an experience as that of today. What is here told,” he laid his hand heavily and gravely on the packet of papers as he spoke, “may be the beginning of the end to you and me and many another, or it may sound the knell of the Un-Dead who walk the earth. Read all, I pray you, with the open mind, and if you can add in any way to the story here told do so, for it is all important. You have kept a diary of all these so strange things, is it not so? Yes! Then we shall go through all these together when we meet.” He then made ready for his departure and shortly drove off to Thessaloniki Street. I took my way to Hippodrome District, where I arrived about fifteen minutes before the train came in.
The crowd melted away, after the bustling fashion common to arrival platforms, and I was beginning to feel uneasy, lest I might miss my guest, when a sweet-faced, dainty looking girl stepped up to me, and after a quick glance said, “Dr. Stavridis, is it not?”
“And you are Mrs. Dalassenos!” I answered at once, whereupon she held out her hand.
“I knew you from the description of poor dear Loukia, but. . .” She stopped suddenly, and a quick blush overspread her face.
The blush that rose to my own cheeks somehow set us both at ease, for it was a tacit answer to her own. I got her luggage, which included a typewriter, and we took the Underground to Sophia Street, after I had sent a wire to my housekeeper to have a sitting room and a bedroom prepared at once for Mrs. Dalassenos.
In due time we arrived. She knew, of course, that the place was a lunatic asylum, but I could see that she was unable to repress a shudder when we entered.
She told me that, if she might, she would come presently to my study, as she had much to say. So here I am finishing my entry in my phonograph diary whilst I await her. As yet I have not had the chance of looking at the papers which Von Habsburg left with me, though they lie open before me. I must get her interested in something, so that I may have an opportunity of reading them. She does not know how precious time is, or what a task we have in hand. I must be careful not to frighten her. Here she is!

Mara Dalassenos’s Journal
29 September.

After I had tidied myself, I went down to Dr. Stavridis’s study. At the door I paused a moment, for I thought I heard him talking with some one. As, however, he had pressed me to be quick, I knocked at the door, and on his calling out, “Come in,” I entered.
To my intense surprise, there was no one with him. He was quite alone, and on the table opposite him was what I knew at once from the description to be a phonograph. I had never seen one, and was much interested.
“I hope I did not keep you waiting,” I said, “but I stayed at the door as I heard you talking, and thought there was someone with you.”
“Oh,” he replied with a smile, “I was only entering my diary.”
“Your diary?” I asked him in surprise.
“Yes,” he answered. “I keep it in this.” As he spoke he laid his hand on the phonograph. I felt quite excited over it, and blurted out, “Why, this beats even shorthand! May I hear it say something?”
“Certainly,” he replied with alacrity, and stood up to put it in train for speaking. Then he paused, and a troubled look overspread his face.
“The fact is,” he began awkwardly. “I only keep my diary in it, and as it is entirely, almost entirely, about my cases it may be awkward, that is, I mean . . .” He stopped, and I tried to help him out of his embarrassment.
“You helped to attend dear Loukia at the end. Let me hear how she died, for all that I know of her, I shall be very grateful. She was very, very dear to me.”
To my surprise, he answered, with a horrorstruck look in his face, “Tell you of her death? Not for the wide world!”
“Why not?” I asked, for some grave, terrible feeling was coming over me.
Again he paused, and I could see that he was trying to invent an excuse. At length, he stammered out, “You see, I do not know how to pick out any particular part of the diary.”
Even while he was speaking an idea dawned upon him, and he said with unconscious simplicity, in a different voice, and with the naivete of a child, “that’s quite true, upon my honor. Honest Cherokee!”
I could not but smile, at which he grimaced. “I gave myself away that time!” he said. “But do you know that, although I have kept the diary for months past, it never once struck me how I was going to find any particular part of it in case I wanted to look it up?”
By this time my mind was made up that the diary of a doctor who attended Loukia might have something to add to the sum of our knowledge of that terrible Being, and I said boldly, “Then, Dr. Stavridis, you had better let me copy it out for you on my typewriter.”
He grew to a positively deathly pallor as he said, “No! No! No! For all the world. I wouldn’t let you know that terrible story.!”
Then it was terrible. My intuition was right! For a moment, I thought, and as my eyes ranged the room, unconsciously looking for something or some opportunity to aid me, they lit on a great batch of typewriting on the table. His eyes caught the look in mine, and without his thinking, followed their direction. As they saw the parcel he realized my meaning.
“You do not know me,” I said. “When you have read those papers, my own diary and my husband’s also, which I have typed, you will know me better. I have not faltered in giving every thought of my own heart in this cause. But, of course, you do not know me, yet, and I must not expect you to trust me so far.”
He is certainly a man of noble nature. Poor dear Loukia was right about him. He stood up and opened a large drawer, in which were arranged in order a number of hollow cylinders of metal covered with dark wax, and said,
“You are quite right. I did not trust you because I did not know you. But I know you now, and let me say that I should have known you long ago. I know that Loukia told you of me. She told me of you too. May I make the only atonement in my power? Take the cylinders and hear them. The first half-dozen of them are personal to me, and they will not horrify you. Then you will know me better. Dinner will by then be ready. In the meantime I shall read over some of these documents, and shall be better able to understand certain things.”
He carried the phonograph himself up to my sitting room and adjusted it for me. Now I shall learn something pleasant, I am sure. For it will tell me the other side of a true love episode of which I know one side already.

Dr. Stavridis’s Diary
29 September.

I was so absorbed in that wonderful diary of Ioannes Dalassenos and that other of his wife that I let the time run on without thinking. Mrs. Dalassenos was not down when the maid came to announce dinner, so I said, “She is possibly tired. Let dinner wait an hour,” and I went on with my work. I had just finished Mrs. Dalassenos’s diary, when she came in. She looked sweetly pretty, but very sad, and her eyes were flushed with crying. This somehow moved me much. Of late I have had cause for tears, God knows! But the relief of them was denied me, and now the sight of those sweet eyes, brightened by recent tears, went straight to my heart. So I said as gently as I could, “I greatly fear I have distressed you.”
“Oh, no, not distressed me,” she replied. “But I have been more touched than I can say by your grief. That is a wonderful machine, but it is cruelly true. It told me, in its very tones, the anguish of your heart. It was like a soul crying out to Almighty God. No one must hear them spoken ever again! See, I have tried to be useful. I have copied out the words on my typewriter, and none other need now hear your heart beat, as I did.”
“No one need ever know, shall ever know,” I said in a low voice. She laid her hand on mine and said very gravely, “Ah, but they must!”
“Must! but why?” I asked.
“Because it is a part of the terrible story, a part of poor Loukia’s death and all that led to it. Because in the struggle which we have before us to rid the earth of this terrible monster we must have all the knowledge and all the help which we can get. I think that the cylinders which you gave me contained more than you intended me to know. But I can see that there are in your record many lights to this dark mystery. You will let me help, will you not? I know all up to a certain point, and I see already, though your diary only took me to 7 September, how poor Loukia was beset, and how her terrible doom was being wrought out. Ioannes and I have been working day and night since Professor Von Habsburg saw us. He is gone to [REDACTED] to get more information, and he will be here tomorrow to help us. We need have no secrets amongst us. Working together and with absolute trust, we can surely be stronger than if some of us were in the dark.”
She looked at me so appealingly, and at the same time manifested such courage and resolution in her bearing, that I gave in at once to her wishes. “You shall,” I said, “do as you like in the matter. God forgive me if I do wrong! There are terrible things yet to learn of. But if you have so far traveled on the road to poor Loukia’s death, you will not be content, I know, to remain in the dark. Nay, the end, the very end, may give you a gleam of peace. Come, there is dinner. We must keep one another strong for what is before us. We have a cruel and dreadful task. When you have eaten you shall learn the rest, and I shall answer any questions you ask, if there be anything which you do not understand, though it was apparent to us who were present.”

Mara Dalassenos’s Journal
29 September.

After dinner I came with Dr. Stavridis to his study. He brought back the phonograph from my room, and I took a chair, and arranged the phonograph so that I could touch it without getting up, and showed me how to stop it in case I should want to pause. Then he very thoughtfully took a chair, with his back to me, so that I might be as free as possible, and began to read. I put the forked metal to my ears and listened.
When the terrible story of Loukia’s death, and all that followed, was done, I lay back in my chair powerless. Fortunately I am not of a fainting disposition. When Dr. Stavridis saw me he jumped up with a horrified exclamation, and hurriedly taking a case bottle from the cupboard, gave me some brandy, which in a few minutes somewhat restored me. My brain was all in a whirl, and only that there came through all the multitude of horrors, the holy ray of light that my dear Loukia was at last at peace, I do not think I could have borne it without making a scene. It is all so wild and mysterious, and strange that if I had not known Ioannes experience in Transylvania I could not have believed. As it was, I didn’t know what to believe, and so got out of my difficulty by attending to something else. I took the cover off my typewriter, and said to Dr. Stavridis,
“Let me write this all out now. We must be ready for Dr. Von Habsburg when he comes. I have sent a telegram to Ioannes to come on here when he arrives in Constantinople from Athens. In this matter dates are everything, and I think that if we get all of our material ready, and have every item put in chronological order, we shall have done much.
“You tell me that Senator Doukas and Mr. Quintus are coming too. Let us be able to tell them when they come.”
He accordingly set the phonograph at a slow pace, and I began to typewrite from the beginning of the seventeenth cylinder. I used manifold, and so took three copies of the diary, just as I had done with the rest. It was late when I got through, but Dr. Stavridis went about his work of going his round of the patients. When he had finished he came back and sat near me, reading, so that I did not feel too lonely whilst I worked. How good and thoughtful he is. The world seems full of good men, even if there are monsters in it.
Before I left him I remembered what Ioannes put in his diary of the Professor’s perturbation at reading something in an evening paper at the station at Nicaea, so, seeing that Dr. Stavrids keeps his newspapers, I borrowed the files of `The Blachernae Gazette’ and `The Adrianopolis Gazette’ and took them to my room. I remember how much the `Daily News’ and `The Athens Gazette’, of which I had made cuttings, had helped us to understand the terrible events at [REDACTED] when Count Dracula landed, so I shall look through the evening papers since then, and perhaps I shall get some new light. I am not sleepy, and the work will help to keep me quiet.

Dr. Stavridis’s Diary
30 September.

Mr. Dalassenos arrived at nine o’clock. He got his wife’s wire just before starting. He is uncommonly clever, if one can judge from his face, and full of energy. If this journal be true, and judging by one’s own wonderful experiences, it must be, he is also a man of great nerve. That going down to the vault a second time was a remarkable piece of daring. After reading his account of it I was prepared to meet a good specimen of manhood, but hardly the quiet, business-like gentleman who came here today.
LATER.–After lunch Dalassenos and his wife went back to their own room, and as I passed a while ago I heard the click of the typewriter. They are hard at it. Mrs. Dalassenos says that they are knitting together in chronological order every scrap of evidence they have. Dalassenos has got the letters between the consignee of the boxes at strategic points in Constantinople and the carriers in the capital who took charge of them. He is now reading his wife’s transcript of my diary. I wonder what they make out of it. Here it is . . .
Strange that it never struck me that the very next house might be the Count’s hiding place! Goodness knows that we had enough clues from the conduct of the patient Renato! The bundle of letters relating to the purchase of the house were with the transcript. Oh, if we had only had them earlier we might have saved poor Loukia! Stop! That way madness lies! Dalassenos has gone back, and is again collecting material. He says that by dinner time they will be able to show a whole connected narrative. He thinks that in the meantime I should see Renato, as hitherto he has been a sort of index to the coming and going of the Count. I hardly see this yet, but when I get at the dates I suppose I shall. What a good thing that Mrs. Dalassenos put my cylinders into type! We never could have found the dates otherwise.
I found Renato sitting placidly in his room with his hands folded, smiling benignly. At the moment he seemed as sane as any one I ever saw. I sat down and talked with him on a lot of subjects, all of which he treated naturally. He then, of his own accord, spoke of going home, a subject he has never mentioned to my knowledge during his sojourn here. In fact, he spoke quite confidently of getting his discharge at once. I believe that, had I not had the chat with Dalassenos and read the letters and the dates of his outbursts, I should have been prepared to sign for him after a brief time of observation. As it is, I am darkly suspicious. All those outbreaks were in some way linked with the proximity of the Count. What then does this absolute content mean? Can it be that his instinct is satisfied as to the vampire’s ultimate triumph? Stay. He is himself zoophagous, and in his wild ravings outside the chapel door of the deserted house he always spoke of `master’. This all seems confirmation of our idea. However, after a while I came away. My friend is just a little too sane at present to make it safe to probe him too deep with questions. He might begin to think, and then . . . So I came away. I mistrust these quiet moods of of his, so I have given the attendant a hint to look closely after him, and to have a strait waistcoat ready in case of need.

Ioannes Dalassenos Journal
29 September, in train to Constantinople.

When I received General Melissenos’s courteous message that he would give me any information in his power I thought it best to go down to Athens and make, on the spot, such inquiries as I wanted. It was now my object to trace that horrid cargo of the Count’s to its place in Constantinople. Later, we may be able to deal with it. Melissenos junior, a nice lad, met me at the station, and brought me to his father’s house, where they had decided that I must spend the night. They are hospitable, with true Greek hospitality, give a guest everything and leave him to do as he likes. They all knew that I was busy, and that my stay was short, and Mr. Melissenos had ready in his office all the papers concerning the consignment of boxes; the government’s cooperating with us in the Army so far. It gave me almost a turn to see again one of the letters which I had seen on the Count’s table before I knew of his diabolical plans; it all fit into place now!  How did Michael, as Minister of Security, miss this? Everything had been carefully thought out, and done systematically and with precision. He seemed to have been prepared for every obstacle which might be placed by accident in the way of his intentions being carried out. To use an Oceanism, he had `taken no chances’, and the absolute accuracy with which his instructions were fulfilled was simply the logical result of his care. I saw the invoice, and took note of it.`Fifty cases of common earth, to be used for experimental purposes’. Also the copy of the letter to Cyrillos Petros, and their reply. Of both these I got copies. This was all the information Mr. Melissenos could give me, so I went down to the port and saw the coastguards, the Customs Officers and the harbor master, who kindly put me in communication with the men who had actually received the boxes. Their tally was exact with the list, and they had nothing to add to the simple description `fifty cases of common earth’, except that the boxes were `main and mortal heavy’, and that shifting them was dry work. One of them added that it was hard lines that there wasn’t any gentleman `such like as like yourself, squire’, to show some sort of appreciation of their efforts in a liquid form. Another put in a rider that the thirst then generated was such that even the time which had elapsed had not completely allayed it. Needless to add, I took care before leaving to lift, forever and adequately, this source of reproach.

30 September.

The station master was good enough to give me a line to his old companion the station master at Basileus’s Cross, so that when I arrived there in the morning I was able to ask him about the arrival of the boxes. He, too put me at once in communication with the proper officials, and I saw that their tally was correct with the original invoice. The opportunities of acquiring an abnormal thirst had been here limited. A noble use of them had, however, been made, and again I was compelled to deal with the result in ex post facto manner.
From thence I went to Cyrillos Petros’s central office, where I met with the utmost courtesy. They looked up the transaction in their day book and letter book, and at once telephoned to their Basileus’s Cross office for more details. By good fortune, the men who did the teaming were waiting for work, and the official at once sent them over, sending also by one of them the way-bill and all the papers connected with the delivery of the boxes at Golden Horn District. Here again I found the tally agreeing exactly. The carriers’ men were able to supplement the paucity of the written words with a few more details. These were, I shortly found, connected almost solely with the dusty nature of the job, and the consequent thirst engendered in the operators. On my affording an opportunity, through the medium of the currency of the realm, of the allaying, at a later period, this beneficial evil, one of the men remarked, with a hard accent,
“That `ere `ouse, guv’nor, is the rummiest I ever was in. Blyme! But it ain’t been touched sence a hundred years. There was dust that thick in the place that you might have slep’ on it without `urtin’ of yer bones. An’ the place was that neglected that yer might `ave smelled ole Jerusalem in it. But the old chapel, that took the cike, that did!Me and my mate, we thort we wouldn’t never git out quick enough. Lor’, I wouldn’t take less nor a quid a moment to stay there arter dark.”
Having been in the house, I could well believe him, but if he knew what I know, he would, I think have raised his terms.
Of one thing I am now satisfied. That all those boxes which arrived at Constantinople from Varna in the Demeter were safely deposited in the old chapel in the Old Town District. There should be fifty of them there, unless any have since been removed, as from Dr. Stavridis’s diary I fear.
Later.–Mara and I have worked all day, and we have put all the papers into order.

Mara Dalassenos’s Journal
30 September.

I am so glad that I hardly know how to contain myself. It is, I suppose, the reaction from the haunting fear which I have had, that this terrible affair and the reopening of his old wound might act detrimentally on Ioannes. I saw him leave for Athens with as brave a face as could, but I was sick with apprehension. The effort has, however, done him good. He was never so resolute, never so strong, never so full of volcanic energy, as at present. It is just as that dear, good Professor Von Habsburg said, he is true grit, and he improves under strain that would kill a weaker nature. He came back full of life and hope and determination. We have got everything in order for tonight. I feel myself quite wild with excitement. I suppose one ought to pity anything so hunted as the Count. That is just it. This thing is not human, not even a beast. To read Dr. Stavridis’s account of poor Loukia’s death, and what followed, is enough to dry up the springs of pity in one’s heart.
Later.–Senator Doukas and Mr. Quintus arrived earlier than we expected. Dr. Stavridis was out on business, and had taken Ioannes with him, so I had to see them. It was to me a painful meeting, for it brought back all poor dear Loukia’s hopes of only a few months ago. Of course they had heard Loukia speak of me, and it seemed that Dr. Von Habsburg, too, had been quite `blowing my trumpet’, as Mr. Quintus expressed it. Poor fellows, neither of them is aware that I know all about the proposals they made to Loukia. They did not quite know what to say or do, as they were ignorant of the amount of my knowledge. So they had to keep on neutral subjects. However, I thought the matter over, and came to the conclusion that the best thing I could do would be to post them on affairs right up to date. I knew from Dr. Stavridis’s diary that they had been at Loukia’s death, her real death, and that I need not fear to betray any secret before the time. So I told them, as well as I could, that I had read all the papers and diaries, and that my husband and I, having typewritten them, had just finished putting them in order. I gave them each a copy to read in the library. When Senator Doukas got his and turned it over, it does make a pretty good pile, he said, “Did you write all this, Mrs. Dalassenos?”
I nodded, and he went on.
“I don’t quite see the drift of it, but you people are all so good and kind, and have been working so earnestly and so energetically, that all I can do is to accept your ideas blindfold and try to help you. I have had one lesson already in accepting facts that should make a man humble to the last hour of his life. Besides, I know you loved my Loukia . . .”
Here he turned away and covered his face with his hands. I could hear the tears in his voice. Mr. Quintus, with instinctive delicacy, just laid a hand for a moment on his shoulder, and then walked quietly out of the room. I suppose there is something in a woman’s nature that makes a man free to break down before her and express his feelings on the tender or emotional side without feeling it derogatory to his manhood. For Senator Doukas found himself alone with me he sat down on the sofa and gave way utterly and openly. I sat down beside him and took his hand. I hope he didn’t think it forward of me, and that if he ever thinks of it afterwards he never will have such a thought. There I wrong him. I know he never will. He is too true a gentleman. I said to him, for I could see that his heart was breaking, “I loved dear Loukia, and I know what she was to you, and what you were to her. She and I were like sisters, and now she is gone, will you not let me be like a sister to you in your trouble? I know what sorrows you have had, though I cannot measure the depth of them. If sympathy and pity can help in your affliction, won’t you let me be of some little service, for Loukia’s sake?”
In an instant the poor dear fellow was overwhelmed with grief. It seemed to me that all that he had of late been suffering in silence found a vent at once. He grew quite hysterical, and raising his open hands, beat his palms together in a perfect agony of grief. He stood up and then sat down again, and the tears rained down his cheeks. I felt an infinite pity for him, and opened my arms unthinkingly. With a sob he laid his head on my shoulder and cried like a wearied child, whilst he shook with emotion.
After a little bit his sobs ceased, and he raised himself with an apology, though he made no disguise of his emotion. He told me that for days and nights past, weary days and sleepless nights, he had been unable to speak with any one, as a man must speak in his time of sorrow. There was no woman whose sympathy could be given to him, or with whom, owing to the terrible circumstance with which his sorrow was surrounded, he could speak freely.
“I know now how I suffered,” he said, as he dried his eyes, “but I do not know even yet, and none other can ever know, how much your sweet sympathy has been to me today. I shall know better in time, and believe me that, though I am not ungrateful now, my gratitude will grow with my understanding. You will let me be like a brother, will you not, for all our lives, for dear Loukia’s sake?”
“For dear Loukia’s sake,” I said as we clasped hands. “Ay, and for your own sake,” he added, “for if a man’s esteem and gratitude are ever worth the winning, you have won mine today. If ever the future should bring to you a time when you need a man’s help, believe me, you will not call in vain. God grant that no such time may ever come to you to break the sunshine of your life, but if it should ever come, promise me that you will let me know.”
He was so earnest, and his sorrow was so fresh, that I felt it would comfort him, so I said, “I promise.”
As I came along the corridor I say Mr. Quintus looking out of a window. He turned as he heard my footsteps. “How is Mike?” he said. Then noticing my red eyes, he went on, “Ah, I see you have been comforting him. Poor old fellow! He needs it. No one but a woman can help a man when he is in trouble of the heart, and he had no one to comfort him.”
He bore his own trouble so bravely that my heart bled for him. I saw the manuscript in his hand, and I knew that when he read it he would realize how much I knew, so I said to him, “I wish I could comfort all who suffer from the heart. Will you let me be your friend, and will you come to me for comfort if you need it? You will know later why I speak.”
He saw that I was in earnest, and stooping, took my hand, and raising it to his lips, kissed it. It seemed but poor comfort to so brave and unselfish a soul, and impulsively I bent over and kissed him. The tears rose in his eyes, and there was a momentary choking in his throat. He said quite calmly, “Little girl, you will never forget that true hearted kindness, so long as ever you live!” Then he went into the study to his friend.
“Little girl!” The very words he had used to Loukia, and, oh, but he proved himself a friend.

The Empire Strikes Back 98- The State of the Empire 1895-1900


Your presence is requested for a State of the Empire Address on January 1st, 1900, at Blachernae Palace.

The archivists considered no newspapers significant in the last five years. But the Senate’s world map is again being updated.

1895 began without much fanfare. We continued Our efforts to improve the economy, ending support to inefficient factories and opening new profitable ones in their stead. It was almost exciting when in February, Manchuria refused entry to Our ambassador. The incident was quickly negotiated away, which left some people dissatisfied.

In March, the Olympic Committee decided that We should host the first games. We began work to prepare Constantinople for this august event.

And by the end of June, Senator Smithereens informed Us that the navy could build larger naval bases to better support the navy. We instructed him to begin a major program of base building, and also to put the navy’s logistics onto an organized system.

And before the end of the year, a practical automobile had been designed. We immediately ordered several factories opened to produce them. Both these factories and the naval bases necessitated a tax raise.

When Senator Smithereens announced that several plans for improving the navy’s logistics would begin implementation, We left him to oversee these plans and the naval base expansion, and asked Senator Kvensson to procure improved armaments for the navy.

In late June of 1897, Reactionaries who had been angered by the raised taxes funding new factories and naval bases rose up throughout the Empire. They were defeated by early November.

By late August, Senator Kvensson had begun procuring specific improvements. He pointed out that procuring improved artillery for the legions would aid in procuring better naval guns, so We tasked him with doing so.

In October, Senator Smithereens announced that a new ship design had been finalized, allowing for Cruisers. We had him begin constructing new fleets immediately.

Meanwhile, We funded an expedition to explore the North Pole.

When the new artillery had been procured, We asked industry leaders to discover areas where human labor could be removed from the manufacturing process.

When the North Pole expedition returned without success, We funded a second expedition.

And when the automation advances for the Empire’s factories had come to fruition, a new opportunity presented itself. Sigmund Freud, a Burgundian living along the Rhine, had begun to develop methods of analyzing an individual’s mind and behavior, which he proposed were largely due to events in their childhood. We funded a chair for him at the University of Constantinople, and the field of psychoanalysis quickly developed.

In November of 1897, yet another Communist rebellion erupted. Despite the rebellion, We put together a team to compete in the Olympics.

And at the beginning of December, We began the opening ceremony of the first modern Olympics! Several of our athletes were victorious, bringing home a great many medals.

In March of 1898, Iraq demonstrated how dangerous communist revolutions could be when they fell under the sway of one.

The ongoing rebellion demonstrated the difficulties with our system of state capitalism, and so We sought to improve the incentives for private industry to supply the needs of the Empire’s citizens.

But then in June, Jacobins who disliked these reforms rebelled in turn.

By late July the rebellions had nearly been mopped up, and psychoanalysis was becoming a new area of much research. We then set about having the whole rail system of the Empire made into an integrated system, with a single rail gauge, stations, and everything fully connected. Or rather, two integrated systems: one for goods, and one for passengers.

Just before August, We noticed that Japan had seized one of Ming’s provinces. And now Russia was warring against them for another. We disliked to see another ancient Empire so mistreated, and so offered them an alliance, which they accepted.

While this wasn’t in time to stop Russia’s depredations, it finally gave Ming the courage to retake lands that had long ago fallen under the sway of the Oriat Horde.

At the beginning of 1899, We attempted something new and drastic with the economy and removed all subsidies to factories. We had noticed that if a factory was not making any profit, then nobody got paid, even though subsidies might keep the factory running. Better instead to pay unemployment and allow the resources wastefully going to the factories be used in more profitable ventures. This seemed successful, with the unemployment subsidies costing much less than the factory subsidies. As well, We were able to cut taxes, better enabling people to provide for their families.

While this was being implemented, Ming won their war against the Oriat Horde. And a few months later, the improved railroads were ready to be implemented. Scotland, meanwhile, fell to reactionaries.

But the year passed, with the Empire’s useful industry growing like never before. It became very clear which factories were worth expanding, and expand they did.

And now, Senators, it is the year 1900. It is an interesting time, where now several departments at the University of Constantinople claim that truth may lie in realms we cannot reach through pure reason.

The last five years have seen great improvements in our military, in the number of noted economists we have produced, and in yet more improved management for our companies.

Meanwhile, Our borders and ports are more secure then ever. Our naval bases are phenomenal. And Our navy has been greatly improved. It now consists of several fleets of five battleships and ten cruisers. These fleets are the Gibraltar Fleet, the Red Sea Fleet, the East Mediterranean Fleet, the West Mediterranean Fleet, and the North Sea Fleet. The West African Fleet is under construction, and We plan to create fleets for Guyana, South Africa, the Philippines, and Oceania.

Truly this is a wonderful time to be alive.

Hail Rome!

-Senator Palaiologos

Ah, automobiles. Truly the symbol of the Empire’s progress, despite the Konstantinians’ efforts to hold it back. I bought one of them myself and even drove it to the Senate!

The Olympics! I attended one such game which was held in Athens, and the Roman athletes did not disappoint! The youth of the Empire are strong and smart, and they brought glory to all of us! Truly a great era to live in, with the Olympics back to show off the glory of our youth!

I believe that our alliance with the Ming will bear great fruit. The Ming shall help us contain the Russians in Asia as well as uplift many non-industrialized people into modernity. The communists and Jacobins though are still a threat, despite the fact that the Secret Police has been working day and night to investigate and assist in crushing rebellions before they occur. Again, I humbly recommend that reforms be passed for the welfare of the people. After all, they are all Roman citizens and must be treated appropriately, else it shall be a stain on our reputation.

~Senator Doukas


Dr. Stavridis’s Diary

18 September, 188?

I drove at once over and arrived early. Keeping my cab at the gate, I went up the avenue alone. I knocked gently and rang as quietly as possible, for I feared to disturb Loukia or her mother, and hoped to only bring a servant to the door. After a while, finding no response, I knocked and rang again, still no answer. I cursed the laziness of the servants that they should lie abed at such an hour, for it was now ten o’clock, and so rang and knocked again, but more impatiently, but still without response. Hitherto I had blamed only the servants, but now a terrible fear began to assail me. Was this desolation but another link in the chain of doom which seemed drawing tight round us? Was it indeed a house of death to which I had come, too late? I know that minutes, even seconds of delay, might mean hours of danger to Loukia, if she had had again one of those frightful relapses, and I went round the house to try if I could find by chance an entry anywhere. I could find no means of ingress. Every window and door was fastened and locked, and I returned baffled to the porch. As I did so, I heard the rapid pit-pat of a swiftly driven horse’s feet. They stopped at the gate, and a few seconds later I met Von Habsburg running up the avenue. When he saw me, he gasped out, “Zhen it vas du, und just arrived. How ist she? Are ve zoo late? Did du nicht get mein telegram?”
I answered as quickly and coherently as I could that I had only got his telegram early in the morning, and had not a minute in coming here, and that I could not make any one in the house hear me. He paused and raised his hat as he said solemnly, “Zhen ich fear ve are zoo late. Gött’s vill be done!”
With his usual recuperative energy, he went on, “Komm. If zhere be no vay open to get in, ve must make one. Time ist all in all to us now.”
We went round to the back of the house, where there was a kitchen window. The Professor took a small surgical saw from his case, and handing it to me, pointed to the iron bars which guarded the window. I attacked them at once and had very soon cut through three of them. Then with a long, thin knife we pushed back the fastening of the sashes and opened the window. I helped the Professor in, and followed him. There was no one in the kitchen or in the servants’ rooms, which were close at hand. We tried all the rooms as we went along, and in the dining room, dimly lit by rays of light through the shutters, found four servant women lying on the floor. There was no need to think them dead, for their stertorous breathing and the acrid smell of laudanum in the room left no doubt as to their condition.
Von Habsburg and I looked at each other, and as we moved away he said, “We can attend to them later.” Then we ascended to Loukia’s room. For an instant or two we paused at the door to listen, but there was no sound that we could hear. With white faces and trembling hands, we opened the door gently, and entered the room.
How shall I describe what we saw? On the bed lay two women, Loukia and her mother. The latter lay farthest in, and she was covered with a white sheet, the edge of which had been blown back by the drought through the broken window, showing the drawn, white, face, with a look of terror fixed upon it. By her side lay Loukia, with face white and still more drawn. The flowers which had been round her neck we found upon her mother’s bosom, and her throat was bare, showing the two little wounds which we had noticed before, but looking horribly white and mangled. Without a word the Professor bent over the bed, his head almost touching poor Loukia’s breast. Then he gave a quick turn of his head, as of one who listens, and leaping to his feet, he cried out to me, “It ist nicht yet too late! Schnell! Schnell! Bring zhe brandy!”
I flew downstairs and returned with it, taking care to smell and taste it, lest it, too, were drugged like the decanter of sherry which I found on the table. The maids were still breathing, but more restlessly, and I fancied that the narcotic was wearing off. I did not stay to make sure, but returned to Von Habsburg. He rubbed the brandy, as on another occasion, on her lips and gums and on her wrists and the palms of her hands. He said to me, “Ich kann do zhis, all zhat kann be at zhe present. Du go vake zhose maids. Flick zhem in zhe face vith a vet towel, und flick zhem hard. Make zhem get heat und fire und a varm bath. Zhis poor soul ist nearly as cold as zhat beside her. She vill need be heated before ve kann do anyzhing more.”
I went at once, and found little difficulty in waking three of the women. The fourth was only a young girl, and the drug had evidently affected her more strongly so I lifted her on the sofa and let her sleep.
The others were dazed at first, but as remembrance came back to them they cried and sobbed in a hysterical manner. I was stern with them, however, and would not let them talk. I told them that one life was bad enough to lose, and if they delayed they would sacrifice Miss Loukia. So, sobbing and crying they went about their way, half-clad as they were, and prepared fire and water. Fortunately, the kitchen and boiler fires were still alive, and there was no lack of hot water. We got a bath and carried Loukia out as she was and placed her in it. Whilst we were busy chafing her limbs there was a knock at the hall door. One of the maids ran off, hurried on some more clothes, and opened it. Then she returned and whispered to us that there was a gentleman who had come with a message from Senator Doukas. I bade her simply tell him that he must wait, for we could see no one now. She went away with the message, and, engrossed with our work, I clean forgot all about him.
I never saw in all my experience the Professor work in such deadly earnest. I knew, as he knew, that it was a stand-up fight with death, and in a pause told him so. He answered me in a way that I did not understand, but with the sternest look that his face could wear.
“If zhat vere all, ich vould stop here vhere ve are now, und let her fade away into peace, for ich see no light in life over her horizon.” He went on with his work with, if possible, renewed and more frenzied vigour.
Presently we both began to be conscious that the heat was beginning to be of some effect. Loukia’s heart beat a trifle more audibly to the stethoscope, and her lungs had a perceptible movement. Von Habsburg’s face almost beamed, and as we lifted her from the bath and rolled her in a hot sheet to dry her he said to me, “Zhe first gain ist ours! Check to zhe König!”
We took Loukia into another room, which had by now been prepared, and laid her in bed and forced a few drops of brandy down her throat. I noticed that Von Habsburg tied a soft silk handkerchief round her throat. She was still unconscious, and was quite as bad as, if not worse than, we had ever seen her.
Von Habsburg called in one of the women, and told her to stay with her and not to take her eyes off her till we returned, and then beckoned me out of the room.
“Ve must consult as to vhat ist to be done,” he said as we descended the stairs. In the hall he opened the dining room door, and we passed in, he closing the door carefully behind him. The shutters had been opened, but the blinds were already down, with that obedience to the etiquette of death which the Greek woman of the lower classes always rigidly observes. The room was, therefore, dimly dark. It was, however, light enough for our purposes. Von Habsburg’s sternness was somewhat relieved by a look of perplexity. He was evidently torturing his mind about something, so I waited for an instant, and he spoke.
“Vhat are ve to do now? Vhere are ve to turn for help? Ve must have another zransfusion of blüt, and zhat soon, or zhat poor fraulein’s life von’t be vorth an hour’s purchase. Du are exhausted already. Ich am exhausted too. Ich fear to zrust zhose vomen, even if zhey vould have courage to submit. Vhat are ve to do für someone vho vill open his veins for her?”
“What’s the matter with me, anyhow?”
The voice came from the sofa across the room, and its tones brought relief and joy to my heart, for they were those of Markos Quintus, the Oceanian. We didn’t notice him at all.
Von Habsburg started angrily at the first sound, but his face softened and a glad look came into his eyes as I cried out, “Markos Quintus!” and rushed towards him with outstretched hands.
“What brought you here?” I cried as our hands met.
“I guess Mike is the cause.”
He handed me a telegram: `Have not heard from Stavridis for three days, and am terribly anxious. Cannot leave. Mother still in same condition. Send me word how Loukia is. Do not delay. –Doukas.’
“I think I came just in the nick of time. You know you have only to tell me what to do.”
Von Habsburg strode forward, and took his hand, looking him straight in the eyes as he said, “A brave man’s blüt ist zhe best zhing on zhis earth vhen a voman ist in zrouble. Du’re a man und no mistake. Vell, zhe devil may vork against us für all he’s vorth, but Gött sends us men vhen ve vant zhem.”
Once again we went through that ghastly operation. I have not the heart to go through with the details. Loukia had got a terrible shock and it told on her more than before, for though plenty of blood went into her veins, her body did not respond to the treatment as well as on the other occasions. Her struggle back into life was something frightful to see and hear. However, the action of both heart and lungs improved, and Von Habsburg made a sub-cutaneous injection of morphia, as before, and with good effect. Her faint became a profound slumber. The Professor watched whilst I went downstairs with Markos Quintus, and sent one of the maids to pay off one of the cabmen who were waiting.
I left Markos lying down after having a glass of wine, and told the cook to get ready a good breakfast. Then a thought struck me, and I went back to the room where Loukia now was. When I came softly in, I found Von Habsburg with a sheet or two of note paper in his hand. He had evidently read it, and was thinking it over as he sat with his hand to his brow. There was a look of grim satisfaction in his face, as of one who has had a doubt solved. He handed me the paper saying only, “It dropped from Loukia breast vhen ve carried her to zhe bath.”
When I had read it, I stood looking at the Professor, and after a pause asked him, “In God’s name, what does it all mean? Was she, or is she, mad, or what sort of horrible danger is it?” I was so bewildered that I did not know what to say more. Von Habsburg put out his hand and took the paper, saying,
“Do nicht trouble about it now. Forget it for zhe present. Du shall know und understand it all in güt time, but it vill be later. And now vhat ist it that du came to mich to say?” This brought me back to fact, and I was all myself again.
“I came to speak about the certificate of death. If we do not act properly and wisely, there may be an inquest, and that paper would have to be produced. I am in hopes that we need have no inquest, for if we had it would surely kill poor Loukia, if nothing else did. I know, and you know, and the other doctor who attended her knows, that Mrs. Este-Ravenna had disease of the heart, and we can certify that she died of it. Let us fill up the certificate at once, and I shall take it myself to the registrar and go on to the undertaker.”
“Güt, oh mein fruend John! Vell zhought of! Truly Miss Loukia, if she be sad in zhe foes zhat beset her, ist at least happy in zhe fruends zhat love her. Eine, zwei, drei, all open zheir veins für her, besides one old man. Ah, ja, ich know, fruend John. Ich am nicht blind! Ich love du all zhe more für it! Now go.”
In the hall I met Markos Quintus, with a telegram for Michael telling him that Mrs. Este-Ravenna was dead, that Loukia also had been ill, but was now going on better, and that Von Habsburg and I were with her. I told him where I was going, and he hurried me out, but as I was going said, “When you come back, Jack, may I have two words with you all to ourselves?” I nodded in reply and went out. I found no difficulty about the registration, and arranged with the local undertaker to come up in the evening to measure for the coffin and to make arrangements.
When I got back Markos was waiting for me. I told him I would see him as soon as I knew about Loukia, and went up to her room. She was still sleeping, and the Professor seemingly had not moved from his seat at her side. From his putting his finger to his lips, I gathered that he expected her to wake before long and was afraid of fore-stalling nature. So I went down to Markos and took him into the breakfast room, where the blinds were not drawn down, and which was a little more cheerful, or rather less cheerless, than the other rooms.
When we were alone, he said to me, “John Stavridis, I don’t want to shove myself in anywhere where I’ve no right to be, but this is no ordinary case. You know I loved that girl and wanted to marry her, but although that’s all past and gone, I can’t help feeling anxious about her all the same. What is it that’s wrong with her? The German, and a fine old fellow he is, I can see that, said that time you two came into the room, that you must have another transfusion of blood, and that both you and he were exhausted. Now I know well that you medical men speak in camera, and that a man must not expect to know what they consult about in private. But this is no common matter, and whatever it is, I have done my part. Is not that so?”
“That’s so,” I said, and he went on.
“I take it that both you and Von Habsburg had done already what I did today. Is not that so?”
“That’s so.”
“And I guess Mike was in it too. When I saw him four days ago down at his own place he looked queer. I have not seen anything pulled down so quick since I was on the Pampas and had a mare that I was fond of go to grass all in a night. One of those big bats that they call vampires had got at her in the night, and what with his gorge and the vein left open, there wasn’t enough blood in her to let her stand up, and I had to put a bullet through her as she lay. Jack, if you may tell me without betraying confidence, Michael was the first, is not that so?”
As he spoke the poor fellow looked terribly anxious. He was in a torture of suspense regarding the woman he loved, and his utter ignorance of the terrible mystery which seemed to surround her intensified his pain. His very heart was bleeding, and it took all the manhood of him, and there was a royal lot of it, too, to keep him from breaking down. I paused before answering, for I felt that I must not betray anything which the Professor wished kept secret, but already he knew so much, and guessed so much, that there could be no reason for not answering, so I answered in the same phrase.
“That’s so.”
“And how long has this been going on?”
“About ten days.”
“Ten days! Then I guess, John Stavridis, that that poor pretty creature that we all love has had put into her veins within that time the blood of four strong men. Man alive, her whole body wouldn’t hold it.” Then coming close to me, he spoke in a fierce half-whisper. “What took it out?”
I shook my head. “That,” I said, “is the crux. Von Habsburg is simply frantic about it, and I am at my wits’ end. I can’t even hazard a guess. There has been a series of little circumstances which have thrown out all our calculations as to Loukia being properly watched. But these shall not occur again. Here we stay until all be well, or ill.”
Markos held out his hand. “Count me in,” he said. “You and the German will tell me what to do, and I’ll do it.”
When she woke late in the afternoon, Loukia’s first movement was to feel in her breast, and to my surprise, produced the paper which Von Habsburg had given me to read. The careful Professor had replaced it where it had come from, lest on waking she should be alarmed. Her eyes then lit on Von Habsburg and on me too, and gladdened. Then she looked round the room, and seeing where she was, shuddered. She gave a loud cry, and put her poor thin hands before her pale face.
We both understood what was meant, that she had realized to the full her mother’s death. So we tried what we could to comfort her. Doubtless sympathy eased her somewhat, but she was very low in thought and spirit, and wept silently and weakly for a long time. We told her that either or both of us would now remain with her all the time, and that seemed to comfort her. Towards dusk she fell into a doze. Here a very odd thing occurred. Whilst still asleep she took the paper from her breast and tore it in two. Von Habsburg stepped over and took the pieces from her. All the same, however, she went on with the action of tearing, as though the material were still in her hands. Finally she lifted her hands and opened them as though scattering the fragments. Von Habsburg seemed surprised, and his brows gathered as if in thought, but he said nothing.

19 September.

All last night she slept fitfully, being always afraid to sleep, and something weaker when she woke from it. The Professor and I took in turns to watch, and we never left her for a moment unattended. Markos Quintus said nothing about his intention, but I knew that all night long he patrolled round and round the house.
When the day came, its searching light showed the ravages in poor Loukia’s strength. She was hardly able to turn her head, and the little nourishment which she could take seemed to do her no good. At times she slept, and both Von Habsburg and I noticed the difference in her, between sleeping and waking. Whilst asleep she looked stronger, although more haggard, and her breathing was softer. Her open mouth showed the pale gums drawn back from the teeth, which looked positively longer and sharper than usual. When she woke the softness of her eyes evidently changed the expression, for she looked her own self, although a dying one. In the afternoon she asked for Michael, and we telegraphed for him. Markos went off to meet him at the station.
When he arrived it was nearly six o’clock, and the sun was setting full and warm, and the red light streamed in through the window and gave more color to the pale cheeks. When he saw her, Michael was simply choking with emotion, and none of us could speak. In the hours that had passed, the fits of sleep, or the comatose condition that passed for it, had grown more frequent, so that the pauses when conversation was possible were shortened. Michael’s presence, however, seemed to act as a stimulant. She rallied a little, and spoke to him more brightly than she had done since we arrived. He too pulled himself together, and spoke as cheerily as he could, so that the best was made of everything.
It is now nearly one o’clock, and he and Von Hasburg are sitting with her. I am to relieve them in a quarter of an hour, and I am entering this on Loukia’s phonograph. Until six o’clock they are to try to rest. I fear that tomorrow will end our watching, for the shock has been too great. The poor child cannot rally. God help us all.

Letter: Mara Dalassenos to Loukia Este-Ravenna (Unopened by her)

17 September, 188?

My dearest Loukia,

It seems an age since I heard from you, or indeed since I wrote. You will pardon me, I know, for all my faults when you have read all my budget of news. Well, I got my husband back all right. When we arrived at [REDACTED] there was a carriage waiting for us, and in it, though he had an attack of gout, Strategos Girakos. He took us to his house, where there were rooms for us all nice and comfortable, and we dined together. After dinner Strategos Girakos said,
`My dears, I want to drink your health and prosperity, and may every blessing attend you both. I knew you both from children, and have, with love and pride, seen you grow up; I trained Ioannes myself, and to think he is also a strategosnow while he is still in his youth! Now I want you to make your home here with me. I have left to me neither chick nor child. All are gone, and in my will I have left both of you everything.’ I cried, Loukia dear, as Ioannes and the old man clasped hands. Our evening was a very, very happy one.
So here we are, installed in this beautiful old house, and from both my bedroom and the drawing room I can see the great elms of the cathedral close, with their great black stems standing out against the old yellow stone of the cathedral, and I can hear the rooks overhead cawing and cawing and chattering and chattering and gossiping all day, after the manner of rooks–and humans. I am busy, I need not tell you, arranging things and housekeeping. Ioannes and Strategos Girakos are busy all day, for now that Ioannes is a strategos, Strategos Girakos wants to tell him all about the recent rebellions that followed in the wake of Konstantinos’s failed coup.
How is your dear mother getting on? I wish I could run up to town for a day or two to see you, dear, but I, dare not go yet, with so much on my shoulders, and Ioannes wants looking after still. He is beginning to put some flesh on his bones again, but he was terribly weakened by the long illness. Even now he sometimes starts out of his sleep in a sudden way and awakes all trembling until I can coax him back to his usual placidity. However, thank God, these occasions grow less frequent as the days go on, and they will in time pass away altogether, I trust. And now I have told you my news, let me ask yours. When are you to be married, and where, and who is to perform the ceremony, and what are you to wear, and is it to be a public or private wedding? Tell me all about it, dear, tell me all about everything, for there is nothing which interests you which will not be dear to me. Ioannes asks me to send his `respectful duty’, but I do not think that is good enough from the newest member of the General Staff. And so, as you love me, and he loves me, and I love you with all the moods and tenses of the verb, I send you simply his `love’ instead. Goodbye, my dearest Loukia, and blessings on you.


Mara Dalassenos

Report from Patrikios Herschel, MD, MRCSLK, QCPI, Etc., Etc., to John Stavridis, MD

20 September 188?

My dear Sir:

In accordance with your wishes, I enclose report of the conditions of everything left in my charge. With regard to the patient Renato there is more to say. He has had another outbreak, which might have had a dreadful ending, but which, as it fortunately happened, was unattended with any unhappy results. This afternoon a carrier’s cart with two men made a call at the empty house whose grounds abut on ours, the house to which, you will remember, the patient twice ran away. The men stopped at our gate to ask the porter their way, as they were strangers.
I was myself looking out of the study window, having a smoke after dinner, and saw one of them come up to the house. As he passed the window of Renato’s room, the patient began to rate him from within, and called him all the foul names he could lay his tongue to. The man, who seemed a decent fellow enough, contented himself by telling him to `shut up for a foul-mouthed beggar’, whereon our man accused him of robbing him and wanting to murder him and said that he would hinder him if he were to swing for it. I opened the window and signed to the man not to notice, so he contented himself after looking the place over and making up his mind as to what kind of place he had got to by saying, `Lor’ bless yer, sir, I wouldn’t mind what was said to me in a bloomin’ madhouse. I pity ye and the guv’nor for havin’ to live in the house with a wild beast like that.’
Then he asked his way civilly enough, and I told him where the gate of the empty house was. He went away followed by threats and curses and revilings from our man. I went down to see if I could make out any cause for his anger, since he is usually such a well-behaved man, and except his violent fits nothing of the kind had ever occurred. I found him, to my astonishment, quite composed and most genial in his manner. I tried to get him to talk of the incident, but he blandly asked me questions as to what I meant, and led me to believe that he was completely oblivious of the affair. It was, I am sorry to say, however, only another instance of his cunning, for within half an hour I heard of him again. This time he had broken out through the window of his room, and was running down the avenue. I called to the attendants to follow me, and ran after him, for I feared he was intent on some mischief. My fear was justified when I saw the same cart which had passed before coming down the road, having on it some great wooden boxes. The men were wiping their foreheads, and were flushed in the face, as if with violent exercise. Before I could get up to him, the patient rushed at them, and pulling one of them off the cart, began to knock his head against the ground. If I had not seized him just at the moment, I believe he would have killed the man there and then. The other fellow jumped down and struck him over the head with the butt end of his heavy whip. It was a horrible blow, but he did not seem to mind it, but seized him also, and struggled with the three of us, pulling us to and fro as if we were kittens. You know I am no lightweight, and the others were both burly men. At first he was silent in his fighting, but as we began to master him, and the attendants were putting a strait waistcoat on him, he began to shout, `I’ll frustrate them! They shan’t rob me! They shan’t murder me by inches! I’ll fight for my Lord and Master!’ and all sorts of similar incoherent ravings. It was with very considerable difficulty that they got him back to the house and put him in the padded room. One of the attendants, Antonios, had a finger broken. However, I set it all right, and he is going on well.
The two carriers were at first loud in their threats of actions for damages, and promised to rain all the penalties of the law on us. Their threats were, however, mingled with some sort of indirect apology for the defeat of the two of them by a feeble madman. They said that if it had not been for the way their strength had been spent in carrying and raising the heavy boxes to the cart they would have made short work of him. They gave as another reason for their defeat the extraordinary state of drouth to which they had been reduced by the dusty nature of their occupation and the reprehensible distance from the scene of their labors of any place of public entertainment. I quite understood their drift, and after a stiff glass of strong grog, or rather more of the same, and with each a sovereign in hand, they made light of the attack, and swore that they would encounter a worse madman any day for the pleasure of meeting so `bloomin’ good a bloke’ as your correspondent. I took their names and addresses, in case they might be needed. They are as follows: Jack Zorbas, of Taronite’s Rents, Emperor Konstantinos XIV’s Road, [REDACTED], and Theodoros Stamatelopoulos, Procopius Dimas’s Row, Guide Court, [REDACTED]. They are both in the employment of Heraclios & Sons, Moving and Shipment Company, Orange Master’s Yard, [REDACTED].
I shall report to you any matter of interest occurring here, and shall wire you at once if there is anything of importance.
Believe me, dear Sir, yours faithfully,
Patrikios Herschel

Letter, Mara Dalassenos to Loukia Este-Ravenna (Unopened by her)

18 September 188?

My dearest Loukia,

Such a sad blow has befallen us. Strategos Girakos has died very suddenly. Some may not think it so sad for us, but we had both come to so love him that it really seems as though we had lost a father. I never knew either father or mother, so that the dear old man’s death is a real blow to me. Ioannes is greatly distressed. It is not only that he feels sorrow, deep sorrow, for the dear, good man who has befriended him all his life, and now at the end has treated him like his own son and left him a fortune which to people of our modest bringing up (remember, he is not of the main Dalassenos branch) is wealth beyond the dream of avarice, but Ioannes feels it on another account. He says the amount of responsibility which it puts upon him makes him nervous. He begins to doubt himself. I try to cheer him up, and my belief in him helps him to have a belief in himself. But it is here that the grave shock that he experienced tells upon him the most. Oh, it is too hard that a sweet, simple, noble, strong nature such as his, a nature which enabled him by our dear, good friend’s aid to rise from common infantryman to kataphraktos to strategos in just a few years, should be so injured that the very essence of its strength is gone. Forgive me, dear, if I worry you with my troubles in the midst of your own happiness, but Loukia dear, I must tell someone, for the strain of keeping up a brave and cheerful appearance to Ioannes tries me, and I have no one here that I can confide in. I dread coming up to Constantinople, as we must do that day after tomorrow, for poor Strategos Girakos left in his will that he was to be buried in the grave with his father. As there are no relations at all, Ioannes will have to be chief mourner. I shall try to run over to see you, dearest, if only for a few minutes. Forgive me for troubling you. With all blessings,
Your loving

Mara Dalassenos

Dr. Stavridis’s Diary

20 September.

Only resolution and habit can let me make an entry tonight. I am too miserable, too low spirited, too sick of the world and all in it, including life itself, that I would not care if I heard this moment the flapping of the wings of the angel of death. And he has been flapping those grim wings to some purpose of late, Loukia’s mother and Michael’s mother, and now . . .Let me get on with my work.
I duly relieved Von Habsburg in his watch over Loukia. We wanted Michael to go to rest also, but he refused at first. It was only when I told him that we should want him to help us during the day, and that we must not all break down for want of rest, lest Loukia should suffer, that he agreed to go.
Von Habsburg was very kind to him. “Komm, mein kinder,” he said. “Komm vith mich. Du are sick und veak, und have had much sorrow und much mental pain, as vell as zhat tax on your strength zhat ve know of. Du must nicht be alone, für to be alone ist to be full of fears und alarms. Komm to zhe drawing room, vhere zhere ist a big fire, und zhere are zwei sofas. Du shall lie on eine, and ich on zhe other, und our sympathy vill be komfort to each other, even zhough ve do nicht speak, und even if ve sleep.”
Michael went off with him, casting back a longing look on Loukia’s face, which lay in her pillow, almost whiter than the lawn. She lay quite still, and I looked around the room to see that all was as it should be. I could see that the Professor had carried out in this room, as in the other, his purpose of using the garlic. The whole of the window sashes reeked with it, and round Loukia’s neck, over the silk handkerchief which Von Habsburg made her keep on, was a rough chaplet of the same odorous flowers.
Loukia was breathing somewhat stertorously, and her face was at its worst, for the open mouth showed the pale gums. Her teeth, in the dim, uncertain light, seemed longer and sharper than they had been in the morning. In particular, by some trick of the light, the canine teeth looked longer and sharper than the rest, like fangs.
I sat down beside her, and presently she moved uneasily. At the same moment there came a sort of dull flapping or buffeting at the window. I went over to it softly, and peeped out by the corner of the blind. There was a full moonlight, and I could see that the noise was made by a great bat, which wheeled around, doubtless attracted by the light, although so dim, and every now and again struck the window with its wings. When I came back to my seat, I found that Loukia had moved slightly, and had torn away the garlic flowers from her throat. I replaced them as well as I could, and sat watching her.
Presently she woke, and I gave her food, as Von Habsburg had prescribed. She took but a little, and that languidly. There did not seem to be with her now the unconscious struggle for life and strength that had hitherto so marked her illness. It struck me as curious that the moment she became conscious she pressed the garlic flowers close to her. It was certainly odd that whenever she got into that lethargic state, with the stertorous breathing, she put the flowers from her, but that when she waked she clutched them close. There was no possibility of making any mistake about this, for in the long hours that followed, she had many spells of sleeping and waking and repeated both actions many times.
At six o’clock Von Habsburg came to relieve me. Michael had then fallen into a doze, and he mercifully let him sleep on. When he saw Loukia’s face I could hear the sissing indraw of breath, and he said to me in a sharp whisper. “Draw up zhe blind. Ich vant light!” Then he bent down, and, with his face almost touching Lucy’s, examined her carefully. He removed the flowers and lifted the silk handkerchief from her throat. As he did so he started back and I could hear his ejaculation, “Mein Gött [sic]!” as it was smothered in his throat. I bent over and looked, too, and as I noticed some queer chill came over me. The wounds on the throat had absolutely disappeared.
For fully five minutes Von Habsburg stood looking at her, with his face at its sternest. Then he turned to me and said calmly, “She ist dying. It vill nicht be long now. It vill be much difference, mark mich, vhether she dies konscious or in her sleep. Vake zhat poor man, und let him come und see zhe last. He trusts us, und ve have promised him.”
I went to the dining room and waked him. He was dazed for a moment, but when he saw the sunlight streaming in through the edges of the shutters he thought he was late, and expressed his fear. I assured him that Loukia was still asleep, but told him as gently as I could that both Von Habsburg and I feared that the end was near. He covered his face with his hands, and slid down on his knees by the sofa, where he remained, perhaps a minute, with his head buried, praying, whilst his shoulders shook with grief. I took him by the hand and raised him up. “Come,” I said, “my dear old fellow, summon all your fortitude. It will be best and easiest for her.”
When we came into Loukia’s room I could see that Von Habsburg had, with his usual forethought, been putting matters straight and making everything look as pleasing as possible. He had even brushed Loukia’s hair, so that it lay on the pillow in its usual sunny ripples. When we came into the room she opened her eyes, and seeing him, whispered softly, “Michael! Oh, my love, I am so glad you have come!”
He was stooping to kiss her, when Von Habsburg motioned him back. “Nein,” he whispered, “nicht yet! Hold her hand, it vill comfort her more.”
So Michael took her hand and knelt beside her, and she looked her best, with all the soft lines matching the angelic beauty of her eyes. Then gradually her eyes closed, and she sank to sleep. For a little bit her breast heaved softly, and her breath came and went like a tired child’s.
And then insensibly there came the strange change which I had noticed in the night. Her breathing grew stertorous, the mouth opened, and the pale gums, drawn back, made the teeth look longer and sharper than ever. In a sort of sleepwaking, vague, unconscious way she opened her eyes, which were now dull and hard at once, and said in a soft, voluptuous voice, such as I had never heard from her lips, “Michael! Oh, my love, I am so glad you have come! Kiss me!”
Michael bent eagerly over to kiss her, but at that instant Von Habsburg, who, like me, had been startled by her voice, swooped upon him, and catching him by the neck with both hands, dragged him back with a fury of strength which I never thought he could have possessed, and actually hurled him almost across the room. “Nicht on your life!” he said, “nicht für your living soul und hers!” And he stood between them like a lion at bay.
Michael was so taken aback that he did not for a moment know what to do or say, and before any impulse of violence could seize him he realized the place and the occasion, and stood silent, waiting.
I kept my eyes fixed on Loukia, as did Von Habsburg, and we saw a spasm as of rage flit like a shadow over her face. The sharp teeth clamped together. Then her eyes closed, and she breathed heavily.
Very shortly after she opened her eyes in all their softness, and putting out her poor, pale, thin hand, took Von Habsburg’s great brown one, drawing it close to her, she kissed it. “My true friend,” she said, in a faint voice, but with untellable pathos, “My true friend, and his! Oh, guard him, and give me peace!”
“Ich swear it!” he said solemnly, kneeling beside her and holding up his hand, as one who registers an oath. Then he turned to Michael, and said to him, “Komm, mein kinder, take her hand in yours, und kiss her on zhe forehead, und only once.”
Their eyes met instead of their lips, and so they parted. Loukia’s eyes closed, and Von Habsburg, who had been watching closely, took Michael’s arm, and drew him away.
And then Loukia’s breathing became stertorous again, and all at once it ceased.
“It is all over,” said Von Habsburg. “She is dead!”
I took Michael by the arm, and led him away to the drawing room, where he sat down, and covered his face with his hands, sobbing in a way that nearly broke me down to see.
I went back to the room, and found Von Habsburg looking at poor Loukia, and his face was sterner than ever. Some change had come over her body. Death had given back part of her beauty, for her brow and cheeks had recovered some of their flowing lines. Even the lips had lost their deadly pallor. It was as if the blood, no longer needed for the working of the heart, had gone to make the harshness of death as little rude as might be.
“Ve zhought her dying vhilst she slept, und sleeping vhen she died.”
I stood beside Von Habsburg, and said, “Ah well, poor girl, there is peace for her at last. It is the end!”
He turned to me, and said with grave solemnity, “Nicht so, alas! Nicht so. It ist only zhe beginning!”
When I asked him what he meant, he only shook his head and answered, “Ve can do nothing as yet. Vait und see.”

Dr. Stavridis’s Diary (continued)

The funeral was arranged for the next succeeding day, so that Loukia and her mother might be buried together. I attended to all the ghastly formalities, and the urbane undertaker proved that his staff was afflicted, or blessed, with something of his own obsequious suavity. Even the woman who performed the last offices for the dead remarked to me, in a confidential, brother-professional way, when she had come out from the death chamber,
“She makes a very beautiful corpse, sir. It’s quite a privilege to attend on her. It’s not too much to say that she will do credit to our establishment!”
I noticed that Von Habsburg never kept far away. This was possible from the disordered state of things in the household. There were no relatives at hand, and as Michael had to be back the next day to attend at his mother’s funeral, we were unable to notify anyone who should have been bidden. Under the circumstances, Von Habsburg and I took it upon ourselves to examine papers, etc. He insisted upon looking over Loukia’s papers himself. I asked him why, for I feared that he, being a foreigner, might not be quite aware of Imperial legal requirements, and so might in ignorance make some unnecessary trouble.
He answered me, “Ich know, ich know. Du forget zhat ich am a lawyer as vell as a doktor. But zhis ist nicht altogether für zhe law. Du knew zhat, vhen du avoided zhe coroner. Ich have more zhan him to avoid. Zhere may be papers more, such as zhis.”
As he spoke he took from his pocket book the memorandum which had been in Loukia’s breast, and which she had torn in her sleep.
“Vhen du find anything of zhe solicitor vho ist für zhe late Mrs. Este-Ravenna, seal all her papers, und vrite him tonight. Für mich, ich vatch here in zhe room und in Frau Loukia’s old room all night, und ich meinself search für vhat may be. It ist nicht vell zhat her very zhoughts go into zhe hands of strangers.”
I went on with my part of the work, and in another half hour had found the name and address of Mrs. Este-Ravenna’s solicitor and had written to him. All the poor lady’s papers were in order. Explicit directions regarding the place of burial were given. I had hardly sealed the letter, when, to my surprise, Von Habsburg walked into the room, saying,
“Kann ich help du fruend John? Ich am free, und if ich may, mein service ist to du.”
“Have you got what you looked for?” I asked.
To which he replied, “Ich did not look für any specific zhing. Icj only hoped to find, und find I have, all zhat zhere vas, only some letters und a few memoranda, und a diary neu begun. But ich have zhem here, und ve shall for zhe present say nothing of zhem. Ich shall see zhat poor lad tomorrow evening, und, vith his sanction, ich shall use some.”
When we had finished the work in hand, he said to me, “Und now, fruend John, ich think ve may to bed. Ve vant sleep, both du and ich, und rest to recuperate. Tomorrow ve shall have much to do, but für zhe tonight zhere ist no need of us. Alas!”
Before turning in we went to look at poor Loukia. The undertaker had certainly done his work well, for the room was turned into a small chapelle ardente. There was a wilderness of beautiful white flowers, and death was made as little repulsive as might be. The end of the winding sheet was laid over the face. When the Professor bent over and turned it gently back, we both started at the beauty before us. The tall wax candles showing a sufficient light to note it well. All Lucy’s loveliness had come back to her in death, and the hours that had passed, instead of leaving traces of `decay’s effacing fingers’, had but restored the beauty of life, till positively I could not believe my eyes that I was looking at a corpse.
The Professor looked sternly grave. He had not loved her as I had, and there was no need for tears in his eyes. He said to me, “Remain till ich return,” and left the room. He came back with a handful of wild garlic from the box waiting in the hall, but which had not been opened, and placed the flowers amongst the others on and around the bed. Then he took from his neck, inside his collar, a little gold crucifix, and placed it over the mouth. He restored the sheet to its place, and we came away.
I was undressing in my own room, when, with a premonitory tap at the door, he entered, and at once began to speak.
“Tomorrow ich vant you to bring me, before nacht, a set of post-mortem knives.”
“Must we make an autopsy?” I asked.
“Ja and nein. Ich vant to operate, but nicht vhat you zhink. Let mich tell du now, but nicht a vord to another. Ich vant to cut off her head und take out her heart. Ah! Du a surgeon, und so shocked! Du, vhom ich have seen vith no tremble of hand or heart, do operations of life und death zhat make zhe rest shudder. Oh, but ich must nicht forget, mein dear fruend John, zhat du loved her, und ich have nicht forgotten it für ist ich zhat shall operate, and you must not help. Ich vould like to do it tonacht, but für Michael ich must nicht. He vill be free after his mother’s funeral tomorrow, und he vill vant to see her, to see it. Zhen, vhen she is coffined ready für zhe next day, du and ich shall komm vhen alles sleep. Ve shall unscrew zhe koffin lid, und shall do our operation, und zhen replace alles, so zhat none know, save ve alone.”
“But why do it at all? The girl is dead. Why mutilate her poor body without need? And if there is no necessity for a post-mortem and nothing to gain by it, no good to her, to us, to science, to human knowledge, why do it? Without such it is monstrous.”
For answer he put his hand on my shoulder, and said, with infinite tenderness and rare lack of a German accent, “Friend John, I pity your poor bleeding heart, and I love you the more because it does so bleed. If I could, I would take on myself the burden that you do bear. But there are things that you know not, but that you shall know, and bless me for knowing, though they are not pleasant things. John, my child, you have been my friend now many years, and yet did you ever know me to do any without good cause? I may err, I am but man, but I believe in all I do. Was it not for these causes that you send for me when the great trouble came? Yes! Were you not amazed, nay horrified, when I would not let Michael kiss his love, though she was dying, and snatched him away by all my strength? Yes! And yet you saw how she thanked me, with her so beautiful dying eyes, her voice, too, so weak, and she kiss my rough old hand and bless me? Yes! And did you not hear me swear promise to her, that so she closed her eyes grateful? Yes!
“Well, I have good reason now for all I want to do. You have for many years trust me. You have believed me weeks past, when there be things so strange that you might have well doubt. Believe me yet a little, friend John. If you trust me not, then I must tell what I think, and that is not perhaps well. And if I work, as work I shall, no matter trust or no trust, without my friend trust in me, I work with heavy heart and feel, oh so lonely when I want all help and courage that may be!” He paused a moment and went on solemnly, “Friend John, there are strange and terrible days before us. Let us not be two, but one, that so we work to a good end. Will you not have faith in me?”
I shook his hand, and promised him. I held my door open as he went away, and watched him go to his room and close the door. As I stood without moving, I saw one of the maids pass silently along the passage, she had her back to me, so did not see me, and go into the room where Loukia lay. The sight touched me. Devotion is so rare, and we are so grateful to those who show it unasked to those we love. Here was a poor girl putting aside the terrors which she naturally had of death to go watch alone by the bier of the mistress whom she loved, so that the poor clay might not be lonely till laid to eternal rest.
I must have slept long and soundly, for it was broad daylight when Von Habsburg waked me by coming into my room. He came over to my bedside and said, “Du need nicht trouble about zhe knives. Ve shall nicht do it.”
“Why not?” I asked. For his solemnity of the night before had greatly impressed me.
“Because,” he said sternly, “it ist too late, or too early. See!” Here he held up the little golden crucifix.
“Zhis vas stolen in zhe nacht.”
“How stolen,” I asked in wonder, “since you have it now?”
“Because ich get it back from zhe vorthless vretch vho stole it, from zhe frau vho robbed zhe dead und zhe living. Her punishment vill surely come, but nicht zhrough mich. She knew nicht altogether vhat she did, und zhus unknowing, she only stole. Now ve must vait.” He went away on the word, leaving me with a new mystery to think of, a new puzzle to grapple with.
The forenoon was a dreary time, but at noon the solicitor came, Mr. Makarios. He was very genial and very appreciative of what we had done, and took off our hands all cares as to details. During lunch he told us that Mrs. Este-Ravenna had for some time expected sudden death from her heart, and had put her affairs in absolute order. He informed us that, with the exception of a certain entailed property of Loukia’s father which now, in default of direct issue, went back to a distant branch of the family, the whole estate, real and personal, was left absolutely to Senator Michael Doukas.

He did not remain long, but said he would look in later in the day and see Senator Doukas. His coming, however, had been a certain comfort to us, since it assured us that we should not have to dread hostile criticism as to any of our acts. Michael was expected at five o’clock, so a little before that time we visited the death chamber. It was so in very truth, for now both mother and daughter lay in it. The undertaker, true to his craft, had made the best display he could of his goods, and there was a mortuary air about the place that lowered our spirits at once.
Von Habsburg ordered the former arrangement to be adhered to, explaining that, as Doux Doukas was coming very soon, it would be less harrowing to his feelings to see all that was left of his fiancee quite alone.
The undertaker seemed shocked at his own stupidity and exerted himself to restore things to the condition in which we left them the night before, so that when Michael came such shocks to his feelings as we could avoid were saved.
Poor fellow! He looked desperately sad and broken. Even his stalwart manhood seemed to have shrunk somewhat under the strain of his much-tried emotions. He had, I knew, been very genuinely and devotedly attached to his mother, and to lose her, and at such a time, was a bitter blow to him. With me he was warm as ever, and to Von Habsburg he was sweetly courteous. But I could not help seeing that there was some constraint with him. The professor noticed it too, and motioned me to bring him upstairs. I did so, and left him at the door of the room, as I felt he would like to be quite alone with her, but he took my arm and led me in, saying huskily,
“You loved her too, old fellow. She told me all about it, and there was no friend had a closer place in her heart than you. I don’t know how to thank you for all you have done for her. I can’t think yet . . .”
Here he suddenly broke down, and threw his arms round my shoulders and laid his head on my breast, crying, “Oh, Jack! Jack! What shall I do? The whole of life seems gone from me all at once, and there is nothing in the wide world for me to live for.”
I comforted him as well as I could. In such cases men do not need much expression. A grip of the hand, the tightening of an arm over the shoulder, a sob in unison, are expressions of sympathy dear to a man’s heart. I stood still and silent till his sobs died away, and then I said softly to him, “Come and look at her.”
Together we moved over to the bed, and I lifted the lawn from her face. God! How beautiful she was. Every hour seemed to be enhancing her loveliness. It frightened and amazed me somewhat. And as for Michael, he fell to trembling, and finally was shaken with doubt as with an ague. At last, after a long pause, he said to me in a faint whisper, “Jack, is she really dead?”
I assured him sadly that it was so, and went on to suggest, for I felt that such a horrible doubt should not have life for a moment longer than I could help, that it often happened that after death faces become softened and even resolved into their youthful beauty, that this was especially so when death had been preceded by any acute or prolonged suffering. I seemed to quite do away with any doubt, and after kneeling beside the couch for a while and looking at her lovingly and long, he turned aside. I told him that that must be goodbye, as the coffin had to be prepared, so he went back and took her dead hand in his and kissed it, and bent over and kissed her forehead. He came away, fondly looking back over his shoulder at her as he came.
I left him in the drawing room, and told Von Habsburg that he had said goodbye, so the latter went to the kitchen to tell the undertaker’s men to proceed with the preparations and to screw up the coffin. When he came out of the room again I told him of Michael question, and he replied, “Ich am nicht surprised. Just now ich doubted für a moment meinself!”
We all dined together, and I could see that poor Mike was trying to make the best of things. Von Habsburg had been silent all dinner time, but when we had lit our cigars he said, “Senator . . ., but Michael interrupted him.
“No, no, not that, for God’s sake! Not yet at any rate. Forgive me, sir. I did not mean to speak offensively. It is only because my loss is so recent.”
The Professor answered very sweetly, “Ich only used zhat name because ich vas in doubt. Ich must nichtkcall du `Mr.’ und ich have grown to love du, ja, mein dear boy, to love du, as Michael.”
Michael held out his hand, and took the old man’s warmly. “Call me what you will,” he said. “I hope I may always have the title of a friend. And let me say that I am at a loss for words to thank you for your goodness to my poor dear.” He paused a moment, and went on, “I know that she understood your goodness even better than I do. And if I was rude or in any way wanting at that time you acted so, you remember,”– the Professor nodded–“You must forgive me.”
He answered with a grave kindness and almost perfect Greek, “I know it was hard for you to quite trust me then, for to trust such violence needs to understand, and I take it that you do not, that you cannot, trust me now, for you do not yet understand. And there may be more times when I shall want you to trust when you cannot, and may not, and must not yet understand. But the time will come when your trust shall be whole and complete in me, and when you shall understand as though the sunlight himself shone through. Then you shall bless me from first to last for your own sake, and for the sake of others, and for her dear sake to whom I swore to protect.”
“And indeed, indeed, sir,” said Michael warmly. “I shall in all ways trust you. I know and believe you have a very noble heart, and you are Jack’s friend, and you were hers. You shall do what you like.”
The Professor cleared his throat a couple of times, as though about to speak, and finally said, “May ich ask du something now?”
“Du know zhat Mrs. Este-Ravenna left du all her property?”
“No, poor dear. I never thought of it.”
“And as it is all yours, you have a right to deal with it as you will. I want you to give me permission to read all Miss Lucy’s papers and letters and to hold on to them temporarily. It is a hard thing that I ask, but you will do it, will you not, for Loukia’s sake?”
Michael spoke out heartily, like his old self, “Dr. Von Habsburg, you may do what you will. I feel that in saying this I am doing what my dear one would have approved. I shall not trouble you with questions till the time comes.”
The old Professor stood up as he said solemnly, “And you are right. There will be pain for us all, but it will not be all pain, nor will this pain be the last. We and you too, you most of all, dear boy, will have to pass through the bitter water before we reach the sweet. But we must be brave of heart and unselfish, and do our duty, and all will be well!”
I slept on a sofa in Michael’s room that night. Von Habsburg did not go to bed at all. He went to and fro, as if patrolling the house, and was never out of sight of the room where Loukia lay in her coffin, strewn with the wild garlic flowers, which sent through the odor of lily and rose, a heavy, overpowering smell into the night.

Mara Dalassenos’s Journal

22 September 189?

In the train to Exeter. Jonathan sleeping. It seems only yesterday that the last entry was made, and yet how much between then (ten years or so!), in Constantinople and all the world before me, Ioannes away and no news of him, and now, married to Ioannes, Ioannes a strategos, rich, master of his armies and his command, Mr. Girakos dead and buried, and Ioannes with another attack that may harm him. Some day he may ask me about it. Down it all goes. I am rusty in my shorthand, see what unexpected prosperity does for us, so it may be as well to freshen it up again with an exercise anyhow.
The service was very simple and very solemn. There were only ourselves and the servants there, one or two old friends of his from Nicaea, his Constantinople agent, and a gentleman representing Sir John Papadimitriou, a retired strategos who was also friends with Girakos. Ioannes and I stood hand in hand, and we felt that our best and dearest friend was gone from us.
We were taking a bus to Heraclius Park Corner. Ioannes thought it would interest me to go into the Row for a while, so we sat down. But there were very few people there, and it was sad-looking and desolate to see so many empty chairs. It made us think of the empty chair at home. So we got up and walked down to Hippodrome District. Ioannes was holding me by the arm, the way he used to in the old days before I went to school and he went off to military academy. I felt it very improper, for you can’t go on for some years teaching etiquette and decorum to other girls without the pedantry of it biting into yourself a bit. But it was Ioannes, and he was my husband, and we didn’t know anybody who saw us, and we didn’t care if they did, so on we walked. I was looking at a very beautiful girl, in a big cart-wheel hat, sitting in a veronica outside Julianos’s, when I felt Ioannes clutch my arm so tight that he hurt me, and he said under his breath, “My God!”
I am always anxious about Ioannes, for I fear that some nervous fit may upset him again. So I turned to him quickly, and asked him what it was that disturbed him.
He was very pale, and his eyes seemed bulging out as, half in terror and half in amazement, he gazed at a tall, thin man, with a beaky nose and black moustache and pointed beard, who was also observing the pretty girl. He was looking at her so hard that he did not see either of us, and so I had a good view of him. His face was not a good face. It was hard, and cruel, and sensual, and big white teeth, that looked all the whiter because his lips were so red, were pointed like an animal’s. Ioannes kept staring at him, till I was afraid he would notice. I feared he might take it ill, he looked so fierce and nasty. I asked Ioannes why he was disturbed, and he answered, evidently thinking that I knew as much about it as he did, “Do you see who it is?”
“No, dear,” I said. “I don’t know him, who is it?” His answer seemed to shock and thrill me, for it was said as if he did not know that it was me, Mara, to whom he was speaking. “It is the man himself!”
The poor dear was evidently terrified at something, very greatly terrified. I do believe that if he had not had me to lean on and to support him he would have sunk down. He kept staring. A man came out of the shop with a small parcel, and gave it to the lady, who then drove off. The dark man kept his eyes fixed on her, and when the carriage moved up Hippodrome District he followed in the same direction, and hailed a hansom. Ioannes kept looking after him, and said, as if to himself,
“I believe it is the Count, but he has grown young. My God, if this be so! Oh, my God! My God! If only I knew! If only I knew!” He was distressing himself so much that I feared to keep his mind on the subject by asking him any questions, so I remained silent. I drew away quietly, and he, holding my arm, came easily. We walked a little further, and then went in and sat for a while in the Green Park. It was a hot day for autumn, and there was a comfortable seat in a shady place. After a few minutes’ staring at nothing, Jonathan’s eyes closed, and he went quickly into a sleep, with his head on my shoulder. I thought it was the best thing for him, so did not disturb him. In about twenty minutes he woke up, and said to me quite cheerfully,
“Why, Mara, have I been asleep! Oh, do forgive me for being so rude. Come, and we’ll have a cup of tea somewhere.”
He had evidently forgotten all about the dark stranger, as in his illness he had forgotten all that this episode had reminded him of. I don’t like this lapsing into forgetfulness. It may make or continue some injury to the brain. I must not ask him, for fear I shall do more harm than good, but I must somehow learn the facts of his journey abroad. The time is come, I fear, when I must open the parcel, and know what is written. Oh, Ioannes, you will, I know, forgive me if I do wrong, but it is for your own dear sake.
Later.–A sad home-coming in every way, the house empty of the dear soul who was so good to us. Ioannes still pale and dizzy under a slight relapse of his malady, and now a telegram from a Von Habsburg, whoever he may be. “You will be grieved to hear that Mrs. Este-Ravenna died five days ago, and that Loukia died the day before yesterday. They were both buried today.”
Oh, what a wealth of sorrow in a few words! Poor Mrs. Este-Ravenna! Poor Loukia! Gone, gone, never to return to us! And poor, poor Michael, to have lost such a sweetness out of his life! God help us all to bear our troubles.

Dr. Stavridis’s Diary-Cont.

22 September 188?

It is all over. Michael has gone back to Blachernae, and has taken Markos Quintus with him. What a fine fellow is Markos! I believe in my heart of hearts that he suffered as much about Loukia’s death as any of us, but he bore himself through it like a moral Berserker. If Provincia Oceania can go on breeding men like that, we will continue be a power in the world indeed. Von Habsburg is lying down, having a rest preparatory to his journey. He goes to Vienna tonight, but says he returns tomorrow night, that he only wants to make some arrangements which can only be made personally. He is to stop with me then, if he can. He says he has work to do in Constantinople which may take him some time. Poor old fellow! I fear that the strain of the past week has broken down even his iron strength. All the time of the burial he was, I could see, putting some terrible restraint on himself. When it was all over, we were standing beside Michael, who, poor fellow, was speaking of his part in the operation where his blood had been transfused to his Loukia’s veins. I could see Von Habsburg’s face grow white and purple by turns. Michael was saying that he felt since then as if they two had been really married, and that she was his wife in the sight of God. None of us said a word of the other operations, and none of us ever shall. Michael and Markos went away together to the station, and Von Habsburg and I came on here. The moment we were alone in the carriage he gave way to a regular fit of hysterics. He has denied to me since that it was hysterics, and insisted that it was only his sense of humor asserting itself under very terrible conditions. He laughed till he cried, and I had to draw down the blinds lest anyone should see us and misjudge. And then he cried, till he laughed again, and laughed and cried together, just as a woman does. I tried to be stern with him, as one is to a woman under the circumstances, but it had no effect. Men and women are so different in manifestations of nervous strength or weakness! Then when his face grew grave and stern again I asked him why his mirth, and why at such a time. His reply was in a way characteristic of him, for it was logical and forceful and mysterious, but not characteristic of him, for he had again removed much of the Germanic influence on his speech. He said,
“Ah, you don’t comprehend, friend John. Do not think that I am not sad, though I laugh. See, I have cried even when the laugh did choke me. But no more think that I am all sorry when I cry, for the laugh he come just the same. Keep it always with you that laughter who knock at your door and say, `May I come in?’ is not true laughter. No! He is a king, and he come when and how he like. He ask no person, he choose no time of suitability. He say, `I am here.’ Behold, in example I grieve my heart out for that so sweet young girl. I give my blood for her, though I am old and worn. I give my time, my skill, my sleep. I let my other sufferers want that she may have all. And yet I can laugh at her very grave, laugh when the clay from the spade of the sexton drop upon her coffin and say `Thud, thud!’ to my heart, till it send back the blood from my cheek. My heart bleed for that poor boy, that dear boy, so of the age of mine own boy had I been so blessed that he live, and with his hair and eyes the same.
“There, you know now why I love him so. And yet when he say things that touch my husband-heart to the quick, and make my father-heart yearn to him as to no other man, not even you, friend John, for we are more level in experiences than father and son, yet even at such a moment King Laugh he come to me and shout and bellow in my ear,`Here I am! Here I am!’ till the blood come dance back and bring some of the sunshine that he carry with him to my cheek. Oh, friend John, it is a strange world, a sad world, a world full of miseries, and woes, and troubles. And yet when King Laugh come, he make them all dance to the tune he play. Bleeding hearts, and dry bones of the churchyard, and tears that burn as they fall, all dance together to the music that he make with that smileless mouth of him. And believe me, friend John, that he is good to come, and kind. Ah, we men and women are like ropes drawn tight with strain that pull us different ways. Then tears come, and like the rain on the ropes, they brace us up, until perhaps the strain become too great, and we break. But King Laugh he come like the sunshine, and he ease off the strain again, and we bear to go on with our labor, what it may be.”
I did not like to wound him by pretending not to see his idea, but as I did not yet understand the cause of his laughter, I asked him. As he answered me his face grew stern, and he said in quite a different tone,
“Oh, it was the grim irony of it all, this so lovely lady garlanded with flowers, that looked so fair as life, till one by one we wondered if she were truly dead, she laid in that so fine marble house in that lonely churchyard, where rest so many of her kin, laid there with the mother who loved her, and whom she loved, and that sacred bell going “Toll! Toll! Toll!’ so sad and slow, and those holy men, with the white garments of the angel, pretending to read books, and yet all the time their eyes never on the page, and all of us with the bowed head. And all for what? She is dead, so! Is it not?”
“Well, for the life of me, Professor,” I said, “I can’t see anything to laugh at in all that. Why, your expression makes it a harder puzzle than before. But even if the burial service was comic, what about poor Mike and his trouble? Why his heart was simply breaking.”
“Just so. Said he not that the transfusion of his blood to her veins had made her truly his bride?”
“Yes, and it was a sweet and comforting idea for him.”
“Quite so. But there was a difficulty, friend John. If so that, then what about the others? Ho, ho! Then this so sweet maid is a polyandrist, and me, with my poor wife dead to me, but alive by Church’s law, though no wits, all gone, even I, who am faithful husband to this now-no-wife, am bigamist.”
“I don’t see where the joke comes in there either!” I said, and I did not feel particularly pleased with him for saying such things. He laid his hand on my arm, and said,
“Friend John, forgive me if I pain. I showed not my feeling to others when it would wound, but only to you, my old friend, whom I can trust. If you could have looked into my heart then when I want to laugh, if you could have done so when the laugh arrived, if you could do so now, when King Laugh have pack up his crown, and all that is to him, for he go far, far away from me, and for a long, long time, maybe you would perhaps pity me the most of all.”
I was touched by the tenderness of his tone, and asked why.
“Because I know!”
And now we are all scattered, and for many a long day loneliness will sit over our roofs with brooding wings. Loukia lies in the tomb of her kin, a lordly death house in a lonely churchyard, away from teeming London, where the air is fresh, and the sun rises over Hampstead Hill, and where wild flowers grow of their own accord.
So I can finish this diary, and God only knows if I shall ever begin another. If I do, or if I even open this again, it will be to deal with different people and different themes, for here at the end, where the romance of my life is told, ere I go back to take up the thread of my life-work, I say sadly and without hope,

The Blachernae Gazette, 25 September 189? – A [REDACTED] Mystery[edit]

The neighborhood of [REDACTED] is just at present exercised with a series of events which seem to run on lines parallel to those of what was known to the writers of headlines and “The [REDACTED] Horror,” or “The Stabbing Woman,” or “The Woman in Black.” During the past two or three days several cases have occurred of young children straying from home or neglecting to return from their playing on the Heath. In all these cases the children were too young to give any properly intelligible account of themselves, but the consensus of their excuses is that they had been with a “bloofer lady.” It has always been late in the evening when they have been missed, and on two occasions the children have not been found until early in the following morning. It is generally supposed in the neighborhood that, as the first child missed gave as his reason for being away that a “bloofer lady” had asked him to come for a walk, the others had picked up the phrase and used it as occasion served. This is the more natural as the favorite game of the little ones at present is luring each other away by wiles. A correspondent writes us that to see some of the tiny tots pretending to be the “bloofer lady” is supremely funny. Some of our caricaturists might, he says, take a lesson in the irony of grotesque by comparing the reality and the picture. It is only in accordance with general principles of human nature that the “bloofer lady” should be the popular role at these al fresco performances. Our correspondent naively says that even Helene Taronites, the well-known wife of the Megas Domestikos Andreas Taronites, could not be so winningly attractive as some of these grubby-faced little children pretend, and even imagine themselves, to be.

There is, however, possibly a serious side to the question, for some of the children, indeed all who have been missed at night, have been slightly torn or wounded in the throat. The wounds seem such as might be made by a rat or a small dog, and although of not much importance individually, would tend to show that whatever animal inflicts them has a system or method of its own. The police of the division have been instructed to keep a sharp lookout for straying children, especially when very young, in and around [REDACTED] Heath, and for any stray dog which may be about.

The Blachernae Gazette, 25 September 189? Extra Special




We have just received intelligence that another child, missed last night, was only discovered late in the morning under a furze bush at the Shooter’s Hill side of [REDACTED] Heath, which is perhaps, less frequented than the other parts. It has the same tiny wound in the throat as has been noticed in other cases. It was terribly weak, and looked quite emaciated. It too, when partially restored, had the common story to tell of being lured away by the “bloofer lady”.

I am very proud of my administration and research teams with the upgrades to armaments for the royal navy and the new, much more reliable and sturdier steel artillery! I am humbled to keep the Roman military at the forefront of modern warfare and to improve the legions I use to serve. I am also pleased by the Empress’ choice in improving the private sector. Long live the Empire, may its prestige and glory lead the world! Glory to Rome!

-Senator Kvennson

Ming shall be a valuable alliance partner. It is only natural that our two empires aid each other. I will ensure relations remains strong as part of the duties as foreign minister.

The rebellions are quite worrisome. If it was but one segment of the population, we could root out a cause, but all these groups have very different outlooks and goals. The fact that so many from different walks of life would even consider rebellion troubles me greatly.

– Senator Leonardo Favero


Let’s dispel this fiction once and for all that Senator Favero doesn’t know what he’s doing. He knows exactly what he’s doing; he’s undergoing a systematic effort to change this country and make the Empire more like the rest of the world. If you execute him, we’ll embrace what makes the Empirethe greatest country in the world.

– Senator Gray

Senator Gray,

How dare you suggest the execution of a fellow senator without any evidence that would warrant an execution! He is not a traitor! And one does not make a demand of one’s Empress!


I do not see how my execution would solve anything, nor even why you seem to think such a thing is needed. I was not aware I was not permitted to speak freely here about the state of the Empire. We allied the Ming Empire, a natural ally, and there were rebellions caused by various segments of the population. I do not see how stating the obvious warrants my death. If you prefer the violent tactics of the rebels, perhaps the Empress should be reconsidering your position on the Senate instead. I will continue to serve the Empress in whatever capacity she sees fit and advise her on matters of foreign affairs as is my duty. I can only hope that the Empress does not start listening to nonsense and executing senators for stating what is apparent to anyone who isn’t simple-minded.

– Senator Leonardo Favero

“Senator Gray appears to believe that we are still back in the grim benighted past wherein someone could be executed on a whim, as I was under the impression that our great realm was ruled by by the principle of innocence until proven guilty in a court of law. Since he thinks so little of our fine nation, perhaps he should keep an eye out when travelling alone in the City, in case some unfortunate ruffian decides to execute him on a whim.”

-Senator Angelos

Senator Gray must be a radical communist! He will stop at nothing to gain power for himself, I think he would even dare to attack the Empress for personal gain! He embraces Roman exceptionalism, we must see the danger of that! Look at China now, just look at them! Look at their history. We must adapt or die!

Senator Palaiologos

My Fellow Senators you make good points however, let’s dispel this fiction once and for all that Senator Favero doesn’t know what he’s doing. He knows exactly what he’s doing; he’s undergoing a systematic effort to change this country and make the Empire more like the rest of the world. If you execute him, we’ll embrace what makes the Empire the greatest country in the world.

Senator Gray

Did…did you just repeat your previous words as justification for them? Circular reasoning goes in circles, that is, they go nowhere! And your rhetoric is beginning to remind me of my traitorous brother, who repeatedly proclaimed, “Make the Empire great again!” How do I know you’re not a Konstantinian sympathizer? We do know that Markos Angelos managed to escape the Empire and found refuge in a foreign nation; might he have had accomplices assisting him?
What you are demanding, no less, is a political revolution. You and your espoused ideology claim that in power you would equalize the social classes, if not do away with them, without considering practicalities first. I will not get into detail about discussing the tenets of communism and socialism, but as history shows us time and time again, political revolutions usually aren’t bloodless. People will die. There will be chaos. And, to quote the emperor Phocas just before his execution by Heraclius, “will you rule better?” What happens after you take power? Would your regime do any better than ours?
Favero isn’t doing much. He just negotiated an alliance with the Ming Dynasty, presumably to help counter Japanese and Russian expansion and to keep the balance of power in the world! He is most certainly not trying to undo all of the innovations we have accomplished over the years. How do I know? Because if he did, we would have noticed! I most certainly would have noticed. The Secret Police, I assure you, investigates all suspects equally, whether reactionaries, rebels, or communists. If you have a grievance regarding Favero, I recommend that you file a request for an investigation with the Ministry of Security rather than demand that your Empress kill one of your fellow senators. The bureaucrats would be glad to help you. Your beloved communists are not in power, so I strongly urge you to respect who is currently in power, namely your Empress. She is your Empress, for crying out loud! She will decide what is right, not you, not me, not Favero, her!

I think I’ve said enough for now. Anybody else want to add something?

~Senator Doukas

Senator Gray,

Senator Favero negotiated the alliance at Our behest. And this was done to help contain Russia and Japan in the east. Similarly, We are unsure why you are concerned about Ming, of all nations. They are alike us is many ways, if resolute in their heathen faith. They even had a period of disunity and reunification as we did, at very nearly the same time. But now, we are more likely to influence them than otherwise. They have fallen behind in administration, literacy, and technology. Now is perhaps the best time to become their friend. But if you have particular concerns about this policy, please air them, along with alternate suggestions. After all, the Senate exists to help Us govern well.

And it is again time to appoint Senators to different positions. First, We would ask if any Senators have requests for a new or different position. As a reminder, these are the positions assigned at the last address.

Foreign minister – Senator Favero
Armament minister – SenatorKvensson
Minister of security – Senator Doukas
Chief of Staff – Senator Gray
Chief of the Army – Senator Theodosio
Chief of the Navy – Senator Smithereens

(North) Africa – Senator Damaskinos
Britannia – Senator Palaiologos
Dalmatia – Heraclius Komnenos
Macedonia – Senator Angelos
Naples – Senator Septiadis
Palestine – Senator Doukas
Raetia – Senator Comminus
Sicily – Senator Smithereens
Thracia – Prince Alvértos
Australia – Senator Kvensson
Brittany – Senator Γκρέυ
Italy – Senator Favero
Philippines – Senator Nguyen-Climaco
Spain – Senator Theodosio

And the provinces governed by non-Senators were:
New Zealand
South Africa


Mara Dalassenos’s Journal

23 September 189?

Ioannes is better after a bad night. I am so glad that he has plenty of work to do, for that keeps his mind off the terrible things, and oh, I am rejoiced that he is not now weighed down with the responsibility of his new position as strategos. I knew he would be true to himself, and now how proud I am to see my Ioannes rising to the height of his advancement and keeping pace in all ways with the duties that come upon him. He will be away all day till late, for he said he could not lunch at home. My household work is done, so I shall take his foreign journal, and lock myself up in my room and read it.

24 September.

I hadn’t the heart to write last night, that terrible record of Ioannes’s upset me so. Poor dear! How he must have suffered, whether it be true or only imagination. I wonder if there is any truth in it at all. Did he get his brain fever, and then write all those terrible things, or had he some cause for it all? I suppose I shall never know, for I dare not open the subject to him. And yet that man we saw yesterday! He seemed quite certain of him, poor fellow! I suppose it was the funeral upset him and sent his mind back on some train of thought. It’s been ten years and he’s still not quite the same as before he went off to Carpathia…
He believes it all himself. I remember how on our wedding day he said “Unless some solemn duty come upon me to go back to the bitter hours, asleep or awake, mad or sane . . .” There seems to be through it all some thread of continuity. That fearful Count was coming to Constantinople itself. If it should be, and he came to Constantinople, with its teeming millions . . . There may be a solemn duty, and if it come we must not shrink from it. I shall be prepared. I shall get my typewriter this very hour and begin transcribing. Then we shall be ready for other eyes if required. And if it be wanted, then, perhaps, if I am ready, poor Ioannes may not be upset, for I can speak for him and never let him be troubled or worried with it at all. If ever Ioannes quite gets over the nervousness he may want to tell me of it all, and I can ask him questions and find out things, and see how I may comfort him.

Letter, Von Habsburg to Madame Dalassenos

24 September


Dear Madam,

“I pray you to pardon my writing, in that I am so far friend as that I sent sad news of Frau Loukia Este-Ravenna’s death. By the kindness of Senator Doukas, I am empowered to read her letters and papers, for I am deeply concerned about certain matters vitally important. In them I find some letters from you, which show how great friends you were and how you love her. Oh, Madam Mara, by that love, I implore you, help me. It is for others’ good that I ask, to redress great wrong, and to lift much and terrible troubles, that may be more great than you can know. May it be that I see you? You can trust me. I am friend of Dr. John Stavridis and of Senator Doukas (that was Michael of Frau Loukia). I must keep it private for the present from all. I should come to [REDACTED] to see you at once if you tell me I am privilege to come, and where and when. I implore your pardon, Madam. I have read your letters to poor Loukia, and know how good you are and how your husband suffers. So I pray you, if it may be, enlighten him not, least it may harm. Again your pardon, and forgive me.


Telegram, Madam Dalassenos to Von Habsburg

25 September –Come today by quarter past ten train if you can catch it. Can see you any time you call. “MARA DALASSENOS”

Mara Dalassenos’s Journal

25 September.

I cannot help feeling terribly excited as the time draws near for the visit of Dr. von Habsburg, for somehow I expect that it will throw some light upon Ioannes’s sad experience, and as he attended poor dear Loukia in her last illness, he can tell me all about her. That is the reason of his coming. It is concerning Loukia and her sleepwalking, and not about Ioannes. Then I shall never know the real truth now! How silly I am. That awful journal gets hold of my imagination and tinges everything with something of its own color. Of course it is about Loukia. That habit came back to the poor dear, and that awful night on the cliff must have made her ill. I had almost forgotten in my own affairs how ill she was afterwards. She must have told him of her sleep-walking adventure on the cliff, and that I knew all about it, and now he wants me to tell him what I know, so that he may understand. I hope I did right in not saying anything of it to Mrs. Este-Ravenna. I should never forgive myself if any act of mine, were it even a negative one, brought harm on poor dear Loukia. I hope too, Dr. von Habsburg will not blame me. I have had so much trouble and anxiety of late that I feel I cannot bear more just at present.
I suppose a cry does us all good at times, clears the air as other rain does. Perhaps it was reading the journal yesterday that upset me, and then Ioannes went away this morning to stay away from me a whole day and night, the first time we have been parted since our marriage. I do hope the dear fellow will take care of himself, and that nothing will occur to upset him. It is two o’clock, and the doctor will be here soon now. I shall say nothing of Ioannes’s journal unless he asks me. I am so glad I have typewritten out my own journal, so that, in case he asks about Loukia, I can hand it to him. It will save much questioning.
Later—He has come and gone. Oh, what a strange meeting, and how it all makes my head whirl round. I feel like one in a dream. Can it be all possible, or even a part of it? If I had not read Ioannes’s journal first, I should never have accepted even a possibility. Poor, poor, dear Ioannes! How he must have suffered. Please the good God, all this may not upset him again. I shall try to save him from it. But it may be even a consolation and a help to him, terrible though it be and awful in its consequences, to know for certain that his eyes and ears and brain did not deceive him, and that it is all true. It may be that it is the doubt which haunts him, that when the doubt is removed, no matter which, waking or dreaming, may prove the truth, he will be more satisfied and better able to bear the shock. Dr. von Habsburg must be a good man as well as a clever one if he is Michael’s friend and Dr. Stavridis’s, and if they brought him all the way from Austria to look after Loukia. I feel from having seen him that he is good and kind and of a noble nature. When he comes tomorrow I shall ask him about Ioannes. And then, please God, all this sorrow and anxiety may lead to a good end. I used to think I would like to practice interviewing. Ioannes’s friend on “The Golden Horn News” told him that memory is everything in such work, that you must be able to put down exactly almost every word spoken, even if you had to refine some of it afterwards. Here was a rare interview. I shall try to record it verbatim.
It was half-past two o’clock when the knock came. I took my courage a deux mains and waited. In a few minutes Maria opened the door, and announced “Dr. von Habsburg”.
I rose and bowed, and he came towards me. He said to me,
“Frau Dalassenos, is it not?” I bowed assent.
“That was Miss Mara Dalassenos?” Again I assented.
“It is Mara Dalassenos zhat ich kame to see zhat vas friend of zhat poor dear kinder Loukia Este-Ravenna. Madam Mara, it is on account of the dead that I come.”
“Sir,” I said, “you could have no better claim on me than that you were a friend and helper of Loukia Este-Ravenna.”

And I held out my hand. He took it and said tenderly and in carefully spoken Greek,
“Oh, Madam Mara, I know that the friend of that poor little girl must be good, but I had yet to learn . . .” He finished his speech with a courtly bow. I asked him what it was that he wanted to see me about, so he at once began.
“I have read your letters to Miss Loukia. Forgive me, but I had to begin to inquire somewhere, and there was none to ask. I know that you were with her at [REDACTED]. She sometimes kept a diary, you need not look surprised, Madam Mara. It was begun after you had left, and was an imitation of you, and in that diary she traces by inference certain things to a sleep-walking in which she puts down that you saved her. In great perplexity then I come to you, and ask you out of your so much kindness to tell me all of it that you can remember.”
“I can tell you, I think, Dr. von Habsburg, all about it.”
“Ah, then you have good memory for facts, for details? It is not always so with young ladies.”
“No, doctor, but I wrote it all down at the time. I can show it to you if you like.”
“Oh, Madam Mara, I well be grateful. You will do me much favor.”
I could not resist the temptation of mystifying him a bit, I suppose it is some taste of the original apple that remains still in our mouths, so I handed him the shorthand diary. He took it with a grateful bow, and said, “May I read it?”
“If you wish,” I answered as demurely as I could. He opened it, and for an instant his face fell. Then he stood up and bowed.
“Oh, you so clever woman!” he said. “I knew long that Strategos Ioannes was a man of much thankfulness, but see, his wife has all the good things. And will you not so much honor me and so help me as to read it for me? Alas! I know not the shorthand.”
By this time my little joke was over, and I was almost ashamed. So I took the typewritten copy from my work basket and handed it to him.
“Forgive me,” I said. “I could not help it, but I had been thinking that it was of dear Loukia that you wished to ask, and so that you might not have time to wait, not on my account, but because I know your time must be precious, I have written it out on the typewriter for you.”
He took it and his eyes glistened. “You are so good,” he said. “And may I read it now? I may want to ask you some things when I have read.”
“By all means,” I said. “read it over whilst I order lunch, and then you can ask me questions whilst we eat.”
He bowed and settled himself in a chair with his back to the light, and became so absorbed in the papers, whilst I went to see after lunch chiefly in order that he might not be disturbed. When I came back, I found him walking hurriedly up and down the room, his face all ablaze with excitement. He rushed up to me and took me by both hands.
“Oh, Madam Mara,” he said, “how can I say what I owe to you? This paper is as sunshine. It opens the gate to me. I am dazed, I am dazzled, with so much light, and yet clouds roll in behind the light every time. But that you do not, cannot comprehend. Oh, but I am grateful to you, you so clever woman. Madame,” he said this very solemnly, “if ever Albrecht von Habsburg can do anything for you or yours, I trust you will let me know. It will be pleasure and delight if I may serve you as a friend, as a friend, but all I have ever learned, all I can ever do, shall be for you and those you love. There are darknesses in life, and there are lights. You are one of the lights. You will have a happy life and a good life, and your husband will be blessed in you.”
“But, doctor, you praise me too much, and you do not know me.”
“Not know you, I, who am old, and who have studied all my life men and women, I who have made my specialty the brain and all that belongs to him and all that follow from him! And I have read your diary that you have so goodly written for me, and which breathes out truth in every line. I, who have read your so sweet letter to poor Loukia of your marriage and your trust, not know you! Oh, Madam Mara, good women tell all their lives, and by day and by hour and by minute, such things that angels can read. And we men who wish to know have in us something of angels’ eyes. Your husband is noble nature, and you are noble too, for you trust, and trust cannot be where there is mean nature. And your husband, tell me of him. Is he quite well? Is all that fever gone, and is he strong and hearty?”
I saw here an opening to ask him about Ioannes, so I said, “He was almost recovered, but he has been greatly upset by Strategos Girakos’s death. The ten years have seen a bit of healing.”
He interrupted, “Oh, yes. I know. I know. I have read your last two letters.”
I went on, “I suppose this upset him, for when we were in town on a Thursday about ten years ago last he had a sort of shock.”
“A shock, and after brain fever so soon! That is not good. What kind of shock was it?”
“He thought he saw someone who recalled something terrible, something which led to his brain fever.” And here the whole thing seemed to overwhelm me in a rush. The pity for Ioannes, the horror which he experienced, the whole fearful mystery of his diary, and the fear that has been brooding over me ever since, all came in a tumult. I suppose I was hysterical, for I threw myself on my knees and held up my hands to him, and implored him to make my husband well again. He took my hands and raised me up, and made me sit on the sofa, and sat by me. He held my hand in his, and said to me with, oh, such infinite sweetness,
“My life is a barren and lonely one, and so full of work that I have not had much time for friendships, but since I have been summoned to here by my friend John Stavridis I have known so many good people and seen such nobility that I feel more than ever, and it has grown with my advancing years, the loneliness of my life. Believe me, then, that I come here full of respect for you, and you have given me hope, hope, not in what I am seeking of, but that there are good women still left to make life happy, good women, whose lives and whose truths may make good lesson for the children that are to be. I am glad, glad, that I may here be of some use to you. For if your husband suffers, he suffers within the range of my study and experience. I promise you that I will gladly do all for him that I can, all to make his life strong and manly, and your life a happy one. Now you must eat. You are over-wrought and perhaps over-anxious. Husband Ioannes would not like to see you so pale, and what he like not where he loves, is not to his good. Therefore, for his sake you must eat and smile. You have told me about Loukia, and so now we shall not speak of it, lest it distress. I shall stay in Hippodrome District tonight, for I want to think much over what you have told me, and when I have thought I will ask you questions, if I may. And then too, you will tell me of husband Ioannes’s trouble so far as you can, but not yet. You must eat now, afterwards you shall tell me all.”
After lunch, when we went back to the drawing room, he said to me, “And now tell me all about him.”
When it came to speaking to this great learned man, I began to fear that he would think me a weak fool, and Ioannes a madman, that journal is all so strange, and I hesitated to go on. But he was so sweet and kind, and he had promised to help, and I trusted him, so I said,
“Dr. von Habsburg, what I have to tell you is so queer that you must not laugh at me or at my husband. I have been since yesterday in a sort of fever of doubt. You must be kind to me, and not think me foolish that I have even half believed some very strange things.”
He reassured me by his manner as well as his words when he said, “Oh, my dear, if you only know how strange is the matter regarding which I am here, it is you who would laugh. I have learned not to think little of any one’s belief, no matter how strange it may be. I have tried to keep an open mind, and it is not the ordinary things of life that could close it, but the strange things, the extraordinary things, the things that make one doubt if they be mad or sane.”
“Thank you, thank you a thousand times! You have taken a weight off my mind. If you will let me, I shall give you a paper to read. It is long, but I have typewritten it out. It will tell you my trouble and Ioannes’s. It is the copy of his journal when abroad, and all that happened. I dare not say anything of it. You will read for yourself and judge. And then when I see you, perhaps, you will be very kind and tell me what you think.”
“I promise,” he said as I gave him the papers. “I shall in the morning, as soon as I can, come to see you and your husband, if I may.”
“Ioannes will be here at half-past eleven, and you must come to lunch with us and see him then. You could catch the quick 3:34 train, which will leave you at [REDACTED] before eight.” He was surprised at my knowledge of the trains offhand, but he does not know that I have made up all the trains to and from Hippodrome District, so that I may help Jonathan in case he is in a hurry.
So he took the papers with him and went away, and I sit here thinking, thinking I don’t know what.

Letter (by hand), von Habsburg to Mara Dalassenos

25 September, 6 o’clock

Dear Madam Mara,

I have read your husband’s so wonderful diary. You may sleep without doubt. Strange and terrible as it is, it is true! I will pledge my life on it. It may be worse for others, but for him and you there is no dread. He is a noble fellow, and let me tell you from experience of men, that one who would do as he did in going down that wall and to that room, aye, and going a second time, is not one to be injured in permanence by a shock. His brain and his heart are all right, this I swear, before I have even seen him, so be at rest. I shall have much to ask him of other things. I am blessed that today I come to see you, for I have learn all at once so much that again I am dazzled, dazzled more than ever, and I must think.

Yours the most faithful,

Albrecht von Habsburg.

Letter, Mrs. Dalassenos to von Habsburg

25 September, 6:30 p. m.

My dear Dr. von Habsburg,

A thousand thanks for your kind letter, which has taken a great weight off my mind. And yet, if it be true, what terrible things there are in the world, and what an awful thing if that man, that monster, be really in Constantinople! I fear to think. I have this moment, whilst writing, had a wire from Ioannes, saying that he leaves by the 6:25 tonight from Nicomedia and will be here at 10:18, so that I shall have no fear tonight. Will you, therefore, instead of lunching with us, please come to breakfast at eight o’clock, if this be not too early for you? You can get away, if you are in a hurry, by the 10:30 train, which will bring you to here by 2:35. Do not answer this, as I shall take it that, if I do not hear, you will come to breakfast.
Believe me,

Your faithful and grateful friend,

Mara Dalassenos

Ioannes Dalassenos’s Journal

26 September.

I thought never to write in this diary again, but the time has come. When I got home last night Mara had supper ready, and when we had supped she told me of Von Habsburg’s visit, and of her having given him the two diaries copied out, and of how anxious she has been about me. She showed me in the doctor’s letter that all I wrote down was true. It seems to have made a new man of me. It was the doubt as to the reality of the whole thing that knocked me over. I felt impotent, and in the dark, and distrustful. But, now that I know, I am not afraid, even of the Count. He has succeeded after all, then, in his design in getting to Constantinople, and it was he I saw ten years ago. He has got younger, and how? Von Habsburg is the man to unmask him and hunt him out, if he is anything like what Mara says. We sat late, and talked it over. Mara is dressing, and I shall call at the hotel in a few minutes and bring him over.
He was, I think, surprised to see me. When I came into the room where he was, and introduced myself, he took me by the shoulder, and turned my face round to the light, and said, after a sharp scrutiny,
“But Madam Mara told me you were ill, that you had had a shock.”
It was so funny to hear my wife called `Madam Mara’ by this kindly, strong-faced old man. I smiled, and said, “I was ill, I have had a shock, but you have cured me already.”
“And how?”
“By your letter to Mara last night. I was in doubt, and then everything took a hue of unreality, and I did not know what to trust, even the evidence of my own senses. Not knowing what to trust, I did not know what to do, and so had only to keep on working in what had hitherto been the groove of my life. The groove ceased to avail me, and I mistrusted myself. Doctor, you don’t know what it is to doubt everything, even yourself. No, you don’t, you couldn’t with eyebrows like yours.”
He seemed pleased, and laughed as he said, “So! You are a physiognomist. I learn more here with each hour. I am with so much pleasure coming to you to breakfast, and, oh, sir, you will pardon praise from an old man, but you are blessed in your wife.”
I would listen to him go on praising Mara for a day, so I simply nodded and stood silent.
“She is one of God’s women, fashioned by His own hand to show us men and other women that there is a heaven where we can enter, and that its light can be here on earth. So true, so sweet, so noble, so little an egoist, and that, let me tell you, is much in this age, so skeptical and selfish. And you, sir. . . I have read all the letters to poor Miss Loukia, and some of them speak of you, so I know you since some days from the knowing of others, but I have seen your true self since last night. You will give me your hand, will you not? And let us be friends for all our lives.”
We shook hands, and he was so earnest and so kind that it made me quite choky.
“and now,” he said, “may I ask you for some more help? I have a great task to do, and at the beginning it is to know. You can help me here. Can you tell me what went before your trip to Transylvania? Later on I may ask more help, and of a different kind, but at first this will do.”
“Look here, Sir,” I said, “does what you have to do concern the Count?”
“It does,” he said solemnly.
“Then I am with you heart and soul. As you go by the 10:30 train, you will not have time to read them, but I shall get the bundle of papers. You can take them with you and read them in the train.”
After breakfast I saw him to the station. When we were parting he said, “Perhaps you will come to town if I send for you, and take Madam Mara too.”
“We shall both come when you will,” I said.
I had got him the morning papers and the Constantinople papers of the previous night, and while we were talking at the carriage window, waiting for the train to start, he was turning them over. His eyes suddenly seemed to catch something in one of them, “The Blachernae Gazette”, I knew it by the color, and he grew quite white. He read something intently, groaning to himself, “Mein Gott! Mein Gott! So soon! So soon!” I do not think he remembered me at the moment. Just then the whistle blew, and the train moved off. This recalled him to himself, and he leaned out of the window and waved his hand, calling out, “Love to Madam Mara. I shall write so soon as ever I can.”

Dr. Stavridis’s Diary

26 September.

Truly there is no such thing as finality. Not a week since I said “Finis,” and yet here I am starting fresh again, or rather going on with the record. Until this afternoon I had no cause to think of what is done. Renato had become, to all intents, as sane as he ever was. He was already well ahead with his fly business, and he had just started in the spider line also, so he had not been of any trouble to me. I had a letter from Michael, written on Sunday, and from it I gather that he is bearing up wonderfully well. Markos Quintus is with him, and that is much of a help, for he himself is a bubbling well of good spirits. Quincey wrote me a line too, and from him I hear that Michael is beginning to recover something of his old buoyancy, so as to them all my mind is at rest. As for myself, I was settling down to my work with the enthusiasm which I used to have for it, so that I might fairly have said that the wound which poor Loukia left on me was becoming cicatrized.
Everything is, however, now reopened, and what is to be the end God only knows. I have an idea that Von Habsburg thinks he knows, too, but he will only let out enough at a time to whet curiosity. He went to Hippodrome District yesterday, and stayed there all night. Today he came back, and almost bounded into the room at about half-past five o’clock, and thrust last night’s “Blachernae Gazette” into my hand.
“What do you think of that?” he asked as he stood back and folded his arms.
I looked over the paper, for I really did not know what he meant, but he took it from me and pointed out a paragraph about children being decoyed away. It did not convey much to me, until I reached a passage where it described small puncture wounds on their throats. An idea struck me, and I looked up.
“Well?” he said.
“It is like poor Loukia’s.”
“And what do you make of it?”
“Simply that there is some cause in common. Whatever it was that injured her has injured them.” I did not quite understand his answer.
“That is true indirectly, but not directly.”
“How do you mean, Professor?” I asked. I was a little inclined to take his seriousness lightly, for, after all, four days of rest and freedom from burning, harrowing, anxiety does help to restore one’s spirits, but when I saw his face, it sobered me. Never, even in the midst of our despair about poor Loukia, had he looked more stern.
“Tell me!” I said. “I can hazard no opinion. I do not know what to think, and I have no data on which to found a conjecture.”
“Do you mean to tell me, friend John, that you have no suspicion as to what poor Lucy died of, not after all the hints given, not only by events, but by me?”
“Of nervous prostration following a great loss or waste of blood.”
“And how was the blood lost or wasted?” I shook my head.
He stepped over and sat down beside me, and went on, “You are a clever man, friend John. You reason well, and your wit is bold, but you are too prejudiced. You do not let your eyes see nor your ears hear, and that which is outside your daily life is not of account to you. Do you not think that there are things which you cannot understand, and yet which are, that some people see things that others cannot? But there are things old and new which must not be contemplated by men’s eyes, because they know, or think they know, some things which other men have told them. Ah, it is the fault of our science that it wants to explain all, and if it explains not, then it says there is nothing to explain. But yet we see around us every day the growth of new beliefs, which think themselves new, and which are yet but the old, which pretend to be young, like the fine ladies at the opera. I suppose now you do not believe in corporeal transference. No? Nor in materialization. No? Nor in astral bodies. No? Nor in the reading of thought. No? Nor in hypnotism . . .”
“Yes,” I said. “Charcot has proved that pretty well.”
He smiled as he went on, “Then you are satisfied as to it. Yes? No? Then, friend John, am I to take it that you simply accept fact, and are satisfied to let from premise to conclusion be a blank? No? Let me tell you, my friend, that there are things done today in electrical science which would have been deemed unholy by the very man who discovered electricity, who would themselves not so long before been burned as wizards. There are always mysteries in life. Why was it that Methuselah lived nine hundred years and yet that poor Loukia, with four men’s blood in her poor veins, could not live even one day? For, had she live one more day, we could save her. Do you know all the mystery of life and death? Do you know the altogether of comparative anatomy and can say wherefore the qualities of brutes are in some men, and not in others? Can you tell me why in the Pampas, ay and elsewhere as our dear friend Markos Quintus witnessed, there are bats that come out at night and open the veins of cattle and horses and suck dry their veins, white as even Miss Loukia was?”
“Good God, Professor!” I said, starting up. “Do you mean to tell me that Loukia was bitten by such a bat, and that such a thing is here in Constantinople in the nineteenth century?”
He waved his hand for silence, and went on, “Can you tell me why the tortoise lives more long than generations of men, why the elephant goes on and on till he has seen dynasties, and why the parrot never die only of bite of cat of dog or other complaint? Can you tell me why men believe in all ages and places that there are men and women who cannot die? We all know, because science has vouched for the fact, that there have been toads shut up in rocks for thousands of years, shut in one so small hole that only hold him since the youth of the world. Can you tell me how the Indian fakir can make himself to die and have been buried, and his grave sealed and corn sowed on it, and the corn reaped and be cut and sown and reaped and cut again, and then men come and take away the unbroken seal and that there lie the Indian fakir, not dead, but that rise up and walk amongst them as before? No really, tell me, it was in the Indian news yesterday!”
Here I interrupted him. I was getting bewildered. He so crowded on my mind his list of nature’s eccentricities and possible impossibilities that my imagination was getting fired. I had a dim idea that he was teaching me some lesson, as long ago he used to do in his study at Vienna. But he used them to tell me the thing, so that I could have the object of thought in mind all the time. But now I was without his help, yet I wanted to follow him, so I said,
“Professor, let me be your pet student again. Tell me the thesis, so that I may apply your knowledge as you go on. At present I am going in my mind from point to point as a madman, and not a sane one, follows an idea. I feel like a novice lumbering through a bog in a midst, jumping from one tussock to another in the mere blind effort to move on without knowing where I am going.”
“That is a good image,” he said. “Well, I shall tell you. My thesis is this; I want you to believe.”
“To believe what? Men from Mars?”
“To believe in things that you cannot. Let me illustrate. I heard once of a Cherokee who so defined faith, `that faculty which enables us to believe things which we know to be untrue.’ For one, I follow that man. He meant that we shall have an open mind, and not let a little bit of truth check the rush of the big truth, like a small rock does a railway truck. We get the small truth first. Good! We keep him, and we value him, but all the same we must not let him think himself all the truth in the universe.”
“Then you want me not to let some previous conviction inure the receptivity of my mind with regard to some strange matter. Do I read your lesson aright?”
“Ah, you are my favorite pupil still. It is worth to teach you. Now that you are willing to understand, you have taken the first step to understand. You think then that those so small holes in the children’s throats were made by the same that made the holes in Miss Loukia?”
“I suppose so.”
He stood up and said solemnly, “Then you are wrong. Oh, would it was so! But alas! No. It is worse, far, far worse.”
“In God’s name, Professor von Habsburg, what do you mean?” I cried.
He threw himself with a despairing gesture into a chair, and placed his elbows on the table, covering his face with his hands as he spoke.
“They were made by Miss Loukia!”

As there are no requests, all Senators shall be reappointed to the same positions. As always, Senators, thank you for your time.

The Empire Strikes Back 97- The State of the Empire 1890-1895


Your presence is requested for a State of the Empire address on January 1st 1895, at Blachernae Palace.

These newspapers are considered significant by the archivists.

And the Senate’s world map has been updated.

Great wars…

how interesting! It is time for our empire to show its true might and crush all opposition that may come before it! I say we consolidate our holdings in Asia and Africa and then launch a major offensive against Russia! We should also conquer the rest of the British isles to make sure we are not threatened in Britannia. We must seek a middle path in politics without the violence of the reactionaries and communists!

*Goes off muttering about low glass prices and lower taxes

-Senator Ambrosio Palaiologos, Duke of Nicaea, Governor of Britannia

Michael arrives in the room, accompanied by his bodyguards.

Ah, hello fellow senators, it is good to see you all again! I’ve recently been to the Pandidakterion’s Psychology Department, and they’ve told me (you can read the note here–Michael passes around a letter signed by the Chair of the Psychology Department) that such outbreaks as what occurred at our last session are rare occurrences and should decrease in frequency and intensity with time. They have declared me sane enough to carry out my duties to the state effectively. Now on to the pressing matters.

There has been a small rebellion in Wales. You may or may not have heard about it, most likely because the Ministry of Security detected it early and dispatched a couple legions to the area to defeat them before they could do any serious damage.

You all know the 1891 communist rebellion that was crushed. I witnessed it personally. They besieged my estates in Jerusalem and Damascus, the latter of which was burned down. I was in Jerusalem at the time, and I saw how the people were angry to the point of rebellion. They must be granted social reforms to alleviate their suffering. But political reforms, I fear, would likely make the situation worse. And then the communists rose up in 1894…we need a change we can believe in, and fast!

Tractors would boost the production efficiency of the Empire manyfold. I see many opportunities to be made from this invention.

The Germanics have invented flying machines? Impressive, for barbarians. We already have airships such as the La France, which I’m sure you all remember was rechristened the Veronica after Konstantinos’s Rebellion. And speaking of Konstantinos’s Rebellion…

It appears that we didn’t defeat all of the traitor Konstantinos’s forces. Some of them escaped to Burgundy, Anatolia, and North Africa, where they were found by the Ministry of Security and defeated within the month. However, others rose up in Greece, near my home in Athens. They were led by this man.

Michael passes around a photo of a bearded man wearing imperial regalia.

This is Markos Angelos, self-proclaimed Basileus Basileon and Isapostolos. He is guilty of the following crimes: treason, plotting against the imperial family, murder, manslaughter, illegal possession of military equipment, blasphemy, heresy, desecrating the Empire’s honor, wearing imperial purple, etc., etc. He managed to escape the legions that crushed his rebels in Greece and is now on the run, presumably to Russia or Germany. The Ministry of Security has put out a notice stating that this man is heavily armed and dangerous. Any citizen who finds this man is legally obliged to capture or kill him at all costs before he managed to escape over the border into another country. The reward is to be determined by Her Imperial Highness.

To the members of the Angeloi family in attendance, on behalf of the Ministry of Security I will not arrest any member of your family based solely on your relationship with Markos Angelos. In return I expect that all of you cooperate fully with this manhunt and investigation.

Anybody else go to the World’s Fair, the one that occurred a couple months before the 1891 rebellion? Marvelous stuff they had there, including one of those new “telephone” devices. Imagine having a telegraph but hearing somebody else’s voice over the line! This is the pinnacle of technology! In a hundred years who knows what we’ll have?

Marsh…that eccentric professor can’t get a skeleton right! Funniest thing I’ve read in a while!

I see we have brought back the Olympics. As we are the Romans, it is only fitting that we bring back a Roman tradition to show off the glory of our youth against those of other nations.

But if the Olympics can bring the world together, the Great Wars which we have developed have the potential to destroy it. We must be careful when waging war from now on, as one small spark could set the entire world on fire.

Speaking of war, I’ve noticed that the Ming have fallen to reactionaries yet again and that Japan has invaded Korea. One of these days, a global war is probably going to be sparked by some silly thing in China…or in Central Europe.

It’s good that we expanded in the Philippines to expand our influence in Asia and reduce that of Russia. They must be brought down to size!

And the UTA…have they gone mad? Annexing everything in sight, conquering Alaska and Hawaii, building these “pre-dreadnought” ships? These ships are obviously built to challenge our control of the seas and to increase their power in Asia. We cannot let them stand as they are, for they will eventually come after us in an attempt to assert global hegemony! And if they have built “pre-dreadnoughts,” imagine what the actual dreadnoughts look like.

That is all for now.

Michael takes his seat.

My esteemed Senators and those sitting in the Cheap Seats on the Conservative side.

I must put forward a protest on the brutal treatment of the workers of this great Empire. After notifiying the police and local government about our lawful protests against the conditions of the workers and the poor, the Minister for Security, the one with the note to say that he is sane, released the army on these peaceful protests stirring up a hornets nest of discontent and rage. Had a gentler and more sane minister been in charge perhaps this could have been averted.

If the Minister can not perform his duties perhaps it is time to remove him from his post?

Also with our current allies & vassals should we not use the invention of these so called Great Wars, can we not look to dismantle the perfidious Russians once and for all?

– Senator & Chief of Staff Στήβεν Γκρέυ

When did I ever order the army to attack peaceful protestors? When were they peaceful? Even if they were peaceful, I do not have the authority to order armies around, just to advise the General Staff on matters of national security. You ought to direct your grievances to them instead of me!

And I’ll have you know, I am in complete favor of better working conditions, along with my father and my grandfather before me! I have always been in support of it and I certainly am in support of it now! Your claims are unfounded, and if this were not the Senate I would accuse you of conspiring to remove my from my post!

-Senator Doukas

Well then my fellow Senator, I refer you to the notes of your speech on the Hansard, you mention that you have personally dispatched legions to a revolt in Wales.

So my dear sir you either seek to hide the truth of your use of the Legions as your own private police force or once again have overstepped your jurisdiction.

My dear sir, I simply seeking to have a Minister that is capable of handling these matters without half the Empire burning down.

I would ask Senators Theodosio and Favero but I fear they are too busy repressing the masses.

-Senator Gray

Those rebels were hardly anything but peaceful. I was given orders directly from the Throne to order those armies and nothing more. I have the imperial edict here if you want to see it. But I do not have command of all legions, just those few. And only the Empress may replace me, not you. Understand?

-Senator Doukas

“Senator Doukas,” says Alexios politely but cooly, “I only have recently taken my seat in the Boule, but I don’t think that you have the power to do that to an active senator without the Basilissa’s permission. Further, I’m not sure how you Foideratoi handle matters, but we in Patrikioi tend to ask questions and then await answers, rather than trying to extract confessions in return for not imprisoning or torturing innocent people.”


When did I ever say I was going to torture and imprison people? I merely stated that I will protect them from any prosecution by the Ministry of Security while I ask them questions regarding Markos Angelos. And I was directing this to the senator’s family members; the senator himself cannot be investigated without the permission of the Empress, of course. If anything else still offfends the rule of law, though, I would gladly change my strategies.


i must request that we end this pointless bikering and actually attend to matters of state
Alexander smithereens

My Empress, I would like to note my acceptance into the I Koinotita and within that role given the violence brought forth in your name by those that continue to abuse their power and for the ultimate crime of picking on grammatical errors, I demand that a vote of no confidence in the Senate. If this body is not capable of action, I suggest new leadership be chosen.

The I Koinotita are the fastest growing political party and only with our guidance can the workers be sure that their rights will be protected and that the dead wood of the past be removed.

– Aiden Gray, Senator & Chief of Staff

I sometimes wonder if you all even remember that the Senate is purely an advisory body. There is no “voting”, for we were never elected. There is no “action”, for we only carry out our duties when the Empress demands it. If the Empress so wished it, she could disband this whole body and rule directly. Instead she is wise enough to seek our counsel and use the wisdom of others to aid in her rule of our fair empire. Those who feel their colleagues do not belong here should realize that we are all here at the Empress’s behest. We do not have the power to dismiss each other. If you have a problem with that, take it up with the Empress. If she is wise enough, she’ll dismiss you bickering lot and continue on with her reign free of your banter.

In fact, if this petty political squabbling continues, I’d advise the Empress, as is my duty as a member of the Senate, to disband the Senate entirely and rule without our guidance. If my colleagues feel that we are all equally incompetent, I will not argue with their general acceptance of one another’s idiocy and accept that the Empress would be better off ruling without our guidance. Either that or my fellow senators should accept one another’s faults and accept that their role is to advise Her Imperial Majesty instead of attempting to undermine one another’s pathetic political careers.

– Senator Leonardo Favero

I agree entirely Senator Favero, one has to wonder though, how the Empress’ Minister of Intelligence was not able to foresee the brutal repression of hundreds of thousands of workers throughout the empire or perhaps given your support of the Patrikioi perhaps this information was at hand and instead of performing your duties “The Butcher of Africa” allowed these matters to descend into the farce that they became.

And my entire point Senator is why would a party with very little support outside of the 1% of wealthy old aristocracy hold such an important role within the state, we may be an advisory body, but if those in Imperial sanctioned office do not perform their duty simply to weaken other parties and the Empire as a whole, in fact border on acts of treason, the Empress must be made aware of the danger in trusting the advice from such an unrepresentative body.

– Senator Gray


Can we all just get back to the matter of the traitor, Markos Angelos, instead of bickering about socialism and personal attacks and the existence of the Senate?! Angelos is a threat to the Empire as long as he is at large and I intend to bring him to justice! Trying to remove other senators or dismantle the Senate itself for personal and/or ideological motives will only benefit him!


Letter, Dr. Stavridis to Hon. Michael Doukas
6 September

My dear Mike,

My news today is not so good. Loukia this morning had gone back a bit. There is, however, one good thing which has arisen from it. Mrs. Este-Ravenna was naturally anxious concerning Loukia, and has consulted me professionally about her. I took advantage of the opportunity, and told her that my old master, Von Habsburg, the great specialist, was coming to stay with me, and that I would put her in his charge conjointly with myself. So now we can come and go without alarming her unduly, for a shock to her would mean sudden death, and this, in Loukia’s weak condition, might be disastrous to her. We are hedged in with difficulties, all of us, my poor fellow, but, please God, we shall come through them all right. If any need I shall write, so that, if you do not hear from me, take it for granted that I am simply waiting for news, In haste,

Yours ever,


Dr. Stavridis’s Diary
7 September.

The first thing Von Habsburg said to me when we met at Thessaloniki Street was, “Have du said anyzing zo our young friend, zo lover of her?”
“No,” I said. “I waited till I had seen you, as I said in my telegram. I wrote him a letter simply telling him that you were coming, as Miss Este-Ravenna was not so well, and that I should let him know if need be.”
“Gut, mein friend,” he said. “Quite right! Better he not know as yet. Perhaps he vill never know. Ich pray so, but if it be needed, then he shall know all. And, mein gut friend John, let me caution you. Du deal vith zhe madmen. All men are mad in some vay or zhe other, and inasmuch as du deal discreetly with your madmen, so deal vith Gott’s madmen too, zhe rest of zhe vorld. Du tell not your madmen vhat du do nor vhy du do it. Du tell them not vhat du zhink. So du shall keep knowledge in its place, vhere it may rest, vhere it may gather its kind around it und breed. Du and Ich shall keep as yet vhat ve know here, und here.” He touched me on the heart and on the forehead, and then touched himself the same way. “Ich hab for mein self zhoughts at zhe present. Later Ich shall unfold to du.”
“Why not now?” I asked. “It may do some good. We may arrive at some decision.”
He looked at me and said,”Mein friend John, vhen zhe corn ist grown, even before it has ripened, vhile zhe milk of its mother earth is in him, and zhe sunshine has not yet begun zo paint him vith his gold, zhe husbandman he pull zhe ear und rub him between his rough hands, und blow away zhe green chaff, und say to du, ‘Look! He’s good corn, he vill make a good crop when zhe time comes.’ ”
I did not see the application and told him so. For reply he reached over and took my ear in his hand and pulled it playfully, as he used long ago to do at lectures, and said, “Zhe gut husbandman tell du so zhen because he knows, but not till zhen. But du do not find zhe gut husbandman dig up his planted corn to see if he grow. Zhat is for zhe kinder vho play at husbandry, und nicht for zhose vho take it as of zhe vork of zheir life. See du now, friend John? Ich have sown mein corn, and Nature has her vork to do in making it sprout, if he sprout at all, there’s some promise, and Ich wait till the ear begins to swell.” He broke off, for he evidently saw that I understood. Then he went on gravely, “Du vere always a careful student, and your case book vas ever more full than the rest. Und Ich trust zhat gut habit have nichtt fail. Remember, mein friend, zhat knowledge ist stronger than memory, und ve should nicht trust zhe veaker. Even if du have not kept zhe gut practice, let mich tell du zhat zhis case of our dear frau ist eine zhat may be, mind, Ich say may be, of such interest to us und others zhat all zhe rest may not make him kick zhe beam, as your people say. Take zhen good note of it. Nothing ist too small. Ich counsel you, put down in record even your doubts und surmises. Hereafter it may be of interest to du to see how true you guess. Ve learn from failure, not from success!”
When I described Lucy’s symptoms, the same as before, but infinitely more marked, he looked very grave, but said nothing. He took with him a bag in which were many instruments and drugs, “zhe ghastly paraphernalia of our beneficial trade,” as he once called, in one of his lectures, the equipment of a professor of the healing craft.
When we were shown in, Mrs. Este-Ravenna met us. She was alarmed, but not nearly so much as I expected to find her. Nature in one of her beneficient moods has ordained that even death has some antidote to its own terrors. Here, in a case where any shock may prove fatal, matters are so ordered that, from some cause or other, the things not personal, even the terrible change in her daughter to whom she is so attached, do not seem to reach her. It is something like the way dame Nature gathers round a foreign body an envelope of some insensitive tissue which can protect from evil that which it would otherwise harm by contact. If this be an ordered selfishness, then we should pause before we condemn any one for the vice of egoism, for there may be deeper root for its causes than we have knowledge of.
I used my knowledge of this phase of spiritual pathology, and set down a rule that she should not be present with Loukia, or think of her illness more than was absolutely required. She assented readily, so readily that I saw again the hand of Nature fighting for life. Von Habsburg and I were shown up to Loukia’s room. If I was shocked when I saw her yesterday, I was horrified when I saw her today.
She was ghastly, chalkily pale. The red seemed to have gone even from her lips and gums, and the bones of her face stood out prominently. Her breathing was painful to see or hear. Von Habsburg’s face grew set as marble, and his eyebrows converged till they almost touched over his nose. Loukia lay motionless, and did not seem to have strength to speak, so for a while we were all silent. Then Von Habsburg beckoned to me, and we went gently out of the room. The instant we had closed the door he stepped quickly along the passage to the next door, which was open. Then he pulled me quickly in with him and closed the door. “Mein gott!” he said. “Zhis is dreadful. Zhere is nicht time to be lost. She vill die fur sheer vant of blut to keep zhe heart’s action as it should be. Zhere must be a transfusion of blut at once. Ist it du or mich?”
“I am younger and stronger, Professor. It must be me.”
“Zhen get ready at once. Ich vill bring up mein bag. Ich am prepared.”
I went downstairs with him, and as we were going there was a knock at the hall door. When we reached the hall, the maid had just opened the door, and Michael was stepping quickly in. He rushed up to me, saying in an eager whisper,
“Jim, I was so anxious. I read between the lines of your letter, and have been in an agony. The mother was better, so I ran down here to see for myself. Is not that gentleman Dr. Von Habsburg? I am so thankful to you, sir, for coming.”
When first the Professor’s eye had lit upon him, he had been angry at his interruption at such a time, but now, as he took in his stalwart proportions and recognized the strong young manhood which seemed to emanate from him, his eyes gleamed. Without a pause he said to him as he held out his hand,
“Sir, du hab come in time. Du are zhe lover of our dear frau. She is bad, very, very bad. Nein, mein kinder, do nicht go like zhat.”
For he suddenly grew pale and sat down in a chair almost fainting. “Du are to help her. Du can do more zhan any zhat live, and your courage ist your best help.”
“What can I do?” asked Michael hoarsely. “Tell me, and I shall do it. My life is hers’ and I would give the last drop of blood in my body for her.”
The Professor has a strongly humorous side, and I could from old knowledge detect a trace of its origin in his answer.
“Mein young sir, Ich do not ask so much as zhat, not zhe last!”
“What shall I do?” There was fire in his eyes, and his open nostrils quivered with intent. Von Habsburg slapped him on the shoulder.
“Come!” he said. “Du are a man, and it ist a man ve vant. Du are better than mich, better than mein friend John.” Michael looked bewildered, and the Professor went on by explaining in a kindly way.
“Young frau is bad, very bad. She vants blut, and blut she must have or die. Mein friend John and Ich have consulted, and ve are about to perform vhat ve call transfusion of blut, to transfer from full veins of one to zhe empty veins which pine for him. John was to give his blut, as he ist zhe more young and strong zhan mich.”–Here Michael took my hand and wrung it hard in silence.–“But now du are here, du are more good zhan us, old or young, vho toil much in zhe vorld of zhought. Our nerves are nicht so calm and our blut so bright zhan yours!”
Michael turned to him and said, “If you only knew how gladly I would die for her you would understand . . .” He stopped with a sort of choke in his voice.
“Gut boy!” said Von Habsburg. “In zhe not-so-far-off du vill be happy zhat du have done all for her du love. Come now and be silent. Du shall kiss her vonce before it is done, but zhen du must go, and du must leave at mein sign. Say nicht a word to Fraulein. du know how it ist vith her. Zhere must be no shock, any knowledge of zhis would be one. Come!”
We all went up to Loukia’s room. Michael by direction remained outside. Michael turned her head and looked at us, but said nothing. She was not asleep, but she was simply too weak to make the effort. Her eyes spoke to us, that was all.
Von Habsburg took some things from his bag and laid them on a little table out of sight. Then he mixed a narcotic, and coming over to the bed, said cheerily, “Now, little frau, here ist your medicine. Drink it off, like a gut kinder. See, Ich lift du so zhat to svallow ist easy. Ja.” She had made the effort with success.
It astonished me how long the drug took to act. This, in fact, marked the extent of her weakness. The time seemed endless until sleep began to flicker in her eyelids. At last, however, the narcotic began to manifest its potency, and she fell into a deep sleep. When the Professor was satisfied, he called Michael into the room, and bade him strip off his coat. Then he added, “Du may take zhat one little kiss vhiles Ich bring over zhe table. Friend John, help to mich!” So neither of us looked whilst he bent over her.
Von Habsburg, turning to me, said, “He ist so young und strong, and of blut so pure zhat ve need nicht defibrinate it.”
Then with swiftness, but with absolute method, Von Habsburg performed the operation. As the transfusion went on, something like life seemed to come back to poor Loukia’s cheeks, and through Michael’s growing pallor the joy of his face seemed absolutely to shine. After a bit I began to grow anxious, for the loss of blood was telling on Michael, strong man as he was. It gave me an idea of what a terrible strain Loukia’s system must have undergone that what weakened Michael only partially restored her.
But the Professor’s face was set, and he stood watch in hand, and with his eyes fixed now on the patient and now on Michael. I could hear my own heart beat. Presently, he said in a soft voice, “Do nicht stir an instant. It ist enough. Du attend him. Ich vill look to her.”
When all was over, I could see how much Michael was weakened. I dressed the wound and took his arm to bring him away, when Von Habsburg spoke without turning round, the man seems to have eyes in the back of his head,”Zhe brave lover, Ich zhink, deserve another kiss, vhich he shall have presently.” And as he had now finished his operation, he adjusted the pillow to the patient’s head. As he did so the narrow black velvet band which she seems always to wear round her throat, buckled with an old diamond buckle which her lover had given her, was dragged a little up, and showed a red mark on her throat.
Michael did not notice it, but I could hear the deep hiss of indrawn breath which is one of Von Habsburg’s ways of betraying emotion. He said nothing at the moment, but turned to me, saying, “Now take down our brave young lover, give him of zhe port wine, and let him lie down a vhile. He must zhen go home und rest, sleep much and eat much, zhat he may be recruited of vhat he has so given to his love. He must nicht stay here. Hold a moment! Ich may take it, sir, that you are anxious of result. Then bring it vith du, that in all ways zhe operation is successful. Du have saved her life zhis time, and du can go home and rest easy in mind zhat all zhat can be is. Ich shall tell her all vhen she is vell. She shall love du none zhe less for vhat you have done. Goodbye.”
When Michael had gone I went back to the room. Loukia was sleeping gently, but her breathing was stronger. I could see the counterpane move as her breast heaved. By the bedside sat Von Habsburg, looking at her intently. The velvet band again covered the red mark. I asked the Professor in a whisper, “What do you make of that mark on her throat?”
“Vhat do du make of it?”
“I have not examined it yet,” I answered, and then and there proceeded to loose the band. Just over the external jugular vein there were two punctures, not large, but not wholesome looking. There was no sign of disease, but the edges were white and worn looking, as if by some trituration. It at once occurred to me that that this wound, or whatever it was, might be the means of that manifest loss of blood. But I abandoned the idea as soon as it formed, for such a thing could not be. The whole bed would have been drenched to a scarlet with the blood which the girl must have lost to leave such a pallor as she had before the transfusion.
“Vell?” said Van Helsing.
“Well,” said I. “I can make nothing of it.”
The Professor stood up. “Ich must go back to Vienna tonight,” he said “Zhere are books and things there which I want. Du must remain here all nacht, und du must not let your sight pass from her.”
“Shall I have a nurse?” I asked.
“Ve are zhe best nurses, du and Ich. Du keep vatch all nacht. See zhat she is vell fed, and zhat nothing disturbs her. Du must not sleep all zhe nacht. Later on ve can sleep, du and Ich. Ich shall be back as soon as possible. And zhen ve may begin.”
“May begin?” I said. “What on earth do you mean?”
“Ve shall see!” he answered, as he hurried out. He came back a moment later and put his head inside the door and said with a warning finger held up, “Remember, she ist your charge. If du leave her, and harm befall, du shall nicht sleep easy hereafter!”

Dr. Stavridis’s Diary–Continued
8 September.

I sat up all night with Loukia. The opiate worked itself off towards dusk, and she waked naturally. She looked a different being from what she had been before the operation. Her spirits even were good, and she was full of a happy vivacity, but I could see evidences of the absolute prostration which she had undergone. When I told Mrs. Este-Ravenna that Dr. Von Habsburg had directed that I should sit up with her, she almost pooh-poohed the idea, pointing out her daughter’s renewed strength and excellent spirits. I was firm, however, and made preparations for my long vigil. When her maid had prepared her for the night I came in, having in the meantime had supper, and took a seat by the bedside.
She did not in any way make objection, but looked at me gratefully whenever I caught her eye. After a long spell she seemed sinking off to sleep, but with an effort seemed to pull herself together and shook it off. It was apparent that she did not want to sleep, so I tackled the subject at once.
“You do not want to sleep?”
“No. I am afraid.”
“Afraid to go to sleep! Why so? It is the boon we all crave for.”
“Ah, not if you were like me, if sleep was to you a presage of horror!”
“A presage of horror! What on earth do you mean?”
“I don’t know. Oh, I don’t know. And that is what is so terrible. All this weakness comes to me in sleep, until I dread the very thought.”
“But, my dear girl, you may sleep tonight. I am here watching you, and I can promise that nothing will happen.”
“Ah, I can trust you!” she said.
I seized the opportunity, and said, “I promise that if I see any evidence of bad dreams I will wake you at once.”
“You will? Oh, will you really? How good you are to me. Then I will sleep!” And almost at the word she gave a deep sigh of relief, and sank back, asleep.
All night long I watched by her. She never stirred, but slept on and on in a deep, tranquil, life-giving, healthgiving sleep. Her lips were slightly parted, and her breast rose and fell with the regularity of a pendulum. There was a smile on her face, and it was evident that no bad dreams had come to disturb her peace of mind.
In the early morning her maid came, and I left her in her care and took myself back home, for I was anxious about many things. I sent a short wire to Von Habsburg and Michael, telling them of the excellent result of the operation. My own work, with its manifold arrears, took me all day to clear off. It was dark when I was able to inquire about my zoophagous patient. The report was good. He had been quite quiet for the past day and night. A telegram came from Von Habsburg at Vienna whilst I was at dinner, suggesting that I should be at [ILLEGIBLE] tonight, as it might be well to be at hand, and stating that he was leaving by the night mail and would join me early in the morning.

9 September.

I was pretty tired and worn out when I got to [ILLEGIBLE]. For two nights I had hardly had a wink of sleep, and my brain was beginning to feel that numbness which marks cerebral exhaustion. Loukia was up and in cheerful spirits. When she shook hands with me she looked sharply in my face and said,
“No sitting up tonight for you. You are worn out. I am quite well again. Indeed, I am, and if there is to be any sitting up, it is I who will sit up with you.”
I would not argue the point, but went and had my supper. Lucy came with me, and, enlivened by her charming presence, I made an excellent meal, and had a couple of glasses of the more than excellent port. Then Lucy took me upstairs, and showed me a room next her own, where a cozy fire was burning.
“Now,” she said. “You must stay here. I shall leave this door open and my door too. You can lie on the sofa for I know that nothing would induce any of you doctors to go to bed whilst there is a patient above the horizon. If I want anything I shall call out, and you can come to me at once.”
I could not but acquiesce, for I was dog tired, and could not have sat up had I tried. So, on her renewing her promise to call me if she should want anything, I lay on the sofa, and forgot all about everything.

Loukia Este-Ravenna’s Diary
9 September.

I feel so happy tonight. I have been so miserably weak, that to be able to think and move about is like feeling sunshine after a long spell of east wind out of a steel sky. Somehow Michael feels very, very close to me. I seem to feel his presence warm about me. I suppose it is that sickness and weakness are selfish things and turn our inner eyes and sympathy on ourselves, whilst health and strength give love rein, and in thought and feeling he can wander where he wills. I know where my thoughts are. If only Michael knew! My dear, my dear, your ears must tingle as you sleep, as mine do waking. Oh, the blissful rest of last night! How I slept, with that dear, good Dr. Stavridis watching me. And tonight I shall not fear to sleep, since he is close at hand and within call. Thank everybody for being so good to me. Thank God! Goodnight Michael.

Dr. Stavridis’s Diary
10 September.

I was conscious of the Professor’s hand on my head, and started awake all in a second. That is one of the things that we learn in an asylum, at any rate.
“Und how ist our patient?”
“Well, when I left her, or rather when she left me,” I answered.
“Come, let us see,” he said. And together we went into the room.
The blind was down, and I went over to raise it gently, whilst Van Helsing stepped, with his soft, cat-like tread, over to the bed.
As I raised the blind, and the morning sunlight flooded the room, I heard the Professor’s low hiss of inspiration, and knowing its rarity, a deadly fear shot through my heart. As I passed over he moved back, and his exclamation of horror, “Gott in Himmel! [sic]” needed no enforcement from his agonized face. He raised his hand and pointed to the bed, and his iron face was drawn and ashen white. I felt my knees begin to tremble.
There on the bed, seemingly in a swoon, lay poor Loukia, more horribly white and wan-looking than ever. Even the lips were white, and the gums seemed to have shrunken back from the teeth, as we sometimes see in a corpse after a prolonged illness.
Von Habsburg raised his foot to stamp in anger, but the instinct of his life and all the long years of habit stood to him, and he put it down again softly.
“Schnell!” he said. “Bring zhe beer.”
I flew to the dining room, and returned with the decanter. He wetted the poor white lips with it, and together we rubbed palm and wrist and heart. He felt her heart, and after a few moments of agonizing suspense said,
“It ist nicht too late. It beats, zhough but feebly. All our vork ist undone. Ve must begin again. Zhere ist no young Michael here now. Ich have to call on du yourself zhis time, friend John.” As he spoke, he was dipping into his bag, and producing the instruments of transfusion. I had taken off my coat and rolled up my shirt sleeve. There was no possibility of an opiate just at present, and no need of one. and so, without a moment’s delay, we began the operation.
After a time, it did not seem a short time either, for the draining away of one’s blood, no matter how willingly it be given, is a terrible feeling, Von Habsburg held up a warning finger. “Do nicht stir,” he said. “But Ich fear zhat vith growing strength she may vake, und zhat vould make danger, oh, so much danger. But Ich shall precaution take. Ich shall give hypodermic injection of morphia.” He proceeded then, swiftly and deftly, to carry out his intent.
The effect on Loukia was not bad, for the faint seemed to merge subtly into the narcotic sleep. It was with a feeling of personal pride that I could see a faint tinge of color steal back into the pallid cheeks and lips. No man knows, till he experiences it, what it is to feel his own lifeblood drawn away into the veins of the woman he loves.
The Professor watched me critically. “Zhat vill do,” he said. “Already?” I remonstrated. “You took a great deal more from Mike.” To which he smiled a sad sort of smile as he replied,
“He ist her lover, her fiance. Du have work, much work to do for her and for others, and the present will suffice.”
When we stopped the operation, he attended to Lucy, whilst I applied digital pressure to my own incision. I laid down, while I waited his leisure to attend to me, for I felt faint and a little sick. By and by he bound up my wound, and sent me downstairs to get a glass of wine for myself.
I had done my part, and now my next duty was to keep up my strength. I felt very weak, and in the weakness lost something of the amazement at what had occurred. I fell asleep on the sofa, however, wondering over and over again how Loukia had made such a retrograde movement, and how she could have been drained of so much blood with no sign any where to show for it. I think I must have continued my wonder in my dreams, for, sleeping and waking my thoughts always came back to the little punctures in her throat and the ragged, exhausted appearance of their edges, tiny though they were.
Loukia slept well into the day, and when she woke she was fairly well and strong, though not nearly so much so as the day before.
She chatted with me freely, and seemed quite unconscious that anything had happened. I tried to keep her amused and interested. When her mother came up to see her, she did not seem to notice any change whatever, but said to me gratefully,
“We owe you so much, Dr. Stavridis, for all you have done, but you really must now take care not to overwork yourself. You are looking pale yourself. You want a wife to nurse and look after you a bit, that you do!” As she spoke, Loukia turned crimson, though it was only momentarily, for her poor wasted veins could not stand for long an unwonted drain to the head. The reaction came in excessive pallor as she turned imploring eyes on me. I smiled and nodded, and laid my finger on my lips. With a sigh, she sank back amid her pillows. Von Habsburg returned in a couple of hours, and presently said to me. “Now you go home, and eat much and drink enough. Make yourself strong. I stay here tonight, and I shall sit up with little miss myself. You and I must watch the case, and we must have none other to know. I have grave reasons. No, do not ask the. Think what you will. Do not fear to think even the most not-improbable. Goodnight.”
In the hall two of the maids came to me, and asked if they or either of them might not sit up with Miss Lucy. They implored me to let them, and when I said it was Dr. Von Habsburg’s wish that either he or I should sit up, they asked me quite piteously to intercede with the`foreign gentleman’. I was much touched by their kindness. Perhaps it is because I am weak at present, and perhaps because it was on Loukia’s account, that their devotion was manifested. For over and over again have I seen similar instances of woman’s kindness. I got back here in time for a late dinner, went my rounds, all well, and set this down whilst waiting for sleep. It is coming.

11 September.

This afternoon I went over again. Found Von Habsburg in excellent spirits, and Lucy much better. Shortly after I had arrived, a big parcel from abroad came for the Professor. He opened it with much impressment, assumed, of course, and showed a great bundle of white flowers.
“These are for you, Frau Loukia,” he said.
“For me? Oh, Dr. Von Habsburg!”
“Ja, but zhese are medicines.” Here Loukia made a wry face. “Zhis is medicinal, but du do nicht know how. Ich put him in your vindow, Ich make pretty vreath, and hang him round your neck, so du sleep vell. Ja! Zhey, like zhe lotus flower, make your trouble forgotten. It smell so like zhe vaters of Lethe, and of zhat fountain of youth that the Conquistadores sought for, and find him all too late.”
Whilst he was speaking, Loukia had been examining the flowers and smelling them. Now she threw them down saying, with half laughter, and half disgust,
“Oh, Professor, I believe you are only putting up a joke on me. Why, these flowers are only common garlic.”
To my surprise, Von Habsburg rose up and said with all his sternness, his iron jaw set and his bushy eyebrows meeting,
“Ich bin very serious! Zhere ist a reason Ich do zhis!”
We went into the room, taking the flowers with us. The Professor’s actions were certainly odd and not to be found in any pharmacopeia that I ever heard of. First he fastened up the windows and latched them securely. Next, taking a handful of the flowers, he rubbed them all over the sashes, as though to ensure that every whiff of air that might get in would be laden with the garlic smell. Then with the wisp he rubbed all over the jamb of the door, above, below, and at each side, and round the fireplace in the same way. It all seemed grotesque to me, and presently I said, “Well, Professor, I know you always have a reason for what you do, but this certainly puzzles me. It is well we have no sceptic here, or he would say that you were working some spell to keep out an evil spirit.”
“Perhaps Ich am!” He answered quietly as he began to make the wreath which Lucy was to wear round her neck.
We then waited whilst Loukia made her toilet for the night, and when she was in bed he came and himself fixed the wreath of garlic round her neck. The last words he said to her were,
“Take care you do nicht disturb it, und even if zhe room feel close, do nicht tonight open zhe window or zhe door.”
“I promise,” said Loukia. “And thank you both a thousand times for all your kindness to me! Oh, what have I done to be blessed with such friends?”
As we left the house in my fly, which was waiting, Von Habsburg said,”Tonight Ich kann sleep in peace, and sleep Ich vant, two nights of travel, much reading in zhe day between, und much anxiety on zhe day to follow, and a night to sit up, vithout to vink. Tomorrow in the morning early du call for mich, und ve come together to see our pretty frau, so much more strong for mein `spell’ vhich Ich have vork. Ho, ho!”
He seemed so confident that I, remembering my own confidence two nights before and with the baneful result, felt awe and vague terror. It must have been my weakness that made me hesitate to tell it to my friend, but I felt it all the more, like unshed tears.

((To All)
“Apologies for my absence in recent meetings Senators the recent unrest within the Empire has been particularly harsh towards me and my family recently. Many in my family serve in her Majesty’s government and armed forces and regretfully several were killed. These events, while comparable to nothing less than treason, do nonetheless prompt us all to reflect on the current conditions of everyone in the Empire especially labourers, farmers and other such poorer and less educated members of our society. While I am no socialist I believe that all individuals have a duty to help those in need and as such mayhaps from these great halls we ourselves might move to help those deserving of aid?

Another point that may be of interest to note is that in my capacity as Governor of Reatia I was left in charge of defending the province from these traitors. While the land and its people escaped the worst of the violence some concerning discoveries were made. In the dying days of the revolt rumors began to spread of Hungarian and German involvement in the revolt among the populace. While these wild tales remain precisely that for now the proximity of Reatia to both these nations has prompted no small concern and arguably even panic in those of a more nervous disposition. Whatever the rumor what cannot be ignored is that some of the weapons found in the hands of these traitors are beyond doubt models used by the Hungarian and German militaries. I must ask that the Ministers for Security and Intelligence examine these concerns without delay!”

Oh no not another one
A senate page had just handed our kilted senator yet another telegram from his nephew Alexandros further expanding his apparent exploits in fighting the revolt with the imperial cavalry in Britannia after being pushed through the military school early owning to a need to fill the ranks. Apparently Alaxandros had made quite a name for himself along with this new found friend of his a chap named Winston who was seemingly a relation of the Duke of Marlborough.
A senator garbed a loose piece of paper quickly scribbled a note and handed it to the nearest page with the words “have that cabled immediately.”

-Senator Comminus

Thank you for bringing up the matter of the German-Hungarian weaponry. We can now assume that Angelos is fleeing towards Germany or Hungary, and I will advise the General Staff to deploy the correct legions to intercept him. I also advise the Foreign Ministry to bring up this matter with the German and Hungarian governments.

~Senator Doukas, Minister of Security


1890 began with a small rebellion in Wales. They were swiftly dispersed, but they were a harbinger of a new dogma of violence.

Beginning in March, We attempted to regain control of the economy. Coal shortages were preventing the creation of cement, so We forcibly closed the smaller glass producers throughout the Empire to attempt to conserve coal. This at least allowed the supplies of cement to increase so that naval base expansion and factory expansion could continue. But the coal shortage did and does continue.

In late June, a visit by Senator Venédiktos Nguyen-Climaco to Dia Nam was canceled when they refused to let him into the country. We insisted on a peaceful resolution to the issue, but hotheads throughout the Empire were displeased by this.

When combustion engines had been sufficiently designed that their development needed no further help, We asked the School of Economics to look through history with an economic mindset to find useful techniques and ideas.

Meanwhile, We began planning to hold a World’s Fair in the Empire.

The beginning of the year demonstrated something to show off at the fair: a system similar to the telegraph, but that allowed one to speak remotely. The inventor called it a telephone, and the name has stuck. As a result, the 1891 World’s Fair was a great success. But later in the year, We saw increasing amount of organization of rebels.

By May the School of Economics had been able to find various efficiencies that left the Empire needing slightly fewer raw materials. We asked them to then use all the tools they had developed in the last fifty years to re-examine the fundamentals of their discipline. Surely more efficiency could be found.

In August, the Communist rebellion we had all feared rose up. But the legions rose to the occasion. By mid-November, all rebels outside of Africa had been put down. But as the communists were whittled down, the nature of the rebellion became more nasty.

Fortunately, by May of 1892 all rebel forces had been defeated, and it only remained to take back control of any territories they had seized. As the legions did so, We expanded the powers of the Minister of Security in order to prevent such uprisings in the future.

In the midst of the rebellion, the combustion engine was applied in the very down to earth task of farming. It was also applied to a long-held dream of all mankind: flight.

When the School of Economics had reviewed their fundamentals, We had the University of Constantinople create a department of business so that management practices could be researched.

Slightly before the last communist stronghold had been returned to Imperial government, reactionaries rebelled. They were swiftly put down by the end of February, while the communist rebels had been finished mid-January.

With the founding of the School of Business, We instructed the legions to implement some ideas they had been sharing: that of having several layers of defense in order to better stop the enemy.

Meanwhile, Japan declared war on Korea to reconquer Pyongyang, and asked Us to assist them. We would have preferred to see a fully independent Korea, but it was clear that they would lose regardless, so We agreed in order to keep Our alliance with Japan. Soon enough, Japan asked Us to witness the signing of their peace treaty.

The news that We had been agitating for the handover of Sulu from Hedjaz inspired another communist revolt in March of 1893.

While this one was more easily put down, before it was finished off, Jacobins were inspired by Austria’s creation of a radical democracy and rose up. They had somehow not noticed that Austria was too weak to fend off Scandinavia and was about to be annexed.

This led the more reactionary elements of the Empire to wistfully reminisce about the times before all these rebellions, likewise failing to notice an important detail: all of the rebellions in the past.

Nevertheless, the rebellion was eventually put down, and the legions developed their systems of deep defenses. We then asked the admiralty to design more modern ships taking advantage of the Empire’s growing stock of high-quality metals.

In February, We declared war on Hedjaz for the last of the Philippine islands. While the land war was perfectly typical, the war on the seas proved that the admiralty was no longer prepared to fight a modern war.

Within days of that battle, however, Hedjaz surrendered and We accepted the peace.

Shortly after the war, the general plans for new ships were ready, though specific designs were still being worked out.

With the end of the war, there had been enough improvement in the economy, and enough money saved, that We began cutting tax rates.

Meanwhile, a citizen began organizing a modern form of the ancient Olympics. We happily agreed to help organize the first Olympics.

In late November 1894, more communist rebels rose up, but it seemed few were willing to use such means any longer. They were defeated just yesterday.

And this morning, We tasked the admiralty with creating the capability to support modern fleets that would not lose as in the last war.

Progress moves further onward, especially with the new flying machines we have developed.

Now, as for the Secret Police. Before you jump to conclusions and shout that I am oppressing the common people, allow me to explain. The secret police is controlled by the most senior members of the Ministry of Security, not just me, who make up the Security Council. Any action that the Secret Police takes must first be approved by a majority of these Security Council members to prevent abuse of power. The Empress appoints these members, not me. The Security Council is evenly divided into groups of conservatives, liberals, and socialists so that each group gains representation and no single group may use the Secret Police for its own agenda.
In the imperial edict establishing the Secret Police, several limitations have been put on the Secret Police (which can be extended or revoked by the Empress alone at will). First, the Secret Police may not be used to crack down on peaceful protests without a credible reason. Second, the Secret Police must have a credible reason to arrest a person. Personal motives do not count as credible reasons. Third, the Secret Police was created to prevent future militant uprisings against the State and shall primarily focus on that goal. So the Secret Police, for example, is obliged to find and capture Markos Angelos but is forbidden from arresting citizens without a credible reason such as evidence of an imminent rebellion. Fourth, senators are immune from investigation by the Secret Police but are not immune to investigation by regular police forces.

I assure you, the Secret Police is not an extension of my personal power but merely a necessity to maintain order in the Empire. We must be prepared to sacrifice a few liberties in favor of stability. The Secret Police will weaken if not prevent the formation of rebellions while trying to prevent abuses of the common people. If I find out that any member of the Secret Police has been abusing their power to mistreat citizens, he will be dismissed from service immediately.


Communists! How dare they rise up against the Empress’ magnanimity! We will crush them with impunity! As long as militant Communists exist, we will hunt them down and destroy down just as like how we hunted down the Cult! Also, the fact that a minor nation was able to crush our Imperial Fleet is worrying. We must modernize before a major naval power engages us and destroys our fleet!

-Senator Palaiologos

Perhaps we could make use of our new flying machines in order to assist our troops and fleets in the future? Think about it: the aeroplanes can provide reconnaissance and possibly drop bombs on our enemy well before they even reach our lines or our ships! As long as we maintain a monopoly on them victory in battle is assured.

-Senator Doukas

Senators I will not comment on the secret police, I feel that discussing this group outside of the Security Council would not be in the best interests of the nation.

I can only implore the Senate and the Empress to look to provide more political and social support to the people to help us reduce the threat from hotheads within our ranks causing these issue.

More importantly for an empire as far fung as our own how is it possible that we have allowed our fleet to be reduced to such a state, is there any response from the Naval Office?

– Senator Gray

Greetings Senators! I have returned from Australia and I am pleased to report its industrialization is going along swimmingly. Now, to subjects you may be concerned about. The ministry of Armaments more than ecstatic to begin working on new warships for the Imperial fleet, particularly these “Pre-Dreadnoughts” and “Dreadnoughts”. Secondly, I wish my ministry had known sooner about the developments of these “telephones”; while they are amazing feats of modern engineering, we believe the military should have had access to it first before the civilian population, seeing as now not only can rebels and terror cells interact instantly, but that we cannot communicate faster and more reliably with ourselves than they can. Finally, I am very content on the formation of the secret police, I believe it will bring overall great peace and destroy dissidents before it even begins. The Ministry of Armaments fully supports the secret police and hopes to work together with them in the future to support the security of the empire.
-Senator Magnus Kvensson

Senators, thank you for your replies. We are glad of the organization Senator Doukas developed for the Secret Police. We would not wish them to become a tool of tyranny. And We agree at the need to modernize the navy. If any Senators have concrete proposals for how to do so, We would hear them.

As well, We wish to reconsider the policy of automatically renewing governorships and ministries. We do not wish them to be as the old feudal offices. So We shall open all governorships and ministries to all Senators, barring Thracia, which remains under the governorship of the royal family. Therefore, these are the governorships available:

(North) Africa
Aquitaine (Aquitaine peoples)
Azerbaijan (Azerbaijani peoples)
Belgium (Flemish and Walloon peoples)
Brittany (Breton peoples)
Burgundy (Burgundian peoples)
Catalonia (Andalucian peoples)
France (Cosmopotitaine peoples)
Italy (Italian peoples)
Java (Javan peoples)
New Zealand
Philippines (Filipino peoples)
South Africa
Spain (Castilian and Andalusian peoples)
Wales (Welsh peoples)

Which regions would the Senators prefer to govern? If there are conflicting desires, We shall make the necessary decisions. And these are the available ministries:
Foreign minister
Armament minister
Minister of security
Minister of intelligence
Chief of Staff
Chief of the Army
Chief of the Navy

Again, if there are conflicting desires, We shall make the necessary decisions.

I wish to continue serving as governor of Italy, for it is my home and my people. I will gladly continue as Minister of Intelligence if required, but Foreign Minister would be a preferable alternative.

– Senator Leonardo Favero

I would like to resume the governorship of Britannia.

-Senator Palaiologos

I wish to continue my serving as Minister of Security. I would be fine with governing Macedonia, but Palestine would also be acceptable.

~Senator Doukas

I rely on you Empress to choose. I can resume my work as governor of (North) Africa, or move to governorships that are more in need of being represented by Senator in Senate.

– Senator Alexandros Damaskinos

Alexios says, “the fortunes of House Angelos are invested in Thessaloniki, so I would wish to continue my father’s legacy in Macedonia. I trust that we have not offended the Basilissa such that she would pass us over for another house.” He looks pointedly at Michael Doukas.

Regarding the Angeloi’s desire to continue their governorship of Macedonia, I have no objections, and I shall humbly retract my request to become governor of Macedonia. I am now in favor of becoming governor of either Palestine or Syria.

– Senator Doukas

I ask if the Empress might consider consolidating some of the governorship’s of the Indonesia, Australasia and Pacific Island territories into one larger governorship of Oceania Major. Baring the Philippines of course. I also ask that I be the Governor of this new provence, but if that cannot be achieved, then I ask for my former position as governor of Australia.

– Senator Kvensson

After seeking a plebiscite in Brittany, the people have endorsed my continued governship if it pleases your majesty.

I am happy to maintain my role as COS, however if another senator feels that this position would suit them better I will reliquish the role to maintain balance and order in the Senate.

-Senator Gray

Loukia Este-Ravenna’s Diary
12 September.

How good they all are to me. I quite love that dear Dr. Von Habsburg. I wonder why he was so anxious about these flowers. He positively frightened me, he was so fierce. And yet he must have been right, for I feel comfort from them already. Somehow, I do not dread being alone tonight, and I can go to sleep without fear. I shall not mind any flapping outside the window. Oh, the terrible struggle that I have had against sleep so often of late, the pain of sleeplessness, or the pain of the fear of sleep, and with such unknown horrors as it has for me! How blessed are some people, whose lives have no fears, no dreads, to whom sleep is a blessing that comes nightly, and brings nothing but sweet dreams. Well, here I am tonight, hoping for sleep, and lying like Ophelia in the play, with`virgin crants and maiden strewments.’ I never liked garlic before, but tonight it is delightful! There is peace in its smell. I feel sleep coming already. Goodnight, everybody.

Dr. Stavridis’s Diary
13 September.

Called and found Van Helsing, as usual, up to time. The carriage ordered from the hotel was waiting. The Professor took his bag, which he always brings with him now.
Let all be put down exactly. Von Habsburg and I arrived at eight o’clock. It was a lovely morning. The bright sunshine and all the fresh feeling of early autumn seemed like the completion of nature’s annual work. The leaves were turning to all kinds of beautiful colors, but had not yet begun to drop from the trees. When we entered we met Mrs. Este-Ravenna coming out of the morning room. She is always an early riser. She greeted us warmly and said,
“You will be glad to know that Loukia is better. The dear child is still asleep. I looked into her room and saw her, but did not go in, lest I should disturb her.” The Professor smiled, and looked quite jubilant. He rubbed his hands together, and said, “Aha! Ich zhought Ich had diagnosed zhe case. Mein treatment ist vorking.”
To which she replied, “You must not take all the credit to yourself, doctor. Lucy’s state this morning is due in part to me.”
“How do du mean, ma’am?” asked the Professor.
“Well, I was anxious about the dear child in the night, and went into her room. She was sleeping soundly, so soundly that even my coming did not wake her. But the room was awfully stuffy. There were a lot of those horrible, strongsmelling flowers about everywhere, and she had actually a bunch of them round her neck. I feared that the heavy odor would be too much for the dear child in her weak state, so I took them all away and opened a bit of the window to let in a little fresh air. You will be pleased with her, I am sure.”
She moved off into her boudoir, where she usually breakfasted early. As she had spoken, I watched the Professor’s face, and saw it turn ashen gray. He had been able to retain his self-command whilst the poor lady was present, for he knew her state and how mischievous a shock would be. He actually smiled on her as he held open the door for her to pass into her room. But the instant she had disappeared he pulled me, suddenly and forcibly, into the dining room and closed the door.
Then, for the first time in my life, I saw Von Habsburg break down. He raised his hands over his head in a sort of mute despair, and then beat his palms together in a helpless way. Finally he sat down on a chair, and putting his hands before his face, began to sob, with loud, dry sobs that seemed to come from the very racking of his heart. He began to put effort on his Greek, to eliminate the German influences in his speech.
Then he raised his arms again, as though appealing to the whole universe. “Gott! Gott! Gott!” he said. “Vhat have ve done, vhat has zhis poor zhing done, zhat ve are so sore beset? Ist zhere fate amongst us still, send down from the pagan world of old, that such things must be, and in such way? This poor mother, all unknowing, and all for the best as she think, does such thing as lose her daughter body and soul, and we must not tell her, we must not even warn her, or she die, then both die. Oh, how we are beset! How are all the powers of the devils against us!”
Suddenly he jumped to his feet. “Come,” he said.”come, we must see and act. Devils or no devils, or all the devils at once, it matters not. We must fight him all the same.” He went to the hall door for his bag, and together we went up to Loukia’s room.
Once again I drew up the blind, whilst Von Habsburg went towards the bed. This time he did not start as he looked on the poor face with the same awful, waxen pallor as before. He wore a look of stern sadness and infinite pity.
“As I expected,” he murmured, with that hissing inspiration of his which meant so much. Without a word he went and locked the door, and then began to set out on the little table the instruments for yet another operation of transfusion of blood. I had long ago recognized the necessity, and begun to take off my coat, but he stopped me with a warning hand. “No!” he said. “Today you must operate. I shall provide. You are weakened already.” As he spoke he took off his coat and rolled up his shirtsleeve.
Again the operation. Again the narcotic. Again some return of color to the ashy cheeks, and the regular breathing of healthy sleep. This time I watched whilst Von Habsburg recruited himself and rested.
Presently he took an opportunity of telling Mrs. Este-Ravenna that she must not remove anything from Loukia’s room without consulting him. That the flowers were of medicinal value, and that the breathing of their odor was a part of the system of cure. Then he took over the care of the case himself, saying that he would watch this night and the next, and would send me word when to come.
After another hour Loukia waked from her sleep, fresh and bright and seemingly not much the worse for her terrible ordeal.
What does it all mean? I am beginning to wonder if my long habit of life amongst the insane is beginning to tell upon my own brain.

Loukia Este-Ravenna’s Diary
17 September.

Four days and nights of peace. I am getting so strong again that I hardly know myself. It is as if I had passed through some long nightmare, and had just awakened to see the beautiful sunshine and feel the fresh air of the morning around me. I have a dim half remembrance of long, anxious times of waiting and fearing, darkness in which there was not even the pain of hope to make present distress more poignant. And then long spells of oblivion, and the rising back to life as a diver coming up through a great press of water. Since, however, Dr. Von Habsburg has been with me, all this bad dreaming seems to have passed away. The noises that used to frighten me out of my wits, the flapping against the windows, the distant voices which seemed so close to me, the harsh sounds that came from I know not where and commanded me to do I know not what, have all ceased. I go to bed now without any fear of sleep. I do not even try to keep awake. I have grown quite fond of the garlic, and a boxful arrives for me every day Tonight Dr. Von Habsburg is going away, as he has to be for a day in Vienna. But I need not be watched. I am well enough to be left alone.
Thank God for Mother’s sake, and dear Michael’s, and for all our friends who have been so kind! I shall not even feel the change, for last night Dr. Von Habsburg slept in his chair a lot of the time. I found him asleep twice when I awoke. But I did not fear to go to sleep again, although the boughs or bats or something flapped almost angrily against the window panes.

The Mall Gazette, 18 September.
After many inquiries and almost as many refusals, and perpetually using the words `MALL GAZETTE ‘ as a sort of talisman, I managed to find the keeper of the section of the Zoological Gardens in which the wolf department is included. Thomas Bilder, an immigrant from Britannia, lives in one of the cottages in the enclosure behind the elephant house, and was just sitting down to his tea when I found him. Thomas and his wife are hospitable folk, elderly, and without children, and if the specimen I enjoyed of their hospitality be of the average kind, their lives must be pretty comfortable. The keeper would not enter on what he called business until the supper was over, and we were all satisfied. Then when the table was cleared, and he had lit his pipe, he said,

“Now, Sir, you can go on and arsk me what you want. You’ll excoose me refoosin’ to talk of perfeshunal subjucts afore meals. I gives the wolves and the jackals and the hyenas in all our section their tea afore I begins to arsk them questions.”

“How do you mean, ask them questions?” I queried, wishful to get him into a talkative humor.

” `Ittin’ of them over the `ead with a pole is one way. Scratchin’ of their ears in another, when gents as is flush wants a bit of a show-orf to their gals. I don’t so much mind the fust, the `ittin of the pole part afore I chucks in their dinner, but I waits till they’ve `ad their sherry and kawffee, so to speak,afore I tries on with the ear scratchin’. Mind you,” he added philosophically, “there’s a deal of the same nature in us as in them theer animiles. Here’s you a-comin’ and arskin’ of me questions about my business, and I that grump-like that only for your bloomin’ `arf-quid I’d `a’ seen you blowed fust `fore I’d answer. Not even when you arsked me sarcastic like if I’d like you to arsk the Superintendent if you might arsk me questions. Without offence did I tell yer to go to `ell?”

“You did.”

“An’ when you said you’d report me for usin’ obscene language that was `ittin’ me over the `ead. But the `arfquid made that all right. I weren’t a-goin’ to fight, so I waited for the food, and did with my `owl as the wolves and lions and tigers does. But, lor’ love yer `art, now that the old `ooman has stuck a chunk of her tea-cake in me, an’ rinsed me out with her bloomin’ old teapot, and I’ve lit hup, you may scratch my ears for all you’re worth, and won’t even get a growl out of me. Drive along with your questions. I know what yer a-comin’ at, that `ere escaped wolf.”

“Exactly. I want you to give me your view of it. Just tell me how it happened, and when I know the facts I’ll get you to say what you consider was the cause of it, and how you think the whole affair will end.”

“All right, guv’nor. This `ere is about the `ole story. That`ere wolf what we called Bersicker was one of three gray ones that came from Norway to Jamrach’s, which we bought off him four years ago. He was a nice well-behaved wolf, that never gave no trouble to talk of. I’m more surprised at `im for wantin’ to get out nor any other animile in the place. But, there, you can’t trust wolves no more nor women.”

“Don’t you mind him, Sir!” broke in Mrs. Tom, with a cheery laugh. ” `E’s got mindin’ the animiles so long that blest if he ain’t like a old wolf `isself! But there ain’t no `arm in `im.”

“Well, Sir, it was about two hours after feedin’ yesterday when I first hear my disturbance. I was makin’ up a litter in the monkey house for a young puma which is ill. But when I heard the yelpin’ and `owlin’ I kem away straight. There was Bersicker a-tearin’ like a mad thing at the bars as if he wanted to get out. There wasn’t much people about that day, and close at hand was only one man, a tall, thin chap, with a `ook nose and a pointed beard, with a few white hairs runnin’ through it. He had a `ard, cold look and red eyes, and I took a sort of mislike to him, for it seemed as if it was `im as they was hirritated at. He `ad white kid gloves on `is `ands, and he pointed out the animiles to me and says, `Keeper, these wolves seem upset at something.’

“`Maybe it’s you,’ says I, for I did not like the airs as he give `isself. He didn’t get angry, as I `oped he would, but he smiled a kind of insolent smile, with a mouth full of white, sharp teeth. `Oh no, they wouldn’t like me,’ `e says.

” `Ow yes, they would,’ says I, a-imitatin’of him.`They always like a bone or two to clean their teeth on about tea time, which you `as a bagful.’

“Well, it was a odd thing, but when the animiles see us a-talkin’ they lay down, and when I went over to Bersicker he let me stroke his ears same as ever. That there man kem over, and blessed but if he didn’t put in his hand and stroke the old wolf’s ears too!

” `Tyke care,’ says I. `Bersicker is quick.’

” `Never mind,’ he says. I’m used to `em!’

” `Are you in the business yourself?”I says, tyking off my `at, for a man what trades in wolves, anceterer, is a good friend to keepers.

” `Nom’ says he, `not exactly in the business, but I `ave made pets of several.’ and with that he lifts his `at as perlite as a lord, and walks away. Old Bersicker kep’ a-lookin’ arter `im till `e was out of sight, and then went and lay down in a corner and wouldn’t come hout the `ole hevening. Well, larst night, so soon as the moon was hup, the wolves here all began a-`owling. There warn’t nothing for them to `owl at. There warn’t no one near, except some one that was evidently a-callin’ a dog somewheres out back of the gardings in the Park road. Once or twice I went out to see that all was right, and it was, and then the `owling stopped. Just before twelve o’clock I just took a look round afore turnin’ in, an’, bust me, but when I kem opposite to old Bersicker’s cage I see the rails broken and twisted about and the cage empty. And that’s all I know for certing.”

“Did any one else see anything?”

“One of our gard`ners was a-comin’ `ome about that time from a `armony, when he sees a big gray dog comin’ out through the garding `edges. At least, so he says, but I don’t give much for it myself, for if he did `e never said a word about it to his missis when `e got `ome, and it was only after the escape of the wolf was made known, and we had been up all night a-huntin’ of the Park for Bersicker, that he remembered seein’ anything. My own belief was that the `armony `ad got into his `ead.”

“Now, Mr. Bilder, can you account in any way for the escape of the wolf?”

“Well, Sir,”he said, with a suspicious sort of modesty, “I think I can, but I don’t know as `ow you’d be satisfied with the theory.”

“Certainly I shall. If a man like you, who knows the animals from experience, can’t hazard a good guess at any rate, who is even to try?”

“well then, Sir, I accounts for it this way. It seems to me that `ere wolf escaped–simply because he wanted to get out.”

From the hearty way that both Thomas and his wife laughed at the joke I could see that it had done service before, and that the whole explanation was simply an elaborate sell. I couldn’t cope in badinage with the worthy Thomas, but I thought I knew a surer way to his heart, so I said,”Now, Mr. Bilder, we’ll consider that first half-sovereign worked off, and this brother of his is waiting to be claimed when you’ve told me what you think will happen.”

“Right y`are, Sir,” he said briskly. “Ye`ll excoose me, I know, for a-chaffin’ of ye, but the old woman her winked at me, which was as much as telling me to go on.”

“Well, I never!” said the old lady.

“My opinion is this. That `ere wolf is a`idin’ of, somewheres. The gard`ner wot didn’t remember said he was a-gallopin’ northward faster than a horse could go, but I don’t believe him, for, yer see, Sir, wolves don’t gallop no more nor dogs does, they not bein’ built that way. Wolves is fine things in a storybook, and I dessay when they gets in packs and does be chivyin’ somethin’ that’s more afeared than they is they can make a devil of a noise and chop it up, whatever it is. But, Lor’ bless you, in real life a wolf is only a low creature, not half so clever or bold as a good dog, and not half a quarter so much fight in `im. This one ain’t been used to fightin’ or even to providin’ for hisself, and more like he’s somewhere round the Park a’hidin’ an’ a’shiverin’ of, and if he thinks at all, wonderin’ where he is to get his breakfast from. Or maybe he’s got down some area and is in a coal cellar. My eye, won’t some cook get a rum start when she sees his green eyes a-shinin’ at her out of the dark! If he can’t get food he’s bound to look for it, and mayhap he may chance to light on a butcher’s shop in time. If he doesn’t, and some nursemaid goes out walkin’ or orf with a soldier, leavin’ of the hinfant in the perambulator–well, then I shouldn’t be surprised if the census is one babby the less. That’s all.”

I was handing him the half-sovereign, when something came bobbing up against the window, and Mr. Bilder’s face doubled its natural length with surprise.

“God bless me!” he said. “If there ain’t old Bersicker come back by `isself!”

He went to the door and opened it, a most unnecessary proceeding it seemed to me. I have always thought that a wild animal never looks so well as when some obstacle of pronounced durability is between us. A personal experience has intensified rather than diminished that idea.

After all, however, there is nothing like custom, for neither Bilder nor his wife thought any more of the wolf than I should of a dog. The animal itself was a peaceful and well-behaved as that father of all picture-wolves, Red Riding Hood’s quondam friend, whilst moving her confidence in masquerade.

The whole scene was a unutterable mixture of comedy and pathos. The wicked wolf that for a half a day had paralyzed London and set all the children in town shivering in their shoes, was there in a sort of penitent mood, and was received and petted like a sort of vulpine prodigal son. Old Bilder examined him all over with most tender solicitude, and when he had finished with his penitent said,

“There, I knew the poor old chap would get into some kind of trouble. Didn’t I say it all along? Here’s his head all cut and full of broken glass. `E’s been a-gettin’ over some bloomin’ wall or other. It’s a shyme that people are allowed to top their walls with broken bottles. This `ere’s what comes of it. Come along, Bersicker.”

He took the wolf and locked him up in a cage, with a piece of meat that satisfied, in quantity at any rate, the elementary conditions of the fatted calf, and went off to report.

I came off too, to report the only exclusive information that is given today regarding the strange escapade at the Zoo.

Dr. Stavridis’s Diary
17 September.

I was engaged after dinner in my study posting up my books, which, through press of other work and the many visits to Loukia, had fallen sadly into arrear. Suddenly the door was burst open, and in rushed my patient, with his face distorted with passion. I was thunderstruck, for such a thing as a patient getting of his own accord into the Superintendent’s study is almost unknown.
Without an instant’s notice he made straight at me. He had a dinner knife in his hand, and as I saw he was dangerous, I tried to keep the table between us. He was too quick and too strong for me, however, for before I could get my balance he had struck at me and cut my left wrist rather severely.
Before he could strike again, however, I got in my right hand and he was sprawling on his back on the floor. My wrist bled freely, and quite a little pool trickled on to the carpet. I saw that my friend was not intent on further effort, and occupied myself binding up my wrist, keeping a wary eye on the prostrate figure all the time. When the attendants rushed in, and we turned our attention to him, his employment positively sickened me. He was lying on his belly on the floor licking up, like a dog, the blood which had fallen from my wounded wrist. He was easily secured, and to my surprise, went with the attendants quite placidly, simply repeating over and over again, “The blood is the life! The blood is the life!”
I cannot afford to lose blood just at present. I have lost too much of late for my physical good, and then the prolonged strain of Loukia’s illness and its horrible phases is telling on me. I am over excited and weary, and I need rest, rest, rest. Happily Von Habsburg has not summoned me, so I need not forego my sleep. Tonight I could not well do without it.

Telegram, Von Habsburg, Vienna, to Stavridis, Thessalonika
(delivered late by twenty-two hours.)
7 September.
Do not fail to be at Loukia’s tonight. If not watching all the time, frequently visit and see that flowers are as placed, very important, do not fail. Shall be with you as soon as possible after arrival.

Dr. Stavridis’s Dieary
18 September.

Just off train to Constantinople. The arrival of Von Habsburg’s telegram filled me with dismay. A whole night lost, and I know by bitter experience what may happen in a night. Of course it is possible that all may be well, but what may have happened? Surely there is some horrible doom hanging over us that every possible accident should thwart us in all we try to do. I shall take this cylinder with me, and then I can complete my entry on Loukia’s phonograph.

Memorandum left by Loukia Este-Ravenna
17 September, Night.

I write this and leave it to be seen, so that no one may by any chance get into trouble through me. This is an exact record of what took place tonight. I feel I am dying of weakness, and have barely strength to write, but it must be done if I die in the doing.
I went to bed as usual, taking care that the flowers were placed as Dr. Von Habsburg directed, and soon fell asleep.
I was waked by the flapping at the window, which had begun after that sleep-walking on the cliff at Whitby when Mina saved me, and which now I know so well. I was not afraid, but I did wish that Dr. Stavridis was in the next room, as Dr. Von Habsburg said he would be, so that I might have called him. I tried to sleep, but I could not. Then there came to me the old fear of sleep, and I determined to keep awake. Perversely sleep would try to come then when I did not want it. So, as I feared to be alone, I opened my door and called out. “Is there anybody there?” There was no answer. I was afraid to wake mother, and so closed my door again. Then outside in the shrubbery I heard a sort of howl like a dog’s, but more fierce and deeper. I went to the window and looked out, but could see nothing, except a big bat, which had evidently been buffeting its wings against the window. So I went back to bed again, but determined not to go to sleep. Presently the door opened, and mother looked in. Seeing by my moving that I was not asleep, she came in and sat by me. She said to me even more sweetly and softly than her wont,
“I was uneasy about you, darling, and came in to see that you were all right.”
I feared she might catch cold sitting there, and asked her to come in and sleep with me, so she came into bed, and lay down beside me. She did not take off her dressing gown, for she said she would only stay a while and then go back to her own bed. As she lay there in my arms, and I in hers the flapping and buffeting came to the window again. She was startled and a little frightened, and cried out, “What is that?”
I tried to pacify her, and at last succeeded, and she lay quiet. But I could hear her poor dear heart still beating terribly. After a while there was the howl again out in the shrubbery, and shortly after there was a crash at the window, and a lot of broken glass was hurled on the floor. The window blind blew back with the wind that rushed in, and in the aperture of the broken panes there was the head of a great, gaunt gray wolf.
Mother cried out in a fright, and struggled up into a sitting posture, and clutched wildly at anything that would help her. Amongst other things, she clutched the wreath of flowers that Dr. Van Helsing insisted on my wearing round my neck, and tore it away from me. For a second or two she sat up, pointing at the wolf, and there was a strange and horrible gurgling in her throat. Then she fell over, as if struck with lightning, and her head hit my forehead and made me dizzy for a moment or two.
The room and all round seemed to spin round. I kept my eyes fixed on the window, but the wolf drew his head back, and a whole myriad of little specks seems to come blowing in through the broken window, and wheeling and circling round like the pillar of dust that travellers describe when there is a simoon in the desert. I tried to stir, but there was some spell upon me, and dear Mother’s poor body, which seemed to grow cold already, for her dear heart had ceased to beat, weighed me down, and I remembered no more for a while.
The time did not seem long, but very, very awful, till I recovered consciousness again. Somewhere near, a passing bell was tolling. The dogs all round the neighborhood were howling, and in our shrubbery, seemingly just outside, a nightingale was singing. I was dazed and stupid with pain and terror and weakness, but the sound of the nightingale seemed like the voice of my dead mother come back to comfort me. The sounds seemed to have awakened the maids, too, for I could hear their bare feet pattering outside my door. I called to them, and they came in, and when they saw what had happened, and what it was that lay over me on the bed, they screamed out. The wind rushed in through the broken window, and the door slammed to. They lifted off the body of my dear mother, and laid her, covered up with a sheet, on the bed after I had got up. They were all so frightened and nervous that I directed them to go to the dining room and each have a glass of wine. The door flew open for an instant and closed again. The maids shrieked, and then went in a body to the dining room, and I laid what flowers I had on my dear mother’s breast. When they were there I remembered what Dr. Von Habsburg had told me, but I didn’t like to remove them, and besides, I would have some of the servants to sit up with me now. I was surprised that the maids did not come back. I called them, but got no answer, so I went to the dining room to look for them.
My heart sank when I saw what had happened. They all four lay helpless on the floor, breathing heavily. The decanter of sherry was on the table half full, but there was a queer, acrid smell about. I was suspicious, and examined the decanter. It smelt of laudanum, and looking on the sideboard, I found that the bottle which Mother’s doctor uses for her–oh! did use–was empty. What am I to do? What am I to do? I am back in the room with Mother. I cannot leave her, and I am alone, save for the sleeping servants, whom some one has drugged. Alone with the dead! I dare not go out, for I can hear the low howl of the wolf through the broken window.
The air seems full of specks, floating and circling in the draught from the window, and the lights burn blue and dim. What am I to do? God shield me from harm this night! I shall hide this paper in my breast, where they shall find it when they come to lay me out. My dear mother gone! It is time that I go too. Goodbye, dear Michael, if I should not survive this night. God keep you, dear, and God help me!

Senators, thank you for your requests. The final appointments for the next five years are:

Foreign minister – Senator Favero
Armament minister – SenatorKvensson
Minister of security – Senator Doukas
Chief of Staff – Senator Στήβεν
Chief of the Army – Senator Theodosio
Chief of the Navy – Senator Smithereens

(North) Africa – Senator Damaskinos
Britannia – Senator Palaiologos
Dalmatia – Heraclius Komnenos
Macedonia – Senator Angelos
Naples – Senator Septiadis
Palestine – Senator Doukas
Raetia – Senator Comminus
Sicily – Senator Smithereens
Thracia – Prince Alvértos

Australia – Senator Kvensson
Brittany – Senator Γκρέυ
Italy – Senator Favero
Philippines – Senator Nguyen-Climaco
Spain – Senator Theodosio

Australia will henceforth include New Zealand, the eastern half of New Guinea, and the smaller islands eastwards of there. The Philippines will include Java, the western half of New Guinea, and the islands between those three points.

The following provinces will be placed in the control of non-Senator governors:
New Zealand
South Africa

As always, Senators, thank you for your time.

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