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.

The Empire Strikes Back 96 – The State of the Empire 1885-1890

I would like to formally address the transfer of my former title and position as administrator, protector and governor of Catalonia to the honorable and capable Senator Nicodemo Theodosio.This decree will place Catalonia officially back under Spanish jurisdiction. I would also like to thank the Empress for the opportunity to have served my home as a its representative in Imperial affairs. And to Senator Theodosio, I wish you luck with this beautiful and cultured land and to handle it with the care it deserves.
I also regret to announce that my direct involvement in this Senate will be more limited and rare, as I will be heavily focused on the development of my new governorship in Oceania. I will still return for occasional senate meetings and to attend to affairs closer to the heart of the empire. I hope for you all to make good decisions for the state and her people.
Long live the Empire!
– Senator Magnus Kvensson

A ship sailed into the great harbor of Constantinople.  It was a small ship with nothing sticking out about it.  All around the ship, the harbor was in utter ruins from Konstantinos’s Rebellion, but nobody on the ship bothered to pay attention to it.
In fact, there was no living being on the ship.

The ship slammed into the nearest dock and came to a halt, workers scrambling to avoid the debris.  The instant the ship touched land, a large black dog leaped up from below the deck and rushed off the ship, quickly disappearing into the alleys and crowds of Constantinople.
The workers did not pay attention to the dog.  Instead, they were staring at the body of a sailor standing at the helm, his hands roped to the wheel and his eyes wide open as if in shock.

I would like to propose to the Senate and her majesty, that we prohibit weaponry and personal guards in the senate hall from this day forth. Twice now the senate has been attacked and something must be done. I propose that the Empress assigns personal guards to the senate whose sole duty is to protect our meetings. Personal weapons should be limited and all visitors should be searched. Also, a perimeter should be established of 100 yards around the senate building that only selected personnel should be allowed to enter. The senate must feel confident that they won’t be threatened. If we must constantly look over our shoulders for danger, then we won’t be able to focus on the needs of the land.

Second, while the situation seems to be that the people are calling for assistance from the government, I say it needs to be in moderation. The liberties of the people are at stake, The Communists and Socialists must not be allowed to push their agenda without limitations. Some changes are necessary, but the burdens on liberty and the budget will be uncountable if the Socialists accomplish their goals. I’m personally in favor of educational benefits now and some safety regulations. Anything else should wait till we’ve seen the effects of those policies.

-Heraclius Komnenos

to its  majesty
as your new chief of the navy i would like to request more funds to build up the navy or at least allow for more ships to patrol the harbor of the capital or at the very least grant me some fund to hire guards to inspect all arriving ships to prevent this from happening again. .reports have reach me of a mysterious ship docking at the harbor of the capital with a man at the helm dead looking shocked .the investigation has no found anything about the ship except that there might have been someone on the ship when it docked but i cannot confirm that assumption.

Senator Alexander Smithereens
chief of the navy

Senator Moustakas resigns and mysteriously disappears

Some time later, in late December 1889, several Senators are spending time in the Senate Hall.

The Senate Floor seems pretty quiet.

-Magnus Kvensson

It is in recess after Senator Moustakos disappeared.

-Ambrosio Palaiologo

A new Senator appears and introduces himself.

Hello fellow Senators, I am Venédiktos Nguyen-Climaco. I am glad to be here, to put my skills and knowledge to the service of Her Imperial Majesty, Defender of Eastern Christendom, the Guardian of the Hagia Sophia, Queen of the Holy City, Custodian of the Holy Sepulchre, Successor to most august Constantine, Equal to the Apostles, Princess of Alexandria, Protectress of Antioch, Ruler of Daqin, Empress of Rome.

-Venédiktos Nguyen-Climaco

… and of her other realms and colonies, Empress.

-Ioannes Angelos

Did you just try to insult the Empress?!  You’re lucky she’s not in the room right now.  For that matter, why are we still here?  The next session is yet to begin for a few days.

~Michael Doukas

I think we’re just amusing ourselves by watching the cleaners attempting to not stand on any of the carpets whilst still trying to clean them.

-Ioannes Angelos

Michael is slightly bored but does not feel like going home.  Luckily, he has brought a newspaper with him.
Hey, did you read the news today?  Said something about a ship sailing into port and docking…all without a single living crew member onboard.  Don’t know what to make of it.  I’ve got a copy of the captain’s log here if you can make any sense of it.  Based on the dates written it appears the ship went significantly off-course, apparently going around the entire Black Sea for over a month before arriving at Constantinople.  Strange, eh?

Log Of The “Demetrios”, Varna to Constantinople

Written 18 July, things so strange happening, that I shall keep accurate note henceforth till we land.

On 6 July we finished taking in cargo, silver sand and boxes of earth. At noon set sail. East wind, fresh. Crew, five hands . . . two mates, cook, and myself, (captain).

On 13 July Crew dissatisfied about something. Seemed scared, but would not speak out.

On 14 July was somewhat anxious about crew. Men all steady fellows, who sailed with me before. Mate could not make out what was wrong. They only told him there was SOME- THING, and crossed themselves. Mate lost temper with one of them that day and struck him. Expected fierce quarrel, but all was quiet.

On 16 July mate reported in the morning that one of the crew, Petrofsky, was missing. Could not account for it. Took larboard watch eight bells last night, was relieved by Amramoff, but did not go to bunk. Men more downcast than ever. All said they expected something of the kind, but would not say more than there was SOMETHING aboard. Mate getting very impatient with them. Feared some trouble ahead.

On 17 July, yesterday, one of the men, Olgaren, came to my cabin, and in an awestruck way confided to me that he thought there was a strange man aboard the ship. He said that in his watch he had been sheltering behind the deckhouse, as there was a rain storm, when he saw a tall, thin man, who was not like any of the crew, come up the companionway, and go along the deck forward and disappear. He followed cautiously, but when he got to bows found no one, and the hatchways were all closed. He was in a panic of superstitious fear, and I am afraid the panic may spread. To allay it, I shall today search the entire ship carefully from stem to stern.
Later in the day I got together the whole crew, and told them, as they evidently thought there was some one in the ship, we would search from stem to stern. First mate angry, said it was folly, and to yield to such foolish ideas would demoralise the men, said he would engage to keep them out of trouble with the handspike. I let him take the helm, while the rest began a thorough search, all keeping abreast, with lanterns. We left no corner unsearched. As there were only the big wooden boxes, there were no odd corners where a man could hide. Men much relieved when search over, and went back to work cheerfully. First mate scowled, but said nothing.

22 July.–Rough weather last three days, and all hands busy with sails, no time to be frightened. Men seem to have forgotten their dread. Mate cheerful again, and all on good terms. Praised men for work in bad weather. All well.

24 July.–There seems some doom over this ship. Already a hand short, and wild weather ahead, and yet last night another man lost, disappeared. Like the first, he came off his watch and was not seen again. Men all in a panic of fear, sent a round robin, asking to have double watch, as they fear to be alone. Mate angry. Fear there will be some trouble, as either he or the men will do some violence.

28 July.–Four days in hell, knocking about in a sort of malestrom, and the wind a tempest. No sleep for any one. Men all worn out. Hardly know how to set a watch, since no one fit to go on. Second mate volunteered to steer and watch, and let men snatch a few hours sleep. Wind abating, seas still terrific, but feel them less, as ship is steadier.  We seem to be lost, as we should have been in Constantinople last week.

29 July.–Another tragedy. Had single watch tonight, as crew too tired to double. When morning watch came on deck could find no one except steersman. Raised outcry, and all came on deck. Thorough search, but no one found. Are now without second mate, and crew in a panic. Mate and I agreed to go armed henceforth and wait for any sign of cause.

30 July.–Last night. Rejoiced we are nearing Constantinople. Weather fine, all sails set. Retired worn out, slept soundly, awakened by mate telling me that both man of watch and steersman missing. Only self and mate and two hands left to work ship.

1 August.–Two days of fog, and not a sail sighted. Had hoped when in the Bosphorus to be able to signal for help or get in somewhere. Not having power to work sails, have to run before wind. Dare not lower, as could not raise them again. We seem to be drifting to some terrible doom. Mate now more demoralised than either of men. His stronger nature seems to have worked inwardly against himself. Men are beyond fear, working stolidly and patiently, with minds made up to worst. They are Ukrainian, he Roumanian [sic].  I’m the last surviving Greek.

2 August, midnight.–Woke up from few minutes sleep by hearing a cry, seemingly outside my port. Could see nothing in fog. Rushed on deck, and ran against mate. Tells me he heard cry and ran, but no sign of man on watch. One more gone. Lord, help us! Mate says we must be past Straits of Dardanelles, as in a moment of fog lifting he saw land, just as he heard the man cry out. If so only God can guide us in the fog, which seems to move with us, and God seems to have deserted us.

3 August.–At midnight I went to relieve the man at the wheel and when I got to it found no one there. The wind was steady, and as we ran before it there was no yawing. I dared not leave it, so shouted for the mate. After a few seconds, he rushed up on deck in his flannels. He looked wild-eyed and haggard, and I greatly fear his reason has given way. He came close to me and whispered hoarsely, with his mouth to my ear, as though fearing the very air might hear. “It is here. I know it now. On the watch last night I saw It, like a man, tall and thin, and ghastly pale. It was in the bows, and looking out. I crept behind It, and gave it my knife, but the knife went through It, empty as the air.” And as he spoke he took the knife and drove it savagely into space. Then he went on, “But It is here, and I’ll find It. It is in the hold, perhaps in one of those boxes. I’ll unscrew them one by one and see. You work the helm.” And with a warning look and his finger on his lip, he went below. There was springing up a choppy wind, and I could not leave the helm. I saw him come out on deck again with a tool chest and lantern, and go down the forward hatchway. He is mad, stark, raving mad, and it’s no use my trying to stop him. He can’t hurt those big boxes, they are invoiced as clay, and to pull them about is as harmless a thing as he can do. So here I stay and mind the helm, and write these notes. I can only trust in God and wait till the fog clears. Then, if I can’t steer to any harbour with the wind that is, I shall cut down sails, and lie by, and signal for help . . .
It is nearly all over now. Just as I was beginning to hope that the mate would come out calmer, for I heard him knocking away at something in the hold, and work is good for him, there came up the hatchway a sudden, startled scream, which made my blood run cold, and up on the deck he came as if shot from a gun, a raging madman, with his eyes rolling and his face convulsed with fear. “Save me! Save me!” he cried, and then looked round on the blanket of fog. His horror turned to despair, and in a steady voice he said,”You had better come too, captain, before it is too late. He is there! I know the secret now. The sea will save me from Him, and it is all that is left!” Before I could say a word, or move forward to seize him, he sprang on the bulwark and deliberately threw himself into the sea. I suppose I know the secret too, now. It was this madman who had got rid of the men one by one, and now he has followed them himself. God help me! How am I to account for all these horrors when I get to port? When I get to port! Will that ever be?

4 August.–Still fog, which the sunrise cannot pierce, I know there is sunrise because I am a sailor, why else I know not. I dared not go below, I dared not leave the helm, so here all night I stayed, and in the dimness of the night I saw it, Him! God, forgive me, but the mate was right to jump overboard. It was better to die like a man. To die like a sailor in blue water, no man can object. But I am captain, and I must not leave my ship. But I shall baffle this fiend or monster, for I shall tie my hands to the wheel when my strength begins to fail, and along with them I shall tie that which He, It, dare not touch. And then, come good wind or foul, I shall save my soul, and my honour as a captain. I am growing weaker, and the night is coming on. If He can look me in the face again, I may not have time to act . . .If we are wrecked, mayhap this bottle may be found, and those who find it may understand. If not . . . well, then all men shall know that I have been true to my trust. God and the Blessed Virgin and the Saints help a poor ignorant soul trying to do his duty…

Well, I’m glad about this new Senator. It’ll be nice not being the only one in here without a Roman last name. I think he’ll help with the public relations of the Empire among her citizens, too. It gives off sort of a “empire of the people” feeling.
(Magnus takes a sip from a canteen stored in his inner coat pocket.)
The Empress being hell bent on being more socialist anyway.

-Magnus Kvensson

Ioannes makes a face, which is probably intended to be reassuring, but looks rather more like he’s simply not used to that expression.

“This new chap with the unpronounceable surname does at least have a good Roman first name.  Of course, it’s Western Roman, rather than Eastern, but we can’t have it all, eh?”

-Ioannes Angelos

Michael puts aside his newspaper on a table next to him.
Hopefully the new guy means we’re going to have some more diversity in the Senate which would better represent the population of the Empire.  I remember when my grandfather was a young man and new to the Senate.  He did a lot in his lifetime.  Who’s to say this newcomer can’t do the same?

-Michael Doukas

Bah more old Orthodox conservatives, will have to place a call to our parties representatives in the Phillipines and have them redouble their efforts to spread the word of the workers destiny to lead to the people.

With that Αιδεν returns to pour over a recent missives from London from some guys called Engels and Marx.

-Αιδεν Γκρέυ

Speaking of strange names, I’m looking for a agronomist named Aaron Aaronsohn in Palestine to help with the agricultural development of Oceania Major.
Magnus chuckles to himself
His was the first name to come up.
– Magnus Kvensson

Leonardo Favero chuckled to himself.  The recent Senate meetings had been quite dull.  To amuse himself, he had secretly changed the names on one of the senator’s name plates and the man had just noticed the glaring mistake.  A meaningless diversion, but an amusing one nonetheless.  Maybe next he’d forge a letter from the Empress to some zealous leftist requesting their presence on the other side of the city just to see them rush across Constantinople.  Yes, that sounded quite fun indeed.

A messenger then arrives, carrying a stack of notices and leading a construction team.

Oh, hello Senators! I’ve come with the notice for the next State of the Empire Address. As always, it will be on January first, over in Blachernae Palace. These are the newspapers the archivists considered significant.

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And these workmen are here to update your world map.
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A revolution in Russia and they still expand.  They will always be a threat to the Empire.  We must keep a watchful eye on them and strike when necessary.  It would seem that they have been at conflict with the Japanese.  Perhaps we should seek friendly relations with them as a countermeasure.

– Senator Leonardo Favero, Governor of Italy

It is good that we have established friendly ties with the Chinese.  The Ming Empire, should we manage to sign a formal alliance with them, will help us greatly in countering Russian expansion into Asia.  I trust that our friends in India are doing well against the Russian bear?  The Germans and Ruthenians continue to expand, and we must be ready to stop them should they go too far.

More dinosaurs!  I’ve always been interested in these beasts.

In other news, I am proud to announce that the technology of mechanized mining has been fully integrated and put to good use in Syria-Palestrina.  Production efficiency has risen significantly, and industrial output has never been higher.  I’ve never seen anything so efficient like this before!

Reactionaries break Vietnam…worrying, as that would leave them weak and open to Russian invasion, which we cannot allow.

And what have the Cherokee come up with this time?  Coca-wine?  How is this a cure for morphine addiction?!  I want to read the scientific paper they published proving this claim!  (quietly grabs some coca-wine to drink)

The Polish-Lithuanians want an alliance, ostensibly against Russia?  That sounds reasonable.

~Michael Doukas

Has anyone else noticed these flame-less lights around the Empire.  I was passing through Trieste and they had them lighting up the main streets at night.  Seemed like witchcraft at first.

– Senator Leonardo Favero, Governor of Italy

Flame-less lights…interesting.  I’ve found a few in Jerusalem and found them quite efficient and smell-less.


The wonders they make in the Empire these days.  Next thing you know we’ll have horseless carriages or a device that allows nearly instantaneous communication from one end of the Empire to the next.  I am glad the Empire is so prosperous that we can continue to develop such miraculous inventions.

– Senator Leonardo Favero

It seems that Japan lost their war against Russia as Outer Manchuria is still in Russian hands. Let us hope that those revolutionary “Jacobins” don’t plan to spread their revolution beyond Russian border.

I have to say that this nitroglycerin is very useful, thanks to it’s spread in (North) Africa, we can already see faster and more efficient mining.

– Senator Alexandros Damaskinos

“I am pleased to report that Macedonian engineers have succeeded in introducing mechanised mining equipment to the province.  This will increase industry in the area and improve the lives of the workers there.  Never let it be said that the Angeloi are not mindful of their populace!”

-Ioannes Angelos

Britannia has been advancing technologically very quickly. We were the first province to have electricity! However,I would like to complain about sub- par working conditions in the mines. We NEED better safety regulations to prevent preventable deaths from happening in the mines, which is common in Britannia.

-Ambrosio Palaiologo

“Mechanise and move the workers elsewhere.  It’s more efficient and fewer people die.  Everybody wins.”

-Ioannes Angelos

Thank you, Senator. The peoples of Asia are loyal subjects of the Empire and a proud part of the Roman world. Our names may reflect our respective ethnicities but Romanitas is what binds us to Rome.

As for my Western Roman name, my mother is a deep admirer of the Western monastic St Benedict of Nursia who lived during the times when the barbarians held sway in the Roman West.

Your Imperial Majesty, I shall eagerly await your Address. Generally, I support greater Roman presence and the spread of Holy Orthodoxy in our side of the world. It seems to be an auspicious time for our relations with the Middle Kingdom, though the Ming are generally suspicious of Western faiths, they view us more favourably than the Russian Bear in the north.

I am also appealing to Your Imperial Majesty for my mother’s homeland of Viet Nam, which has fallen to local reactionaries. Perhaps something can be done about the matter before Russia intrudes?

In eternal fealty to our divinely-appointed Empress,

Senator Nguyen-Climaco

You know what they say, this is an age of progress.  Soon we’ll have trains that can fly like birds and books that don’t need paper!

I agree, we should probably do something about Dai Viet, as the reactionaries have weakened them, giving the Russians an opportunity to expand.

~Michael Doukas

Our best and brightest believe that there is even more this electric current will be able to do in the future. Perhaps even reverse death. Of course my own province has been leading the way in experimentation in this matter.

We must push back reactionaries wherever they are and these lands do have some economic and power projection rewards if they happened to fall under our protection.

-Αιδεν Γκρέυ

Gentlemen, if I may say, I believe we have nothing to fear from the Russian Bear. Our legions are the strongest in the world and if we continue to invest and maintain relations with India, we will have the military strength of two empires. The only other improvements we could make is to possibly ally Japan in order to blockade their eastern provinces. Or if the Chief of the Navy allow it, the financing of new ports in the Oceania region and a new or reassigned Oceanic fleet?

-Magnus Kvensson

how long can we afford a war against the Russian bear before our money and manpower reserves run out considering we have to keep a number of troops back ti keep order and prevent rebellion
Alexander Smithereens

While I have nothing against allying with the honorable people of Japan, I believe that the ultimate solution for countering Russian expansion in Asia lies with the Ming.  Should we ally with India, Japan, and Ming, we will have the power of four empires to counter Russia.  The Russians may have a large manpower pool, but the Chinese have an equally large if not larger manpower pool, which is critical to block off their expansion.  I would recommend sending equipment and advisors to train and arm the Chinese troops so that they can help us against the Russians.

Smithereens, should we ally with the Chinese and Indians manpower likely won’t be a problem for the Empire.

I would support a new imperial fleet in Oceania should we have enough funds to support it.  I fear that the UTA may begin trying to expand into the Pacific…

~Michael Doukas

((Private: From the journal of Mara Dalassenos))

Diary again. No sleep now, so I may as well write. I am too agitated to sleep. We have had such an adventure, such an agonizing experience. I fell asleep as soon as I had closed my diary . . .Suddenly I became broad awake, and sat up, with a horrible sense of fear upon me, and of some feeling of emptiness around me. The room was dark, so I could not see Loukia’s bed. I stole across and felt for her. The bed was empty. I lit a match and found that she was not in the room. The door was shut, but not locked, as I had left it. I feared to wake her mother, who has been more than usually ill lately, so threw on some clothes and got ready to look for her. As I was leaving the room it struck me that the clothes she wore might give me some clue to her dreaming intention. Dressing-gown would mean house, dress outside. Dressing-gown and dress were both in their places. “Thank God,” I said to myself, “she cannot be far, as she is only in her nightdress.”
I ran downstairs and looked in the sitting room. Not there! Then I looked in all the other rooms of the house, with an ever-growing fear chilling my heart. Finally, I came to the hall door and found it open. It was not wide open, but the catch of the lock had not caught. The people of the house are careful to lock the door every night, so I feared that Loukia must have gone out as she was. There was no time to think of what might happen. A vague over-mastering fear obscured all details.
I took a big, heavy shawl and ran out. The clock was striking one as I was in the Crescent, and there was not a soul in sight. I ran along the North Terrace, but could see no sign of the white figure which I expected. At the edge of the West Cliff above the pier I looked across the harbour to the other side, in the hope or fear, I don’t know which, of seeing Loukia in our favorite seat.
There was a bright full moon, with heavy black, driving clouds, which threw the whole scene into a fleeting diorama of light and shade as they sailed across. For a moment or two I could see nothing, as the shadow of a cloud obscured the church and all around it. Then as the cloud passed I could see the ruins of the abbey coming into view, and as the edge of a narrow band of light as sharp as a sword-cut moved along, the church and churchyard became gradually visible. Whatever my expectation was, it was not disappointed, for there, on our favorite seat, the silver light of the moon struck a half-reclining figure, snowy white. The coming of the cloud was too quick for me to see much, for shadow shut down on light almost immediately, but it seemed to me as though something dark stood behind the seat where the white figure shone, and bent over it. What it was, whether man or beast, I could not tell.
I did not wait to catch another glance, but flew down the steep steps to the pier and along by the fish-market to the bridge, which was the only way to reach the East Cliff. The town seemed as dead, for not a soul did I see. I rejoiced that it was so, for I wanted no witness of poor Loukia’s condition. The time and distance seemed endless, and my knees trembled and my breath came laboured as I toiled up the endless steps to the abbey. I must have gone fast, and yet it seemed to me as if my feet were weighted with lead, and as though every joint in my body were rusty.
When I got almost to the top I could see the seat and the white figure, for I was now close enough to distinguish it even through the spells of shadow. There was undoubtedly something, long and black, bending over the half-reclining white figure. I called in fright, “Loukia! Loukia!” and something raised a head, and from where I was I could see a white face and red, gleaming eyes.
Loukia did not answer, and I ran on to the entrance of the churchyard. As I entered, the church was between me and the seat, and for a minute or so I lost sight of her. When I came in view again the cloud had passed, and the moonlight struck so brilliantly that I could see Loukia half reclining with her head lying over the back of the seat. She was quite alone, and there was not a sign of any living thing about.
When I bent over her I could see that she was still asleep. Her lips were parted, and she was breathing, not softly as usual with her, but in long, heavy gasps, as though striving to get her lungs full at every breath. As I came close, she put up her hand in her sleep and pulled the collar of her nightdress close around her, as though she felt the cold. I flung the warm shawl over her, and drew the edges tight around her neck, for I dreaded lest she should get some deadly chill from the night air, unclad as she was. I feared to wake her all at once, so, in order to have my hands free to help her, I fastened the shawl at her throat with a big safety pin. But I must have been clumsy in my anxiety and pinched or pricked her with it, for by-and-by, when her breathing became quieter, she put her hand to her throat again and moaned. When I had her carefully wrapped up I put my shoes on her feet, and then began very gently to wake her.
At first she did not respond, but gradually she became more and more uneasy in her sleep, moaning and sighing occasionally. At last, as time was passing fast, and for many other reasons, I wished to get her home at once, I shook her forcibly, till finally she opened her eyes and awoke. She did not seem surprised to see me, as, of course, she did not realize all at once where she was.
Loukia always wakes prettily, and even at such a time,when her body must have been chilled with cold, and her mind somewhat appalled at waking unclad in a churchyard at night, she did not lose her grace. She trembled a little, and clung to me. When I told her to come at once with me home, she rose without a word, with the obedience of a child. As we passed along, the gravel hurt my feet, and Loukia noticed me wince. She stopped and wanted to insist upon my taking my shoes, but I would not. However, when we got to the pathway outside the chruchyard, where there was a puddle of water, remaining from the storm, I daubed my feet with mud, using each foot in turn on the other, so that as we went home, no one, in case we should meet any one, should notice my bare feet.
Fortune favoured us, and we got home without meeting a soul. Once we saw a man, who seemed not quite sober, passing along a street in front of us. But we hid in a door till he had disappeared up an opening such as there are here, steep little closes. My heart beat so loud all the time sometimes I thought I should faint. I was filled with anxiety about Loukia, not only for her health, lest she should suffer from the exposure, but for her reputation in case the story should get wind. When we got in, and had washed our feet, and had said a prayer of thankfulness together, I tucked her into bed. Before falling asleep she asked, even implored, me not to say a word to any one, even her mother, about her sleepwalking adventure.
I hesitated at first, to promise, but on thinking of the state of her mother’s health, and how the knowledge of such a thing would fret her, and think too, of how such a story might become distorted, nay, infallibly would, in case it should leak out, I thought it wiser to do so. I hope I did right. I have locked the door, and the key is tied to my wrist, so perhaps I shall not be again disturbed. Loukia is sleeping soundly. The reflex of the dawn is high and far over the sea . . .
Same day, noon.–All goes well. Loukia slept till I woke her and seemed not to have even changed her side. The adventure of the night does not seem to have harmed her, on the contrary, it has benefited her, for she looks better this morning than she has done for weeks. I was sorry to notice that my clumsiness with the safety-pin hurt her. Indeed, it might have been serious, for the skin of her throat was pierced. I must have pinched up a piece of loose skin and have transfixed it, for there are two little red points like pin-pricks, and on the band of her nightdress was a drop of blood. When I apologised and was concerned about it, she laughed and petted me, and said she did not even feel it. Fortunately it cannot leave a scar, as it is so tiny.
Same day, night.–We passed a happy day. The air was clear, and the sun bright, and there was a cool breeze. We took our lunch in downtown, Mrs. Melissenos driving by the road and Loukia and I walking by the cliff-path and joining her at the gate. I felt a little sad myself, for I could not but feel how absolutely happy it would have been had Ioannes been with me. But there! I must only be patient. In the evening we strolled in the Terrace, and heard some good music by Spiridon and Makedon, and went to bed early. Loukia seems more restful than she has been for some time, and fell asleep at once. I shall lock the door and secure the key the same as before, though I do not expect any trouble tonight.

I agree with the other senators. Blocking Russian expansion is for the best. I advise that we halt our expansion and refrain from taking lands to block Russian expansion. The larger and more widespread our population is, the harder it will be to govern and we are already dealing with a small rebellion problem. If the Empress can manage, what is the state of civilization and the armed forces in the nations of China, Japan, and India. I ask so that we may provide you with sound advice.

I would also like to address the other member of the Senate with a proposal to ban personal weapons and personal guards from the senate chambers. Also, a search of any non-senators and prohibitions towards any outside members entering the Senate, unless approved by the Empress or the Senate themselves.

-Heraclius Komnenos

i hate to agree but at this moment we are in danger of overstretching our army and i fear that if we continue expanding our army would be ill prepare for any major rebellion  specially one that is  spread all over the empire and specially if we are at war and we probably cannot spare troops to be playing Whac-A-Mole when they are needed at the front .

Alexander Smithereens

What is this Whac-A-Mole you speak of?

-Michael Doukas

Whac-A-Mole is a expression i use  for trying to keep  up  preventing  the people from rebelling except that as soon as you shut down one group another appears and it keeps spreading and soon you cannot keep up with the rebels because they are all over the place and the army is too spread out to effectively do its job

Alexander Smithereens

We are the Roman Empire! We need no allies to crush the Russian bear. The Russian bear is merely a facade which can be torn through by our elite legions. Rapid advances into the main Russian cities with good supply lines and strong flanks will easily force the Russians to concede defeat. We will achieve good supply lines through trains and road development while our allies and auxiliaries will hold the flanks as the main legions push. We must civilize those Russian savages! If we are to have an Eastern ally, it will be Ming. They will drain Russian manpower more than Japan. I would also like to thank the VII. Claudia Legion for defending Britannia so well and I would also like to advocate better safety regulations to rein in unrestrained capitalism. Hail Rome! Hail Rome! Hail the Empire!

-Senator Ambrosio Palaiologos, Propraetor of Rome, Duke of Nicaea, and governor of Britannia

If I may, again, Senators. I believe a way to solve the problems of manpower in our official, well-trained, and “Roman” legions would to allow colonies and other govenorships farther away from the heart land of the empire to police themselves. Giving these people slightly more autonomy and letting them hold themselves accountable for their actions. The appointment of native officials into more post in these regions would help possibly lower their risk of revolt as well. Yet, these legions and officials should still enforce the most important of Roman culture and law, with variations between regions to appeal the natives. Thus, this variation of “home rule” will allow more legions to relocate to more important areas mainly along the Russian boarder.

-Magnus Kvensson

I disagree with Senator Kvensson. Such a proposal is sure to raise the banners of minority nationalism which would tear this great empire apart. We must maintain control of our colonies as our bureaucrats and our empress know what is best for the empire. Home rule will be a facade for nationalist agitation and will be followed by revolution, rebellion, and war. Our Roman legions are strong enough to defeat Russia with garrisons in every province. We can mobilize or enlist more men in our legions to crush Russia decisively in a quick war. Rome forever! For Empress Veronica! Hail the Empire!

-Senator Ambrosio Palaiologos, governor of Britannia, propraetor of Rome, and Duke of Nicaea


Given the rebellions of the last several years, We sought to better understand the workings of the mind, that We might better understand and govern the peoples of the Empire.

Initially, the research of the new Department of Psychology at the University on Constantinople focused on understanding how the mind forms associations from repeated experiences.
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On the recommendations of many Senators, We began a program of better the defenses of Constantinople, as well as recruiting an expanded Scholai Palatinae. The expanded Scholai Palatinae was drawn from families already living near The City.

A new legion, XXXIII. Legio, was drawn from XVI. Legio in Durban and sent to Walvis Bay in south-western Africa. Likewise, XXXIV. Legio was split from XXXII. Legio in Sassandra and sent to Dakhla in north-western Africa. Finally, XXXV. Legio was split from XII. Legio in Luanda and sent to Baromo, deep in central Africa. IX. Legio in Tunis was transported to Ekaterinodar, on the Russian border. The Light fleet was divided among the five assigned transport fleets.

By May, the Psychology Department had scoured the knowledge of associationism from within the Empire and requested support to study the means by which the mind forms hypothesis from its associations. This support was given.
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By October, the psychologists had again gathered the known information. Then they pointed out that it had been shown that the mind could also be studied by scientific methods, and asked for support for learning from the other science departments in how to conduct appropriate studies. We gave Our support within the university, which helped overcome the skepticism of the other departments.
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The expanding knowledge of the mind did not help divert the small liberal rebellion of November 1885. Though the legions did. And in fact, it was shown that the psychological knowledge had quickly gone to better methods of training soldiers, improving the legions’ ability in battle.
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By May, experimental techniques had been developed, and it seemed the Empire’s needs lie elsewhere. The navy had been neglected, and so We asked the admiralty to improve ship designs based around modern weapons.
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When they had completed this work, We gave heed to the engineers who claimed they could make practical use of electricity, and gave them support to demonstrate their claims.
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Near the end of 1886, Hedjaz blamed Us for Filipino protests in the Visayas region. Later, when those protests had earned violent crackdowns, We declared war on Hedjaz in order to bring the Filipinos under Our protection.
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In February of 1887, after communist revolutions in Poland-Lithuania and Hungary, there was a large communist revolution in the Empire.
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During this revolution, the expanding Scholai Palatinae proved their worth as they repelled rebels who had risen with The City itself.
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While fighting the rebellion, the Filipino cause became critical, and We declared war on Hedjaz. XI. Legio did the usual work in the east, while I. Legio and XIX. Legio moved on the Hedjaz heartland. Meanwhile, the East Fleet also attacked any Hedjaz fleets that were forced out of port.
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As the communist revolution was finished off, the various administrators throughout the Empire saw clearly that accommodations with the workers of the Empire must be made.
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We used this new support to enforce minimum wages throughout the Empire, as people desperately wanted.
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And by September 1887, Hedjaz surrendered. They instead were worried about India, who had declared war on them for the last of their Indian territory.
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Shortly thereafter, the basics of making electricity practical were completed.
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We directed the Humanities department to better explain the attitudes of Revolution and Counter-revolution in the hopes of avoiding more bloody rebellions.
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During this time, tensions in the Philippines kept growing. Particularly in Iraqi-held parts of the islands, which caused spill-over violence into the Imperial-administered parts.
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As the research into revolutions completed, We asked the businessmen in the Empire to find ways of making their workers more efficient.
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The discovery of rubber in Africa was intriguing for the development of electronics.

And We gave synagogues in Israel the same legal standing as churches, hopefully allowing for better integration of the Empire’s Jewish population.
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March of 1889 saw a small uprising of Spanish Nationalists, easily put down.
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When the time saving measures had been researched, We sought to save time in travel by improving the Empire’s railroads. Designs for steel engines were evaluated.
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In July of 1889, the situation with the Iraqi Philippines came to a head, and We declared war. I. Legio marched on Mosul, and XI. Legio moved to bring Palawan under order. It was over almost as soon as it began, as the slightest show of force was all it took to make them surrender.
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In November the designs for better railroads were complete, and some engineers claimed they could use the new petroleum fuels to make engines of unprecedented power. So We obliged them in their research.
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Progress  moves ever forward!

-Ambrosio Palaiologo

It appears that those communists just won’t stop.  Did we not give them their conference?  Did we not give the people the privileges they deserved?  Why, then, do these radicals keep trying to depose the Empress?  I must clarify, these radicals are not the same as our rational colleagues here in the Senate.  Let it be known that they will be treated the same way as any other traitors who rise up–with steel!
The Jews getting more rights?  If they don’t rebel, I’m all for it.
Nationalists?  I bet it’s the Russians trying to tear apart the Empire from within.
Nice work those boys at the Pandidakterion have done on researching psychology and counter-revolution.  Hopefully we won’t have another…

((In Michael’s mind))

-Foolish brother.  You never learn, do you?
-Konstantinos?  You’re dead, you can’t be here!
-How do you know?  I could be a figment of your imagination.  And those psychologists have determined that mental illnesses can occur in relatives of the afflicted.  Food for thought.  Get it?  Food FOR THOUGHT?!
-You did this!  Your supporters went around the Empire massacring anybody communist or non-Greek.  You caused the recent communist rebellion!  Those you oppressed are now turning on us!
-How do you know it wasn’t my failsafe all along?  If I can’t have the throne, nobody can.  The purging of heretics Markos and I carried out were twofold: first, I would eliminate any rebels and opposition should I become emperor; second, if my rebellion failed, those I massacred would take their anger out on you guys, as I’m dead.
-You won’t win, Konstantinos.
-I already have.  Those nationalists…how do you know there aren’t anymore of them?  How do you know Theodosio isn’t both a radical Communist and a Spanish nationalist?   He did take pride in his socialist ideals and his Spanish heritage.
-You can’t divide us, we are all loyal to the Empress.
-Oh please, brother, you have always felt this way.  You have always felt inferior to your older brother, always wanting a way to prove your worth to the Empire in a different way from me.  You have always been wary of your safety and that of the Empire.  How do you know who’s loyal and who’s not?  You can’t just ask them.
-Shut.  Up.  Now.

Michael shook his head.  He couldn’t continue talking about this.  It was too painful.  But he had to speak up.
Hopefully we won’t have another rebellion.  But I must reiterate my points about reforms.  The people need their reforms and they need them soon.  Otherwise they will continue to revolt.  The Ministry of Security is working on better methods of tracking potential rebels and neutralizing rebellions before they begin.
And we must stay united in our loyalties too.  I know that with the recent uprisings we may be looking at the socialists and the Spanish with distrust, but that will only make things worse.  “Love thy neighbor,” says the Bible.  We are in a position to change things.  Our socialist senators can call for the radical communists to stand down.  Our conservative senators can appeal to the reactionaries.  Our liberal senators can appeal to the reformers and those who want change.  Together we can stand against any rebellions or enemies in our way.  But if we give in to fear and mistrust we will fall, just as the Old Empire did centuries ago.

Michael looks up towards the doors, and for a second he though he saw Konstantinos standing there wearing purple-outlined robes, winking and holding a bloodied sword in his hand.

~Michael Doukas

***Meanwhile in a dank cavern under the Senate***

Hooded Figure 1: Dammit, thousands of our supporters cut down by the Legions. What is more galling is those waste of space Socialist got all the power!
Hooded Figure 2: Patience my young apprentice, did you think those were the most loyla of our supporters? No, they were just those we felt were expendable, plenty more fools to lead to the slaughter. Did you see what they called themselves “Imperial Communists”! Mwhahahaha, already those in power quake at the possibility that the sheep will turn and chase the shepherd.
HF 1: When do we reveal ourselves master?
HF 2: Not yet, I still have the Empress’s ear and we can use that to further our goals.
HF 1: I can not wait to reveal ourselves to these corrupt fat cats
HF 2: Soon young one, let the hate course through you. Grow strong and while we wait I have a new mission for you.

**** As we pull back from this scene to the Senate itself****
Traitors my naive Doukas??? No good true free men, who only seek a better life and true representation within these walls. If anything the reforms passed by this body do not go far enough to quell what could be a tidal wave that could overcome the Empire, I and my fellow members try to appeal to the people to wait that we can reform from within and yet we are stymied at every turn.

What man among us would not fight for a better life, who here can not say that they or thier ancestors have not fought and clawed to gain thier position?

And though I agree in part with the Duke of Nicea, that providing some autonomy would just cause jealousy and envy amongst other subjects. Instead we need to provide a reason for our people to want to fight, to be willing to serve the Empire as faithfully as we do, or most of us do. The Duke however notes that we could crush any revolution, even whilst at war, but imagine if that rebellion had of occurred whilst the legions were away in Russia or in America?

I put it that we need to push forward reforms, to allow voting and sweep some of the dead wood from this chamber!

Αιδεν Γκρέυ
Governor of Brittany, Chief of Staff

Αιδεν Γκρέυ , I appreciate your respect in calling me a Duke. However, I would appreciate it if you spelled the name of domain correctly, it is Nicaea, not Nicea. It is fine if you address me as duke, senator, propraetor, or governor. Bah, a whiff of high- explosive shrapnel or even grapeshot and the crowds would disperse. This Empire can easily defeat any other nation on the planet right now. We will always have enough men to crush ungrateful rebel scum. In the unlikely event that the legions are all deployed, we can mobilize our citizens to defeat them or use auxiliaries. However, I recommend the formation of the Imperial Guard, which all males between ages 18-25 must serve a year in. This will strengthen our pool of reservists.Hail Rome! Hail the Empire! Hail the Empress!

– Senator Ambrosio Palaiologos, Duke of Nicaea, governor of Britannia, and  propraetor of Rome


I care not for whatever hell hole spawned your ilk, Palaiologos. Such talk about the people of our land, I am sure one as you would love to turn out even more of the poor to fight their own brothers!

You claim to seek this is in the best interests of our Empress, the mother of the Empire, all true Imperials know that the Empress holds us all as children to her bosom and protects each and everyone.

And men, I do not even think the word applies in your case, animals like you only concerned with protecting your ill gotten gains and keeping the people in chains. It is no longer the Empire of the 1200’s we are no longer serfs and chatels to be beaten into submission, the people of the Empire cry out as one for changes, and you reactionaries and conservatives demand a march through a lake of blood to maintain your wealth and position.

How long before the Legions themselves, tired of killing their own brothers and sisters, begin to feel that the Senate no longer serves the Empire. That the Empress listens to those who refuse to listen and begin to radicalise themselves. The thought of our own Legions marching on the capital must surely cause even the bravest of use to ponder a change in the course we take.

Αιδεν Γκρέυ
Governor of Brittany, Chief of Staff


No diary for two whole days. I have not had the heart to write. Some sort of shadowy pall seems to be coming over our happiness. No news from Ioannes, and Loukia seems to be growing weaker, whilst her mother’s hours are numbering to a close. I do not understand Loukia’s fading away as she is doing. She eats well and sleeps well, and enjoys the fresh air, but all the time the roses in her cheeks are fading, and she gets weaker and more languid day by day. At night I hear her gasping as if for air.
I keep the key of our door always fastened to my wrist at night, but she gets up and walks about the room, and sits at the open window. Last night I found her leaning out when I woke up, and when I tried to wake her I could not.
She was in a faint. When I managed to restore her, she was weak as water, and cried silently between long, painful struggles for breath. When I asked her how she came to be at the window she shook her head and turned away.
I trust her feeling ill may not be from that unlucky prick of the safety-pin. I looked at her throat just now as she lay asleep, and the tiny wounds seem not to have healed. They are still open, and, if anything, larger than before, and the edges of them are faintly white. They are like little white dots with red centres. Unless they heal within a day or two, I shall insist on the doctor seeing about them.


((Letter, Samuel F. Byrillios & Son, to Messrs. Cyrillos, Paternos & Co., Constantinople.))

“Dear Sirs, —

“Herewith please receive invoice of goods sent by railway. Same are to be delivered at [REDACTED], near [REDACTED], immediately on receipt at goods station Central Terminal. The house is at present empty, but enclosed please find keys, all of which are labelled.
“You will please deposit the boxes, fifty in number, which form the consignment, in the partially ruined building forming part of the house and marked `A’ on rough diagrams enclosed. Your agent will easily recognize the locality, as it is the ancient chapel of the mansion. The goods leave by the train at 9:30 tonight, and will be due at King’s Cross at 4:30 tomorrow afternoon. As our client wishes the delivery made as soon as possible, we shall be obliged by your having teams ready at Central Terminal at the time named and forthwith conveying the goods to destination. In order to obviate any delays possible through any routine requirements as to payment in your departments, we enclose cheque herewith for ten pounds, receipt of which please acknowledge. Should the charge be less than this amount, you can return balance, if greater, we shall at once send cheque for difference on hearing from you. You are to leave the keys on coming away in the main hall of the house, where the proprietor may get them on his entering the house by means of his duplicate key.
“Pray do not take us as exceeding the bounds of business courtesy in pressing you in all ways to use the utmost expedition.

“We are, dear Sirs,

“Faithfully yours,


((Letter, Sister Agatha, Hospital Of St. Joseph And Ste. Mary Buda-Pesth, to Madama Mara Dalassenos))

“Dear Madam.

“I write by desire of Mr. Ioannes Dalassenos, who is himself not strong enough to write, though progressing well, thanks to God. He has been under our care for nearly six weeks, suffering from a violent brain fever. He wishes me to convey his love, and to say that by this post I write for him to his superiors, to say, with his dutiful respects, that he is sorry for his delay, and that the interrogation of the Count is completed, though heavy casualties were sustained. He will require some few weeks’ rest in our sanatorium in the hills, but will then return. He wishes me to say that he has not sufficient money with him, and that he would like to pay for his staying here, so that others who need shall not be wanting for help.

Believe me,

Yours, with sympathy and all blessings.

Sister Agatha”

“P. S.–My patient being asleep, I open this to let you know something more. He has told me all about you, and that you are shortly to be his wife. All blessings to you both! He has had some fearful shock, so says our doctor, and in his delirium his ravings have been dreadful, of wolves and poison and blood, of ghosts and demons, and I fear to say of what. Be careful of him always that there may be nothing to excite him of this kind for a long time to come. The traces of such an illness as his do not lightly die away. We should have written long ago, but we knew nothing of his friends, and there was nothing on him, nothing that anyone could understand. He came in the train from Wallachia, and the guard was told by the station master there that he rushed into the station shouting for a ticket for home. Seeing from his violent demeanor that he was Greek, they gave him a ticket for the furthest station on the way thither that the train reached.
“Be assured that he is well cared for. He has won all hearts by his sweetness and gentleness. He is truly getting on well, and I have no doubt will in a few weeks be all himself. But be careful of him for safety’s sake. There are, I pray God and St. Joseph and Ste.Mary, many, many, happy years for you both.”

((Dr. Stavridis’s Diary))
Strange and sudden change in Renato last night. About eight o’clock he began to get excited and sniff about as a dog does when setting. The attendant was struck by his manner, and knowing my interest in him, encouraged him to talk. He is usually respectful to the attendant and at times servile, but tonight, the man tells me, he was quite haughty. Would not condescend to talk with him at all.
All he would say was, “I don’t want to talk to you. You don’t count now. The master is at hand.”
The attendant thinks it is some sudden form of religious mania which has seized him. If so, we must look out for squalls, for a strong man with homicidal and religious mania at once might be dangerous. The combination is a dreadful one.
At Nine o’clock I visited him myself. His attitude to me was the same as that to the attendant. In his sublime selffeeling the difference between myself and the attendant seemed to him as nothing. It looks like religious mania, and he will soon think that he himself is God.
These infinitesimal distinctions between man and man are too paltry for an Omnipotent Being. How these madmen give themselves away! The real God taketh heed lest a sparrow fall. But the God created from human vanity sees no difference between an eagle and a sparrow. Oh, if men only knew!
For half an hour or more Renato kept getting excited in greater and greater degree. I did not pretend to be watching him, but I kept strict observation all the same. All at once that shifty look came into his eyes which we always see when a madman has seized an idea, and with it the shifty movement of the head and back which asylum attendants come to know so well. He became quite quiet, and went and sat on the edge of his bed resignedly, and looked into space with lack-luster eyes.
I thought I would find out if his apathy were real or only assumed, and tried to lead him to talk of his pets, a theme which had never failed to excite his attention.
At first he made no reply, but at length said testily, “Bother them all! I don’t care a pin about them.”
“What” I said. “You don’t mean to tell me you don’t care about spiders?” (Spiders at present are his hobby and the notebook is filling up with columns of small figures.)
To this he answered enigmatically, “The Bride maidens rejoice the eyes that wait the coming of the bride. But when the bride draweth nigh, then the maidens shine not to the eyes that are filled.”
He would not explain himself, but remained obstinately seated on his bed all the time I remained with him.
I am weary tonight and low in spirits. I cannot but think of Loukia, and how different things might have been. If I don’t sleep at once, chloral, the modern Morphios! I must be careful not to let it grow into a habit. No, I shall take none tonight! I have thought of Loukia, and I shall not dishonour her by mixing the two. If need by, tonight shall be sleepless.
Later.–Glad I made the resolution, gladder that I kept to it. I had lain tossing about, and had heard the clock strike only twice, when the night watchman came to me, sent up from the ward, to say that Renfield had escaped. I threw on my clothes and ran down at once. My patient is too dangerous a person to be roaming about. Those ideas of his might work out dangerously with strangers.
The attendant was waiting for me. He said he had seen him not ten minutes before, seemingly asleep in his bed, when he had looked through the observation trap in the door. His attention was called by the sound of the window being wrenched out. He ran back and saw his feet disappear through the window, and had at once sent up for me. He was only in his night gear, and cannot be far off.
The attendant thought it would be more useful to watch where he should go than to follow him, as he might lose sight of him whilst getting out of the building by the door. He is a bulky man, and couldn’t get through the window.
I am thin, so, with his aid, I got out, but feet foremost, and as we were only a few feet above ground landed unhurt.
The attendant told me the patient had gone to the left, and had taken a straight line, so I ran as quickly as I could. As I got through the belt of trees I saw a white figure scale the high wall which separates our grounds from those of the deserted house.
I ran back at once, told the watchman to get three or four men immediately and follow me into the grounds of [REDACTED], in case our friend might be dangerous. I got a ladder myself, and crossing the wall, dropped down on the other side. I could see Renato’s figure just disappearing behind the angle of the house, so I ran after him. On the far side of the house I found him pressed close against the old ironbound oak door of the chapel.
He was talking, apparently to some one, but I was afraid to go near enough to hear what he was saying, lest I might frighten him, and he should run off.
Chasing an errant swarm of bees is nothing to following a naked lunatic, when the fit of escaping is upon him! After a few minutes, however, I could see that he did not take note of anything around him, and so ventured to draw nearer to him, the more so as my men had now crossed the wall and were closing him in. I heard him say . . .
“I am here to do your bidding, Master. I am your slave, and you will reward me, for I shall be faithful. I have worshipped you long and afar off. Now that you are near, I await your commands, and you will not pass me by, will you, dear Master, in your distribution of good things?”
He is a selfish old beggar anyhow. He thinks of the loaves and fishes even when he believes his is in a real Presence. His manias make a startling combination. When we closed in on him he fought like a tiger. He is immensely strong, for he was more like a wild beast than a man.
I never saw a lunatic in such a paroxysm of rage before, and I hope I shall not again. It is a mercy that we have found out his strength and his danger in good time. With strength and determination like his, he might have done wild work before he was caged.
He is safe now, at any rate. Georgios himself couldn’t get free from the strait waistcoat that keeps him restrained, and he’s chained to the wall in the padded room.
His cries are at times awful, but the silences that follow are more deadly still, for he means murder in every turn and movement.
Just now he spoke coherent words for the first time. “I shall be patient, Master. It is coming, coming, coming!”
So I took the hint, and came too. I was too excited to sleep, but this diary has quieted me, and I feel I shall get some sleep tonight.

Rabble like your are one of the reasons there are so many rebellions. Populists, every single one of you! We should respect each other as Senators in this great empire but you venture to insult me without provocation! Britannia, the province I govern, has one of the best safety regulations in  the Empire. We protect our people and are at the forefront of the technological revolution that is called electricity. I would like for you to check facts before hurling insults! The Empress does not protect those who wish to overthrow her, we must crush those rebels. The majority of the people in this glorious Empire are good citizens and so should be rewarded. We should protect those citizens from the menace that is radicalism and corporate greed. However, those radicals must be crushed. Therefore, I am advocating my policy of one year of service in a new unit called the Imperial Guard. I have spent much of my fortune helping the people in my dominion. I have no idea why you think I am a greedy royal or a stubborn reactionary. I dislike reactionaries too, they are holding back progress and the Empire, weakening it in the process. The Legions will never march on the capital. I guarantee that.

-Senator Ambrosio Palaiologos, Duke of Nicaea, propraetor of Rome, and governor of Britannia


I am sad that Filipino nationalism has taken an evil turn and that the bane of communism has taken root in our islands! But I am happy at the prospect of a united Filipinas under the aegis of our Christian Empire, with only Sulu left in barbarian hands.

Perhaps more socialist reforms and evangelical zeal would put down these revolutions?

Senator Nguyen-Climaco

I would agree with socialist-type reforms, but increased efforts at proselytization may only make the issue worse, as those who do not follow Christianity may hate us for taking away their traditions and become more inclined to rebellion.  Maybe instead of directly interfering with their way of life we could educate them.
Education has many benefits.  You educate them in Roman culture, and they become Romans according to the ideals of Romanitas.  They will then become productive and loyal citizens of the Empire, for as they have become Romans they loose foreign nationalism and gain Roman nationalism.  And my friend and mentor the German politician Bismarck told me that nationalism is a very powerful force in this time and age.  Why not harness it for good?
However, we can still spread the True Faith to the unbelievers without upsetting them.  How?  Again, education.  You educate their children in Roman and Christian ways, and they will become devout Christians and loyal Romans.  They cannot be angry that their traditions are suppressed because they never were raised on those traditions.  Therefore these reeducated citizens will be less inclined to rebellion.  If the parents object, we can always try to integrate the local traditions into Roman culture, though of course conventional Greco-Roman ideals will be a priority.

~Michael Doukas

Your mentor is Bismarck? That crazy, old bat who kept on ranting about German nationalism? Who are you?

Although I agree on your reeducation policy.

-Ambrosio Palaiologo

Blame my father for hiring him after he retired from politics.  Although he spent most of his time tutoring my brother…

Michael Doukas

Senator Ambrosio, Senator St?ße? G????, Please! Are we not civil Romans in these halls? Let us have discussions of reason and rational, not insults. While I do see the value of Ambrosio’s ideas, Senator St?ße? G???? is more correct in this matter, we exist to represent the people of OUR empire. Our cannons and steel should be facing towards the outsides of our border not our insides! I advise Senator Ambrosio to instead of investing in another military, to perhaps share some of his ideas and policies on how he made Britannia such a ideal province, so other senators may listen and possibly adopt some of his concepts.
– Senator Magnus Kvensson of Oceania Major

What insults? Is it not true that Bismarck is somewhat eccentric? And remember,  St?ße? G???? was the first to start insulting me. I agree, we exist to represent the people but when sections of the population rise up against the will of the people, we have an obligation to destroy such evil sentiments. The Imperial Guard is not the military! It is a force composed of enlistees who learn how to fight so when war breaks out against the Russian Empire, we are prepared to invade and defend. The Legions just may become overwhelmed by the sheer weight of Russians so we need people who can form new units to beat back those waves. In Britannia, we have the strictest safety regulations anywhere in the Empire. Our capitalists obtain permits to construct areas of dangerous work and are regularly inspected for any deviation from safety laws. We encourage societal capitalism, capitalism for the good of all instead of the few. We give our citizens free job training so they can be employed.

– Senator Ambrosio Palaiologos

Well my fellows like you always have you talk without knowledge, I would ask if our security and police forces have compiled a list of the various malcontent groups within the empire and perhaps and idea of the numbers that support various reforms.

If we can see what we are dealing with perhaps it will be best to work on those issue most pressing to the Empire.

Senator & Chief of Staff Αιδεν Γκρέυ

Of course you resort to crude insults that you cannot even structure properly! I would like you to refrain from continuing to insult your colleagues and engage in an orderly discussion. I second this motion to see what our security forces have done to monitor and stop treasonous rebellion. I also agree on his stance of listening to the people to see what they desire and see what can be done to assuage that desire and accommodate the people.
-Senator Ambrosio Palaiologos, governor of Britannia, duke of Nicaea, and propraetor of Rome


Ioannes Angelos places two fingers on his brow for a moment in thought and then declaims, “and do not listen to those who say that the voice of the people is the voice of God, for the tumult of the crowd is always close to madness.  Aelcuin of York knew well about the perils of listening to the common people and he lived over a thousand years ago.  Let us not go down this path, lest we face the consequences of such iniquity.”

I understand your concern Ioannes, however I go back nearly 2,000 years when the last King of Rome Tarquin the Proud was deposed for not listening to his subjects and this is not a fate I would wish for our beloved Empress.

-Αιδεν Γκρέυ

Reactionaries like you inflame popular sentiment against the monarchy since you attempt to hold back the tide of progress. We must adapt or die, your unchanging stance is part of the “die” part instead of the adapt. Imagine this: A massive continental land war against Russia, Germany, and the UTA. After years of warfare, the manpower reserves of each country is depleted. The Legions have advanced deep into Russia and landed in the UTA. Then, autocratic rule at home causes millions of citizens to rise up. How will you stop that?- Ambrosio Palaiologo

To be fair Senator, if our police had the ability to identify these all these cell groups, we would not be having a problem with rebellions.
– Magnus Kvensson

“Let us not deal in fantasies, Senator Palaiologos.  How do you propose we fight a land war against a nation surrounded by oceans?  Moreover, do not fool yourself that Kyriarchia is somehow more palatable to this hypothetical rebellion than is Patrikioi, because clearly if the Empire is in revolt, all your insidious methods of attempting to be all things to all people have clearly failed.”

-Alexios Angelos

I do not understand your convoluted logic. We will fight the UTA if need be and send our Legions with ships to crush them. What insidious methods? I am here for the people.-Ambrosio Palaiologo

“As am I, but let us not pretend that the people will get to make their own decisions.  You would likely address the people by pretending to listen to them and enacting what they wish, but presumably only after ensuring that those options are good for you and the state.  I would instead find local leading people and inculcate them in the wonders of the Empire to properly Hellenise them, before sending them back to guide their fellow people according to the wishes of the Basilissa and her senators.”

Ioannes half-smiles, somewhat coldly.  “Expecting commoners to guide their own fates is like asking a humble shepherd boy to herd a dozen cats and never lose a single one.”

Michael watches the other senators bicker on about the legions and war with the Cherokee.  The divide between the communists and the non-communists was greater than ever before.  The divide in all of their beliefs was greater than ever before.  Never had he seen the Senate so divided before.  “A house divided cannot stand,” said the Great Chief Lincoln of the UTA, he recalled.
Somebody tapped him on the shoulder.
Michael turned and saw Konstantinos next to him.  He rapidly recoiled in shock, falling out of his seat and knocking over some of his papers.
“Relax, brother,” said Konstantinos, “It’s me.”
“YOU?!  YOU ARE DEAD!” Michael screamed, jabbing his hand in Konstantinos’s direction.
Some senators turned and stared at Michael.
“Sir,”‘ said a senator next to him, “Konstantinos is dead.  Who are you talking to?”
“Yeah,” said Konstantinos, “Who are you talking to?”
“I am fine,” said Michael, “I just…was recalling my brother’s rebellion.”
“Pfft, like that does anything,” said Konstantinos, “No.  I’m here.  They’re lying that I’m dead.  I am your brother for God’s sake!  Treat me like the brother that I am!”
Michael tried to take his seat and ignore Konstantinos’s ramblings.  His brother simply whispered in his ear, “Markos Angelos is still out there.  How do you know the Angeloi here aren’t working for them?  How do you know the communists are plotting your downfall?  How do you know the Faveroi, Komnenoi, Palaeologoi, the Empress aren’t trying to kill you?”
“GET OUT OF MY SIGHT KONSTANTINOS!” Michael screamed, punching Konstantinos’s image.
The image of the traitor vanished as Michael’s fists passed through the empty air.
Now the entire senate was looking at him.
“Please excuse me for a moment,” he said, making his way to the door.

I Alexander smithereens call on the senate to suspend Michael Konstantios Doukas  from the senate still he cleared by a doctor  and declared mentally sound  and considered not a danger to his fellow  senators and himself.

A doctor walks into the Senate about an hour after Michael has left.

“I am Michael Konstantios Doukas’s personal physician.  After much inspection, I have determined that my patient is mentally sound and capable of carrying out his duties as Senator and Minister.  He has arranged for bodyguards to accompany him should he suffer another outburst.”

He also reads from a statement by the Doukas household, stamped with the seal of the Imperial Household.

“It is absurd that a fellow senator, especially one who does not have that much experience, demands the removal and suspension of one of our members from the Senate.  Do you know who we are?  We are the Doukai, the most powerful dynatoi in the Empire.  One does not simply dismiss a Doukai, especially one who has safeguarded the Empire in the darkest of times and constantly strives for the safety of all, including the Empress and his fellow senators.  We assure you, Michael Doukas is mentally fit to conduct his duties as Senator and Minister.  He has agreed for bodyguards to accompany him to assist in his activities should he require assistance.”

Michael, accompanied by at least six guards, returns and takes his seat in the Senate.  He is calm now and looks composed and perfectly sane.

“Do I look crazy?  Do I want to usurp the throne from the Empress?  Answer me, Smithereens.  Look me in the face and tell me, ‘You deserve to be locked up in a sanitarium, faithful servant of the Empress’.  Only the Empress may order my resignation or suspension from the Senate.  A mere senator such as you cannot remove a fellow senator from his position, much less a Minister.  Look me in the face, Smithereens, and tell me, ‘Minister who faithfully served the Empress and defended the Empire against Konstantinos Doukas, you must be locked up in an asylum as a danger to all after everything you have done for the Empire and your demonstration of sanity’.”

i Alexander smithereens request that Michael Konstantios Doukas be examined by an independent board of doctors chosen by the senate not that i don’t trust his personal doctor but i would like another opinion from an independent source.

A physician from the University of Constantinople arrives.

“I concur that Michael Doukas is mentally fit to carry out his duties as Senator and Minister.  As I have no ties to the Doukas family, I assure you that my judgment is unbiased and just.”

I, Ambrosio Palaiologos, has no opinion on the expulsion of Doukas.

It is not our place to pass judgment on each other.  It is up to the Empress to decide such matters.  If she feels Senator Doukas is mentally unfit to serve her, she will dismiss him.

– Senator Leonardo Favero, Duke & Governor of Italy, Minister of Intelligence

“As fascinating as it is to see the liberals tear into each other, given that the fellow with the ridiculous surname is clearly of no good stock, unlike Senator Doukas (despite any other failings he might have), perhaps the offensive senator should be taken out and whipped like the low-born mongrel he is.”

-Alexios Angelos

Senators, your passion and desire to protect the Empire is exemplary. But it seems there is little agreement as to the best course of action. We agree that more education would be favorable, but the people are currently crying out for safe working conditions. Well, in addition to being allowed to elect Senators, but we should constrain ourselves to discussing reasonable actions. Perhaps if some Senators have ideas on how the administrative apparatus of the Empire can be made more willing to adapt and enforce laws passed in Constantinople? As well, We have become concerned that the lack of Greek-speaking bureaucrats in some regions might be the cause of all the instability and militancy. Perhaps the unemployment aid is not reaching many who need it? It seems impossible to tell.

For those who wish to know more of the various movements in the Empire, We believe the Minister of Security can provide that information.

Senator Smithereens, We would ask that you be respectful of the positions of your fellow senators. All are Senators based on Our sufferance, and We will remove any of them if needed. We would advise you to attend to your fellow Senators and notice how they comport themselves. While their rhetoric may be extreme, sometimes too extreme, they do not seek to remove each other from their positions.

Senator Doukas, We understand, better than most, how the events with your family can cause a mental and emotional trauma. Thus your outbursts. May We suggest you speak with some of the faculty in the psychology department at the University of Constantinople. They can be of great help.

We have decided to reappoint Senators to their same governorships, unless any wish to request to govern a different region. We plan to appoint Senator Heraclius Komnenos to Dalmatia, and Senator Venédiktos Nguyen-Climaco to the Philippines. Thus, the list of governorships would be:

(North) Africa – Alexandros Damaskinos
Armenia – Julian Leon
Asia – Constantine Panaretos
Britannia – Ambrosio Palaiologos
Dalmatia – Heraclius Komnenos
Egypt – Marcos Alexandros
Macedonia – Ioannes Angelos
Naples – Nestorius Septiadis
Raetia – Columba Comminus
Sicily – Alexander Smithereens
Syria – Michael Konstantios Doukas
Thracia – Prince Alvértos
Australia – Magnus Kvensson
Brittany – Αιδεν Γκρέυ
Italy – Leonardo Favero
Philippines – Venédiktos Nguyen-Climaco
Spain – Nicodemo Theodosio

Provinces governed by non-Senators would be Mauretania, Georgia, Guayana, Palestine, Aquitaine, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Burgundy, Catalonia, France, Java, New Zealand, South Africa, and Wales.

The ministers would be:
Minister of security – Senator Doukas
Minister of intelligence – Senator Favero
Chief of Staff – Senator Αιδεν Γκρέυ
Chief of the Army – Nicodemo Theodosio
Chief of the Navy – Senator Alexander Smithereens

If any senators are interested, We would desire to appoint a new Foreign minister and an Armaments minister.

And We noticed that We have neglected to update you on Our family. Prince Artoúros has had a third child, a daughter. Princess Veatriki has married Prince Henry, a minor prince of Germany, and they already have three children.

What further thoughts have the Senators?

Ioannes returns to the Senate with a missive, looking greatly distressed. “I have received news that my son Demetrios has gone to his final reward fighting against the barbarians in the East Indies. I will take this opportunity to resign my duties, if the Basilissa permits, and ask that my grandson Alexios be confirmed in his place.”

Your Imperial Majesty:

It is with deep gratitude and honour that I accept the governorship of my country.

We too as a newly integrated province of the Roman Empire are lacking in Greek-speaking bureaucrats. The encouragement of immigration of Greeks to the outer regions of the Empire is recommended and once a trinket has arrived, to set the national focus for bureaucrats in these provinces.

Lastly, we congratulate Your Imperial Majesty for your new grandchildren.

In fealty,

Senator Nguyen-Climaco, Governor of Filipinas

Michael begins reading from the stack of papers he has brought with him.

My apologies for the delay, but here is the information the Ministry of Security has gathered on rebels and other movements.

Reactionaries–let us call them Konstantinians–demand a return to the old ways. They number around six hundred thousand. Jacobins number about four hundred thousand, though they are likely to increase in number quickly and rise up faster than the Konstantinians. Between them, about one hundred and fifty brigades are ready to defect to their ranks should uprisings begin. However, they are not the most dangerous rebel groups.

Burgundian nationalists, Aquitainian nationalists, and communists are the most dangerous rebel groups. All number at least nine hundred thousand in members. Seventy five brigades are ready to defect to the Aquitainian rebels, forty six to the Burgundians, and a staggering four hundred and fifty one to the communists. I should reiterate, the communists are the most dangerous group. They are the largest, with four million, and four hundred and fifty one brigades are ready to defect to them. I recommend that we either crack down harshly on the rebel organizations or give incentives to get rebels to defect back to our side before any uprisings begin. What is the state of our economy? Perhaps the people are angry at the taxation rates?

Now to the movements. The only one of significant size (over a million) is the suffrage movement, with about three million citizens joining. Suppressing them would stop the movement for some time, but that would only turn them into Jacobin rebels, which we do not want. Therefore, we have two choices–grant voting rights to them, which is unacceptable to most of us, or attempt to lower national consciousness.

Of note: some rebel movements talk about a “New Zealand,” “Australia,” “South Africa,” “Philippines,” “Wales,” “Java,” and “Belgium” as nations to restore sovereignty to when such nations have never existed or of an “Italian unification” or “French unification” movement. Are they drunk or something? Luckily those movements are quite small compared to the ones detailed above.

 photo 96-35_zpsekjntpp9.png photo 96-36_zpsatgfk2of.png

~Michael Doukas

Senator Doukas, can I request the total population of the Empire, just to judge how much of an issue any of these movements or groups are.

-Αιδεν Γκρέυ

((All Private))

13 August.

My dearest Loukia,

I know you will be anxious to hear all that has happened since we parted at the railway station.
Well, my dear, I got to [REDACTED] all right, and caught the boat to Varna, and then the train. I feel that I can hardly recall anything of the journey, except that I knew I was coming to Ioannes, and that as I should have to do some nursing, I had better get all the sleep I could. I found my dear one, oh, so thin and pale and weaklooking. All the resolution has gone out of his dear eyes, and that quiet dignity which I told you was in his face has vanished. He is only a wreck of himself, and he does not remember anything that has happened to him for a long time past. At least, he wants me to believe so, and I shall never ask.
He has had some terrible shock, and I fear it might tax his poor brain if he were to try to recall it. Sister Agatha, who is a good creature and a born nurse, tells me that he wanted her to tell me what they were, but she would only cross herself, and say she would never tell. That the ravings of the sick were the secrets of God, and that if a nurse through her vocation should hear them, she should respect her trust..
She is a sweet, good soul, and the next day, when she saw I was troubled, she opened up the subject my poor dear raved about, added, `I can tell you this much, my dear. That it was not about anything which he has done wrong himself, and you, as his wife to be, have no cause to be concerned. He has not forgotten you or what he owes to you. His fear was of great and terrible things, which no mortal can treat of.’
I do believe the dear soul thought I might be jealous lest my poor dear should have fallen in love with any other girl. The idea of my being jealous about Ioannes! And yet, my dear, let me whisper, I felt a thrill of joy through me when I knew that no other woman was a cause for trouble. I am now sitting by his bedside, where I can see his face while he sleeps. He is waking!
When he woke he asked me for his coat, as he wanted to get something from the pocket. I asked Sister Agatha, and she brought all his things. I saw amongst them was his notebook, and was was going to ask him to let me look at it, for I knew that I might find some clue to his trouble, but I suppose he must have seen my wish in my eyes, for he sent me over to the window, saying he wanted to be quite alone for a moment.
Then he called me back, and he said to me very solemnly, `Mara’, I knew then that he was in deadly earnest, for he has never called me by that name since he asked me to marry him, `You know, dear, my ideas of the trust between husband and wife. There should be no secret, no concealment. I have had a great shock, and when I try to think of what it is I feel my head spin round, and I do not know if it was real or the dreaming of a madman. You know I had brain fever, and that is to be mad. The secret is here, and I do not want to know it. I want to take up my life here, with our marriage.’ For, my dear, we had decided to be married as soon as the formalities are complete. `Are you willing, Mara, to share my ignorance? Here is the book. Take it and keep it, read it if you will,but never let me know unless, indeed, some solemn duty should come upon me to go back to the bitter hours, asleep or awake, sane or mad, recorded here.’ He fell back exhausted, and I put the book under his pillow, and kissed him. have asked Sister Agatha to beg the Superior to let our wedding be this afternoon, and am waiting her reply . . .”
She has come and told me that a local priest has been sent for. We are to be married in an hour, or as soon after as Jonathan awakes.”
Loukia, the time has come and gone. I feel very solemn, but very, very happy. Ioannes woke a little after the hour, and all was ready, and he sat up in bed, propped up with pillows. He answered his `I will’ firmly and strong. I could hardly speak. My heart was so full that even those words seemed to choke me.
The dear sisters were so kind. Please, God, I shall never, never forget them, nor the grave and sweet responsibilities I have taken upon me. I must tell you of my wedding present. When the chaplain and the sisters had left me alone with my husband–oh, Loukia, it is the first time I have written the words `my husband’–left me alone with my husband, I took the book from under his pillow, and wrapped it up in white paper, and tied it with a little bit of pale blue ribbon which was round my neck, and sealed it over the knot with sealing wax, and for my seal I used my wedding ring. Then I kissed it and showed it to my husband, and told him that I would keep it so, and then it would be an outward and visible sign for us all our lives that we trusted each other, that I would never open it unless it were for his own dear sake or for the sake of some stern duty. Then he took my hand in his, and oh, Loukia, it was the first time he took his wifes’ hand, and said that it was the dearest thing in all the wide world, and that he would go through all the past again to win it, if need be. The poor dear meant to have said a part of the past, but he cannot think of time yet, and I shall not wonder if at first he mixes up not only the month, but the year.
Well, my dear, could I say? I could only tell him that I was the happiest woman in all the wide world, and that I had nothing to give him except myself, my life, and my trust, and that with these went my love and duty for all the days of my life. And, my dear, when he kissed me, and drew me to him with his poor weak hands, it was like a solemn pledge between us.
Loukia dear, do you know why I tell you all this? It is not only because it is all sweet to me, but because you have been, and are, very dear to me. It was my privilege to be your friend and guide when you came from the schoolroom to prepare for the world of life. I want you to see now, and with the eyes of a very happy wife, whither duty has led me, so that in your own married life you too may be all happy, as I am. My dear, please Almighty God, your life may be all it promises, a long day of sunshine, with no harsh wind, no forgetting duty, no distrust. I must not wish you no pain, for that can never be, but I do hope you will be always as happy as I am now. Goodbye, my dear. I shall post this at once, and perhaps, write you very soon again. I must stop, for Ioannes is waking. I must attend my husband!

Your ever-loving

Mara Dalassenos.


19 August.

My dearest Mara,

Oceans of love and millions of kisses, and may you soon be in your own home with your husband. I wish you were coming home soon enough to stay with us here. The strong air would soon restore Ioannes. It has quite restored me. I have an appetite like a cormorant, am full of life, and sleep well. You will be glad to know that I have quite given up walking in my sleep. I think I have not stirred out of my bed for a week, that is when I once got into it at night. Michael says I am getting fat. By the way, I forgot to tell you that Michael is here. We have such walks and drives, and rides, and rowing, and tennis, and fishing together, and I love him more than ever. He tells me that he loves me more, but I doubt that, for at first he told me that he couldn’t love me more than he did then. But this is nonsense. There he is, calling to me.

So no more just at present from your loving,


P. S.–Mother sends her love. She seems better, poor dear.

P. P.S.–We are to be married on 28 September.


((Stavridis’s diary))

20 August.

The case of Renato grows even more interesting. He has now so far quieted that there are spells of cessation from his passion. For the first week after his attack he was perpetually violent. Then one night, just as the moon rose, he grew quiet, and kept murmuring to himself. “Now I can wait. Now I can wait.”
The attendant came to tell me, so I ran down at once to have a look at him. He was still in the strait waistcoat and in the padded room, but the suffused look had gone from his face, and his eyes had something of their old pleading. I might almost say, cringing, softness. I was satisfied with his present condition, and directed him to be relieved. The attendants hesitated, but finally carried out my wishes without protest.
It was a strange thing that the patient had humour enough to see their distrust, for, coming close to me, he said in a whisper, all the while looking furtively at them, “They think I could hurt you! Fancy me hurting you! The fools!”
It was soothing, somehow, to the feelings to find myself disassociated even in the mind of this poor madman from the others, but all the same I do not follow his thought. Am I to take it that I have anything in common with him, so that we are, as it were, to stand together. Or has he to gain from me some good so stupendous that my well being is needful to Him? I must find out later on. Tonight he will not speak. Even the offer of a kitten or even a full-grown cat will not tempt him.
He will only say, “I don’t take any stock in cats. I have more to think of now, and I can wait. I can wait.”
After a while I left him. The attendant tells me that he was quiet until just before dawn, and that then he began to get uneasy, and at length violent, until at last he fell into a paroxysm which exhausted him so that he swooned into a sort of coma.
. . . Three nights has the same thing happened, violent all day then quiet from moonrise to sunrise. I wish I could get some clue to the cause. It would almost seem as if there was some influence which came and went. Happy thought! We shall tonight play sane wits against mad ones. He escaped before without our help. Tonight he shall escape with it. We shall give him a chance, and have the men ready to follow in case they are required.

23 August.

“The expected always happens.” How well the writer Disraeli of Britannia knew life. Our bird when he found the cage open would not fly, so all our subtle arrangements were for nought. At any rate, we have proved one thing, that the spells of quietness last a reasonable time. We shall in future be able to ease his bonds for a few hours each day. I have given orders to the night attendant merely to shut him in the padded room, when once he is quiet, until the hour before sunrise. The poor soul’s body will enjoy the relief even if his mind cannot appreciate it. Hark! The unexpected again! I am called. The patient has once more escaped.
Later.–Another night adventure. Renato artfully waited until the attendant was entering the room to inspect. Then he dashed out past him and flew down the passage. I sent word for the attendants to follow. Again he went into the grounds of the deserted house, and we found him in the same place, pressed against the old chapel door. When he saw me he became furious, and had not the attendants seized him in time, he would have tried to kill me. As we were holding him a strange thing happened. He suddenly redoubled his efforts, and then as suddenly grew calm. I looked round instinctively, but could see nothing. Then I caught the patient’s eye and followed it, but could trace nothing as it looked into the moonlight sky, except a big bat, which was flapping its silent and ghostly way to the west. Bats usually wheel about, but this one seemed to go straight on, as if it knew where it was bound for or had some intention of its own.
The patient grew calmer every instant, and presently said, “You needn’t tie me. I shall go quietly!” Without trouble, we came back to the house. I feel there is something ominous in his calm, and shall not forget this night.

((Loukia’s diary))

24 August.

I must imitate Mara, and keep writing things down. Then we can have long talks when we do meet. I wonder when it will be. I wish she were with me again, for I feel so unhappy. Last night I seemed to be dreaming again just as I was at [WORD TORN OUT OF PAGE]. Perhaps it is the change of air, or getting home again. It is all dark and horrid to me, for I can remember nothing. But I am full of vague fear, and I feel so weak and worn out. When Michael came to lunch he looked quite grieved when he saw me, and I hadn’t the spirit to try to be cheerful. I wonder if I could sleep in mother’s room tonight. I shall make an excuse to try.

25 August.

Another bad night. Mother did not seem to take to my proposal. She seems not too well herself, and doubtless she fears to worry me. I tried to keep awake, and succeeded for a while, but when the clock struck twelve it waked me from a doze, so I must have been falling asleep. There was a sort of scratching or flapping at the window, but I did not mind it, and as I remember no more, I suppose I must have fallen asleep. More bad dreams. I wish I could remember them. This morning I am horribly weak. My face is ghastly pale, and my throat pains me. It must be something wrong with my lungs, for I don’t seem to be getting air enough. I shall try to cheer up when Michael comes, or else I know he will be miserable to see me so.

A hotel, 31 August

My dear Jim,

I want you to do me a favour. Loukia is ill, that is she has no special disease, but she looks awful, and is getting worse every day. I have asked her if there is any cause, I not dare to ask her mother, for to disturb the poor lady’s mind about her daughter in her present state of health would be fatal. Loukia’s mother has confided to me that her doom is spoken, disease of the heart, though poor Loukia does not know it yet. I am sure that there is something preying on my dear girl’s mind. I am almost distracted when I think of her. To look at her gives me a pang. I told her I should ask you to see her, and though she demurred at first, I know why, old fellow, she finally consented. It will be a painful task for you, I know, old friend, but it is for her sake, and I must not hesitate to ask, or you to act. You are to come to lunch at my estate in Athens tomorrow, two o’clock, so as not to arouse any suspicion in Loukia’s mother, and after lunch Loukia will take an opportunity of being alone with you. I am filled with anxiety, and want to consult with you alone as soon as I can after you have seen her. Do not fail!

Your friend,
Michael Doukas.

((Telegram from Stavridis to Doukas))

1 September

Am summoned to see my father, who is worse. Am writing. Write me fully by tonight’s post to Ring. Wire me if necessary.

((Letter from Stavridis to Doukas))

2 September

My dear old fellow,

With regard to Loukia’s health I hasten to let you know at once that in my opinion there is not any functal disturbance or any malady that I know of. At the same time, I am not by any means satisfied with her appearance. She is woefully different from what she was when I saw her last. Of course you must bear in mind that I did not have full opportunity of examination such as I should wish. Our very friendship makes a little difficulty which not even medical science or custom can bridge over. I had better tell you exactly what happened, leaving you to draw, in a measure, your own conclusions. I shall then say what I have done and propose doing.
I found her in seemingly gay spirits. Her mother was present, and in a few seconds I made up my mind that she was trying all she knew to mislead her mother and prevent her from being anxious. I have no doubt she guesses, if she does not know, what need of caution there is.
We lunched alone, and as we all exerted ourselves to be cheerful, we got, as some kind of reward for our labours, some real cheerfulness amongst us. Then the mother went to lie down, and Loukia was left with me. We went into her boudoir, and till we got there her gaiety remained, for the servants were coming and going.
As soon as the door was closed, however, the mask fell from her face, and she sank down into a chair with a great sigh, and hid her eyes with her hand. When I saw that her high spirits had failed, I at once took advantage of her reaction to make a diagnosis.
She said to me very sweetly, `I cannot tell you how I loathe talking about myself.’ I reminded her that a doctor’s confidence was sacred, but that you were grievously anxious about her. She caught on to my meaning at once, and settled that matter in a word. `Tell Michael everything you choose. I do not care for myself, but for him!’ So I am quite free.
I could easily see that she was somewhat bloodless, but I could not see the usual anemic signs, and by the chance ,I was able to test the actual quality of her blood, for in opening a window which was stiff a cord gave way, and she cut her hand slightly with broken glass. It was a slight matter in itself, but it gave me an evident chance, and I secured a few drops of the blood and have analysed them.
The qualitative analysis give a quite normal condition, and shows, I should infer, in itself a vigorous state of health. In other physical matters I was quite satisfied that there is no need for anxiety, but as there must be a cause somewhere, I have come to the conclusion that it must be something mental.
She complains of difficulty breathing satisfactorily at times, and of heavy, lethargic sleep, with dreams that frighten her, but regarding which she can remember nothing. She says that as a child, she used to walk in her sleep, and that when in [REDACTED] the habit came back, and that once she walked out in the night and went to East Cliff, where Mara found her. But she assures me that of late the habit has not returned.
I am in doubt, and so have done the best thing I know of. I have written to my old friend and master, Professor Albrect von Habsburg, of Vienna, who knows as much about obscure diseases as any one in the world. I have asked him to come over, and as you told me that all things were to be at your charge, I have mentioned to him who you are and your relations to Loukia. This, my dear fellow, is in obedience to your wishes, for I am only too proud and happy to do anything I can for her.
Von Habsburg would, I know, do anything for me for a personal reason, so no matter on what ground he comes, we must accept his wishes. He is a seemingly arbitrary man, this is because he knows what he is talking about better than any one else. He is a philosopher and a metaphysician, and one of the most advanced scientists of his day, and he has, I believe, an absolutely open mind. This, with an iron nerve, a temper of the ice-brook, and indomitable resolution, self-command, and toleration exalted from virtues to blessings, and the kindliest and truest heart that beats, these form his equipment for the noble work that he is doing for mankind, work both in theory and practice, for his views are as wide as his all-embracing sympathy. I tell you these facts that you may know why I have such confidence in him. I have asked him to come at once. I shall see Loukia tomorrow again. She is to meet me at the Stores, so that I may not alarm her mother by too early a repetition of my call.

Yours always.

Jim Stavirids

((Letter, Albrecht von Habsburg, MD, PhD, D. LiT, ETC, ETC, to Dr. Stavridis))

2 September.

Mein good Friend,

When I received your letter I am already coming to you. By good fortune I can leave just at once, without wrong to any of those who have trusted me. Were fortune other, then it were bad for those who have trusted, for I come to my friend when he call me to aid those he holds dear. Tell your friend that when that time you suck from my wound so swiftly the poison of the gangrene from that knife that our other friend, too nervous, let slip, you did more for him when he wants my aids and you call for them than all his great fortune could do. But it is pleasure added to do for him, your friend, it is to you that I come. Have near at hand, and please it so arrange that we may see the young lady not too late on tomorrow, for it is likely that I may have to return here that night. But if need be I shall come again in three days, and stay longer if it must. Till then goodbye, my friend Jim.

Von Habsburg.

((Letter, Stavridis to Doukas))

3 September

My friend Mike,

Von Habsburg has come and gone. He came on with me to Athens, and found that, by Loukia discretion, her mother was lunching out, so that we were alone with her.
Von Habsburg made a very careful examination of the patient. He is to report to me, and I shall advise you, for of course I was not present all the time. He is, I fear, much concerned, but says he must think. When I told him of our friendship and how you trust to me in the matter, he said, `Du must tell him all du zink. Tell him vhat ich zink, if du can guess it, if du vill. Nein, ich am not jesting. This is no jest, but life and death, perhaps more.’ I asked what he meant by that, for he was very serious. This was when we had come back to town, and he was having a cup of tea before starting on his return to Vienna. He would not give me any further clue. You must not be angry with me, Mike, because his very reticence means that all his brains are working for her good. He will speak plainly enough when the time comes, be sure. So I told him I would simply write an account of our visit, just as if I were doing a descriptive special article for THE DAILY EMPIRE. He seemed not to notice, but remarked that the smuts of Constantinople were not quite so bad as they used to be when he was a student here. I am to get his report tomorrow if he can possibly make it. In any case I am to have a letter.
Well, as to the visit, Loukia was more cheerful than on the day I first saw her, and certainly looked better. She had lost something of the ghastly look that so upset you, and her breathing was normal. She was very sweet to the Professor (as she always is),and tried to make him feel at ease, though I could see the poor girl was making a hard struggle for it.
I believe Von Habsburg saw it, too, for I saw the quick look under his bushy brows that I knew of old. Then he began to chat of all things except ourselves and diseases and with such an infinite geniality that I could see poor Loukia’s pretense of animation merge into reality. Then, without any seeming change, he brought the conversation gently round to his visit, and sauvely said,
`Mein dear young fraulein, ich have ze so great pleasure because du are so much beloved. That is much, mein fraulein, even vere zere zhat vhich ich do nicht see. Zhey told mich du were down in zhe spirit, and zhat du vere of a ghastly pale. To zhem ich say “Pouf!” ‘ And he snapped his fingers at me and went on. `But du and ich shall show zhem how vrong zhey are. How can he’, and he pointed at me with the same look and gesture as that with which he pointed me out in his class, on, or rather after, a particular occasion which he never fails to remind me of, `know anything of a young fraulein? He has his madmen to play vith, and to bring zhem back to happiness, and to zhose zhat love zhem. It is much to do, and, oh, but zhere are rewards in zhat ve can bestow such happiness. But zhe young fraulein! He has no wife nor daughter, and zhe young do not tell zhemselves to zhe kinder, but to zhe old, like mich, vho have known so many sorrows and zhe causes of zhem. So, mein fraulein, ve vill send him away to smoke zhe cigarette in zhe garden, vhiles du and ich have little talk all to ourselves.’ I took the hint, and strolled about, and presently the professor came to the window and called me in. He looked grave, but said, ` Ich have made careful examination, but zhere is no functional cause. With du ich agree zhat zhere has been much blood lost, it has been but is not. But zhe conditions of her are in no way anemic. Ich have asked her to send mich her maid, zhat ich may ask just one or zwo questions, that so ich may not chance to miss nothing. Ich know vell what she vill say. And yet zhere is cause. Zhere is always cause for everything. Ich must go back home and zhink. Du must send mich zhe telegram every day, and if zhere be cause ich shall come again. Zhe disease, for not to be well is a disease, interest mich, and the sweet, young frauein, she interest mich too. She charm mich, and for her, if not for du or disease, ich come.’
As I tell you, he would not say a word more, even when we were alone. And so now, Mike, you know all I know. I shall keep stern watch. I trust your poor mother is rallying. It must be a terrible thing to you, my dear old fellow, to be placed in such a position between two people who are both so dear to you. I know your idea of duty to your mother, and you are right to stick to it. But if need be, I shall send you word to come at once to Lucy, so do not be over-anxious unless you hear from me.

((Stavridis’s diary))

4 September.

Zoophagous patient still keeps up our interest in him. He had only one outburst and that was yesterday at an unusual time. Just before the stroke of noon he began to grow restless. The attendant knew the symptoms, and at once summoned aid. Fortunately the men came at a run, and were just in time, for at the stroke of noon he became so violent that it took all their strength to hold him. In about five minutes, however, he began to get more quiet,and finally sank into a sort of melancholy, in which state he has remained up to now. The attendant tells me that his screams whilst in the paroxysm were really appalling. I found my hands full when I got in, attending to some of the other patients who were frightened by him. Indeed, I can quite understand the effect, for the sounds disturbed even me, though I was some distance away. It is now after the dinner hour of the asylum, and as yet my patient sits in a corner brooding, with a dull, sullen, woe-begone look in his face, which seems rather to indicate than to show something directly. I cannot quite understand it.
Later.–Another change in my patient. At five o’clock I looked in on him, and found him seemingly as happy and contented as he used to be. He was catching flies and eating them, and was keeping note of his capture by making nailmarks on the edge of the door between the ridges of padding. When he saw me, he came over and apologized for his bad conduct, and asked me in a very humble, cringing way to be led back to his own room, and to have his notebook again. I thought it well to humour him, so he is back in his room with the window open. He has the sugar of his tea spread out on the window sill, and is reaping quite a harvest of flies. He is not now eating them, but putting them into a box, as of old, and is already examining the corners of his room to find a spider. I tried to get him to talk about the past few days, for any clue to his thoughts would be of immense help to me, but he would not rise. For a moment or two he looked very sad, and said in a sort of far away voice, as though saying it rather to himself than to me.
“All over! All over! He has deserted me. No hope for me now unless I do it myself!” Then suddenly turning to me in a resolute way, he said,”Doctor, won’t you be very good to me and let me have a little more sugar? I think it would be very good for me.”
“And the flies?” I said.
“Yes! The flies like it, too, and I like the flies, therefore I like it.”And there are people who know so little as to think that madmen do not argue. I procured him a double supply, and left him as happy a man as, I suppose, any in the world. I wish I could fathom his mind.
Midnight.–Another change in him. I had been to see Loukia, whom I found much better, and had just returned, and was standing at our own gate looking at the sunset, when once more I heard him yelling. As his room is on this side of the house, I could hear it better than in the morning. It was a shock to me to turn from the wonderful smoky beauty of a sunset over Constantinople, with its lurid lights and inky shadows and all the marvellous tints that come on foul clouds even as on foul water, and to realize all the grim sternness of my own cold stone building, with its wealth of breathing misery, and my own desolate heart to endure it all. I reached him just as the sun was going down, and from his window saw the red disc sink. As it sank he became less and less frenzied, and just as it dipped he slid from the hands that held him, an inert mass, on the floor. It is wonderful, however, what intellectual recuperative power lunatics have, for within a few minutes he stood up quite calmly and looked around him. I signalled to the attendants not to hold him, for I was anxious to see what he would do. He went straight over to the window and brushed out the crumbs of sugar. Then he took his fly box, and emptied it outside, and threw away the box. Then he shut the window, and crossing over, sat down on his bed. All this surprised me, so I asked him,”Are you going to keep flies any more?”
“No,” said he. “I am sick of all that rubbish!” He certainly is a wonderfully interesting study. I wish I could get some glimpse of his mind or of the cause of his sudden passion. Stop. There may be a clue after all, if we can find why today his paroxysms came on at high noon and at sunset. Can it be that there is a malign influence of the sun at periods which affects certain natures, as at times the moon does others? We shall see.

((Telegram, Stavridis, Constantinople, to Von Habsburg, Vienna))
4 September.

Patient still better today.

((Telegram, Stavridis, Constantinople, to Von Habsburg, Vienna))
5 September.

Patient greatly improved. Good appetite, sleeps naturally, good spirits, color coming back.

((Telegram, Stavridis, Constantinople, to Von Habsburg, Vienna))
6 September.

Terrible change for the worse. Come at once. Do not lose an hour. I hold over telegram to Doukas till have seen you.

Senators, I propose myself for the position of minister of armaments. Especially considering my past experience in the defense industry. I am also willing to follow more ‘social’ methods of armaments considering some of the other senators political association.
-Senator Magnus Kvensson

Senator Angleos, Our deepest condolences. He shall be appointed forthwith. Senator Kvensson, We would be pleased to appoint you as armaments minister.

The updated list of appointments is:

(North) Africa – Alexandros Damaskinos
Armenia – Julian Leon
Asia – Constantine Panaretos
Britannia – Ambrosio Palaiologos
Dalmatia – Heraclius Komnenos
Egypt – Marcos Alexandros
Macedonia – Alexios Angelos
Naples – Nestorius Septiadis
Raetia – Columba Comminus
Sicily – Alexander Smithereens
Syria – Michael Konstantios Doukas
Thracia – Prince Alvértos
Australia – Magnus Kvensson
Brittany – Αιδεν Γκρέυ
Italy – Leonardo Favero
Philippines – Venédiktos Nguyen-Climaco
Spain – Nicodemo Theodosio

Provinces governed by non-Senators would be Mauretania, Georgia, Guayana, Palestine, Aquitaine, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Burgundy, Catalonia, France, Java, New Zealand, South Africa, and Wales.

The ministers would be:
Armament minister – Senator Kvensson
Minister of security – Senator Doukas
Minister of intelligence – Senator Favero
Chief of Staff – Senator Αιδεν Γκρέυ
Chief of the Army – Nicodemo Theodosio
Chief of the Navy – Senator Alexander Smithereens

As always, Senators, thank you for your time.

The Empire Strikes Back 95 – The State of the Empire 1880-1885

Blachernae Palace, 1st of January 1885


As we wait for the Empress to arrive for the address, the following newspapers are considered significant by the archivists.

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And as you can see, the world map in this room has been updated. I’m told the Senate’s is being updated now, too.
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After many years of helping Empire grow in it’s strenght, Alexios Damaskinos, my dear father, passed away on 12 November 1884. By the law his seat in Senate and title of Governor of Africa is passed to me. I hope that my actions would make my father proud. Rest in Peace, my dear father.

– Alexandros Damaskinos

Greetings fellow Senators, allow me to introduce myself; I am Senator Magnus Kvensson.
First, I would like to thank the most pristine and wise Empress for my new position among this prestigious and respected society. Now I assume many of you doubt my loyalty to the empire espcially with a name as outlandish as mine, but I assure you i have bled and lost close kin for the empire and her interest. I have served for 15 years in our eternal legions and even worked my way to Legate. But most of all I cannot stand these Slavic pagans that do these cruel and unusual rituals to the good citizens we vow and swore to protect!
However, I don’t believe a military conquest is the way to solve the pagan issue, for we cannot even guarantee our own internal stability. And how do we achieve this stability you may wonder? Simple. Money.
We control practically all of Africa and the very populous Indian continent as well as large swaths of land in Australia. We should focus on harvesting these raw resource pools and investing in their development.
Every night i hear someone, anyone ranting about how these “socialist” and “communist” and how they’ll bring wealth to everyone. So I propose this as the counter to these upstart ideals and rebellions and calm the populous.
Thank you for listening and I look forward to meeting all of you prestigious senators.
– Senator Magnus Kvensson

After an intense discussion, I will be retiring after the next Senate session and living out the rest of my life at my estate at Nicaea. I will the Dukedom of Nicaea to my eldest son and my heir, Ambrosio Palaiologos, after the next session of the Senate. He is 33 years old, being born on January 29th, 1852. He was born in Londinium in Britannia. He will continue my fights for justice, order, and  prosperity and is a firm believer in the power of Rome, the invincibility of her legions, and the maginimious naature of the Empress and administration. He will take over my position in the Kyriarchía. I would also like the Empress the assign Ambrosio to the rector provinciae of Britannia and also to promote him to praetor after my retirement, taking over my positions. Thank you for your benevolence to me throughout my years of service. I understand if my son is not fit to be rector provinciae and you decide to assign him somewhere else. Hail Empress Veronica! Hail Rome! Hail the Empire!

Senator Andronikos Palaiologos, governor of Britannia, propraetor of Rome, and duke of Nicaea.


We would take this time to announce new appointments to Our staff. Senator Alexander Smithereens shall be named Chief of the Navy. Senator Theodosio, We must confess that the last address was incorrect, and Senator Αιδεν Στήβεν has long been the Chief of Staff. However, if you would be interested in the position of Chief of Armaments or Chief of the Army, the position is yours.

As for family, We have four new grandchildren. Two from Prince Artoúros, and two from Prince Léon. Prince Léon was married in 1883 to Helene Friederike, the daughter of a regional administrator in Burgundy. He had a daughter and a son, but died from his hemophilia shortly before his son was born.

Now for news of the Empire.

As 1880 began, We again funded philosophic investigations at the University of Constantinople.
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We also adjusted the various taxes to more accurately approximate a flat tax across the Empire.
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When Ethiopia declared war on Arabia to recover the breakaway lands, they asked for Our assistance. We agreed and sent them money, but did not send the Legions.
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When We sent official word that We would favor unemployment subsidies, reactionaries who were already angered at the changed tax rates took to arms. As was typical with these minor revolts, they were put down with ease.
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Arabia was also put down with ease, with the peace treaty between Ethiopia and Arabia signed in Blachernae Palace.

Meanwhile, while Germany’s latest war with Bavaria slowly turned against them, Bavaria did not do much better, as Silesian nationalists were able to force their independence from the war-weary nation.

Again, the philosophy department demonstrated that they had already been developing new ideas.
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We turned to the Legions and had them develop methods of determining the risks involved in various actions so that they could choose well.
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In January of 1881, Poland-Lithuania declared war on Russia in the hopes of humiliating them. It seems their goal was to direct Us at Russia. As they had not consulted Us regarding this foolish plan, We declined to aid them in their war.

Bavarian reactionaries had been displeased at Bavaria’s weakness and in turn rebelled, forcing a new government in March of 1881.

When the military had developed the basic ideas of risk assessment, We sought to alleviate the ongoing coal shortages by having engineers apply steam turbines to the various mines.
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As these were deployed, We continued building industry everywhere where there were excess workers. There were never not excess workers.

The excavation in Egypt continued to bear fruit as a tomb was uncovered, and then the turbines were fully deployed.
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We immediately set the engineers to developing better metallurgical techniques to make more use of the coal we had so that the coal could be applied to more uses.
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In January of 1882, Bavaria and Germany signed a peace agreement to simply cease hostilities. Ultimately, this meant that Germany won. They had absorbed territory first in Thuringia and then in Brandenburg when pan-nationalists in Werle turned all of the region over. Bavaria in turn had lost territory, first to Silesian nationalists (Silesia shortly after being conquered by Hungary), and then to Hungary directly.

In February, Poland-Lithuania was forced to see the error of their war when they gave Estonia to Russia.

The development of several techniques of creating artificial dyes was a complete transformation of the textile industries. And the improved metallurgical techniques promised to free up enough coal and coal byproducts to keep these factories working.
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After that was completed, We followed Senator Theodosio’s advice and began laying the legal foundation for a central bank.
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In addition to the advances in coal, other engineers developed means of producing useful products from petroleum oil. The peoples of Baku immediately went to work extracting and selling it, and in the following years other sources were found, greatly enriching the workers of any lands lucky enough to have a supply.
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In November of 1882, Bavaria’s government was overthrown again, this time by Jacobins.

In December, the long-feared communist revolt swept over the Empire. There were several larger groups in Gallia and Iberia, but they were swept away with ease. The numerous smaller groups in Africa were harder, if only because of the vast distances between them. It was clear a new legion would be needed for West Africa, so one was recruited.
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Meanwhile, an island between Java and Sumatra exploded, causing great loss of life in Java.
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When the legal framework for the central bank had been created, We asked the legions to finally apply statistics to all their work.
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When they had completed that work, We insisted they develop an organized system of logistics, so that they could better be supplied in places such as Africa.

Just before the end of the year in 1883, the communist rebels were completely cleared out. Not much happened through the beginning of 1884. In July, Jacobins grew frustrated with the lack of further political reforms and revolted.

This revolt, as with the Communist one, demonstrated the sheer power of artillery. So when the legions had figured out the basics of a modern logistics system, We set to work having weapons manufacturers provide them with artillery that could be loaded from the breech instead of from the muzzle.
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In October, Germany finally overcame Bavaria and completely annexed it. Finally central Europe was becoming organized.
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And so we come to 1885. Despite the growth of jobs in the city, a third again as many as there were in 1880, the number of unemployed in the cities of the Empire as tripled, now nearly one hundred thousand souls. Sixty three thousand of those are in Constantinople. While they find day jobs often enough to eat, theirs is a hard and meager existence, and We hope to provide for them in the future. Jobs, primarily, but also subsidies for when there are no jobs.

But sadly, this is the political leanings of the various administrators and town councils. As you can see, no reforms would succeed at this time.
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As well, the artillery will soon be supplied. Do the Senators have recommendations for what to research next?
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My Empress, my failure to prevent violence by the Communists of the Empire will forever weigh heavy on me. I only hope that you can understand that the rage that boiled over was due to the material conditions most citizens of the Empire live in. Seeing both soldiers and citizens fall has hurt me greatly.

I am hosting an International Congress of Socialists and Communists in the hope that agreements can be reached, and further violence avoided. Not having any standardized line of thought for how The Roman Empire is to achieve Communism was paramount in causing this rebellion. The more violent trends of communism from other nations has spread far, and must be either removed or repurposed.

To this end, I call all members of the Socialist and Communist parties together to discuss and decide on a plan of action and legislation for The Roman Empire. I also encourage all from overseas who can attend to do so, to allow a full diverse discussion. This will be known as The First Internationale. We shall meet in Constantinople in a place, yet to be determined, in one year’s time.

-Nicodemo Theodosio

Alexios was getting old now.  He could no longer run like he used to, and his joints ached.  His once brilliant hair was now white and gray.  He could still shoot a gun really well, but the recoils always dealt extensive pain to his wrist.  He could hardly write in his journals now.  Yet he still went to the Senate meetings every time, discussing the state of the Empire with his fellow senators, whom he had come to regard as close friends after working with them for decades.
They were discussing something about Germany when suddenly the doors swung open, and in stormed a battalion of Imperial riflemen.  At their head was his son, Konstantinos Doukas, named after the Emperor who had driven back the Seljuk Turks from Anatolia over eight hundred years ago.  The soldiers stood still at the entrance to the Senate room, while Konstantinos stepped forward.  It was then that Alexios realized that Konstantinos was wearing a toga with Imperial purple outlines.  Nobody was supposed to wear Imperial purple outlines on their togas…except the Empress.  Was Konstantinos…?
“Listen up!” shouted Konstantinos. “You old fools have toiled too long in here in the name of the pretender Veronica Nikephora!”
“PRETENDER?!” shouted a senator, “Who DARES declare the Sacred Empress a pretender?!”
Konstantinos simply motioned to his men and pointed at the senator.  Two seconds later, the senator was on the ground, four bullet holes in his head and chest.
The senators shouted and ran for it, but all entrances had been blocked by Konstantinos’s men.  The Empress was quickly surrounded with Varangians, but they were all outnumbered.
“It’s no use running from me, your true emperor,” Konstantinos said, “That wench over there in the corner has driven the Empire into the ground, and I intend to fix it.  I hereby declare myself Basileus Basileon, King of Kings, Autokrator of the Empire!  Under that wench, we have gone in the wrong direction!  Look at us!  What have we become?  The Empire’s a shell of its former self!  The people are protesting for more rights and freedoms!  We have lost the way of the Romans!  I will save our Empire.  I will make it great again!”
As some senators began protesting, Konstantinos raised his hand.  “I beg you, please hear my words before coming to conclusions.  Join me, and I shall reward you greatly.  Don’t…well, you get the idea.”
Konstantinos turned to his father, still sitting at his seat despite the gunfire.
“Father, don’t make me do this,” he said, “Please.  No longer will we be the marginalized minor branch of the Doukas family that the Cult mocked in that letter many years ago.  We’ll have what we always wanted–power.  You, as the father of the Sacred Emperor, will be the second most powerful man in the world, not just a lowly senator or minister or soldier.  I’m doing what is best for all of us.”
Alexios wasn’t tempted.  “Do you really think I want more power?  Your grandfather and I have served the Empire for longer than you have lived, boy.  I will not abandon it now, while I live.  I knew something was wrong about you ever since you came back from that rebel siege.  Please, son, drop the delusions of grandeur, and I might intervene during your trial.  Killing me will only deny your inheritance and give it to Michael.”
Konstantinos was also unfazed by his father’s declaration.  He pulled out a gun and shot his father in the left knee.  Pain exploded in Alexios’s left leg, and he went down with a shout.  Konstantinos then pointed at the Empress.
“Anybody else want to join me?  Please do.”


Michael watched in shock as Konstantinos and his men stormed the Palace, the mobs not far behind.  He was not found yet.
He turned around just as explosions rippled through Constantinople, causing massive devastation to infrastructure and civilians, and the Hagia Sophia was stormed by an angry mob.  He knew the same thing was happening across the Empire as the legions were caught off-guard and the supporters of his brother were taking up arms…

Leonardo Favero kept calm when the pretender burst in and threatened the Empress.  Ever since his father’s murder, he had been prepared for anything.  Admittedly he had expected the Cult to make a move, but he supposed the Empire was filled with all kinds of whack-jobs.  As the pretender, who was apparently the son of Alexios Doukas, made all kinds of wild claims, Leonardo casually inched his way towards the Empress and her Varangian guards.  He slipped a small knife he always kept on him out of his sleeve and into his hand, making sure it remained out of sight.  If anyone made a move on the Empress, he would intervene.  He’d grown quite adept at throwing knives with deadly accuracy.  He could make a shot at the ringleader, but his men might start shooting the other senators if he did.  It was best to bide his time and wait for the optimum moment to strike.

Konstantinos notices Leonardo moving towards the Empress and hiding something in his hand.  Without thinking or even looking more than a second, he shoots Leonardo twice in both wrists and then his knees for good measure.

“Fool!  Do you really think you can defy your Emperor?!  I know who you are!  I knew your father, that senile old man!  I won’t have any of your family pulling heroics this time!  And don’t think about calling in your guards!  They’re quite busy dealing with the hordes of citizens fighting for their rightful ruler!  Now hurry up and swear  your fealty to me or I will begin the purging!  I will spare your precious wench if you do so!”

“Shall we solve this as ‘gentlemen’ would Konstantinos?”, asked Nicodemo Theodosio

He stepped forward, nothing in his hands, only his sword on hisbelt.

“You talk a lot about ‘purity’ and ‘nobility,’ yet you have just shot your own father in the knee for disagreeing with you. Are you not a Christian, Konstantinos? ‘Honour thy Father and thy Mother.’ Is this not one of the holiest of Commandments?”

He slowly drew his sword, and held it in proper dueling stance.

“You would put everything on the line in a mad grasp for power, to enforce your unpopular ideas onto the people of the Empire. You have violated the sanctity of these chambers and of this great city. You have shot your own father, my colleague. Most of all, however, you have threatened the Empress, and by that, all of us. I ask you to show the smallest shred of honour and duel me now, and let God and Fate decide the outcome of this mad coup.”

Senator Columba and his guard are riding for Blachernae along the Theodosian walls his ears ringing from the blast that had blown his horse out from under him
“Right who’s not dead?”
A young officer, an ADC to one of the more senior ones by his uniform.”Most of us your eminence are alive and well though 3 others are badly injured and it looks like Taggart bought it”
“Damn I liked him”
“How much further sir?”
“About another bloody mile and are horses are already exhausted dammit!”
“Sorry senat-”
“Don’t apologise I’m on edge that’s all, we all are. Any send riders back into the city tell whoever’s there we have reached the Gate of Adrianople we should be past it by the time they get the message but I think should is about to become a very loose concept today. I also left a reserve force outside a few miles away I didn’t want to cause a scare by brining them all in at once but now with hindsight of course…Anyway tell them to head for Blachernae we need to protect the Empress.”
“And the senate”
“We can’t be in two places at once dammit”
“What I mean sire, is that all the senators are at Blachernae as well”
“For the imperial address to the senate”
“Honestly what is the point of being a senator if nobody tells you where the meetings are happening? Right then tell the men at Constantine’s Forum to pull back to where the Constantinian walls used to be. set up a defensive line there and try to move north if the can. At least establish a large perimeter around the palace.”
“It shall be done Governor.”
“Gonnae just decide what you’re calling me please and get to it.”
“At once my lord.”
“Och jings when it comes to staff the have all enthusiasm but it would be nice if they had some sense as well.”
“Brother!” The voice was all too familiar to him, his younger brother was galloping up on them from behind.
“Gius I thought I told you to get out of the city!”
“No you told me to get my family out of the city.”
“You do realise that if the revolters don’t get you your wife will?”
“No I didn’t”
“Please tell me you at least have something to fight with.”
“Yes I do actually.”
“Finally some good news. Now get back on your horse and find me one.”
“Where is your horse?”
“That depends on what part of it you’re referring to. *sigh* I liked that horse. Anyway now’s not the time to mourn we need to get to Blachernae now.”
A soldier presents the senator with another horse and he jumps on ignoring the pain in his bloody hands.
“Columba I feel I should tell you something. It’s occurred to me that Kilts are not exactly great for riding in.”
“I know that Gius but it’s easier than a toga. Now COME ON WE HAVE AN EMPIRE TO SAVE”
They rode north for the palace slowing down as they neared. They dismounted and left their horses behind. The front of the palace was filled with an angry crowd demanding blood.
“What do we do know?”
“Keep it down.”
“Right men up on the wall we’ll head round the back and make sure to keep low Gius you can watch the horses.”
“You’re not getting killed I won’t allow it no keep your head down if you get into trouble improvise.”
Columba and the rest of his men kept low as they moved over to the nearest tower. The door was old and rotten it nearly fell of its rusting hinges when pushed. The went in and clambered up rather than climbed the stairs were crumbling as they moved up. They reached the top and broke out onto the wall. From here he could see the entire city. Fires were burning along the northern part of the city but in the south it seemed quiet where the Forum of Constantine was but otherwise it was impossible to tell what was going on. They moved on trying not to be seen knowing the responsibility they potentially held.

Konstantinos is not amused at the communist’s attempts at speaking.  He orders his men to shoot him in the wrists and knees just as he did to Leonardo while he reloads.

“Fool!  Do you really think I would listen to you?!  You communist!  You savages are the reason we are a failing Empire!  God abandoned me to the mob of peasants years ago, so why should I listen to Him now (though I still am a Christian when in a good mood and wish to purge all heretics and heathens living in the Empire once I ascend the throne)?  Especially now!  And my father…he and his own father are traitors, selling out the Empire to advance their own interests!  They must be punished!

I assure you, my ideas are quite popular.  Otherwise how could I have the mobs looting and pillaging at my command outside?”

Leonardo Favero crumpled to the ground.  The shots at his wrists had gone wide, as was apt to happen with pistols at such a range, but one of the shots at his knees had gone through the meat of his leg.  The wound wasn’t fatal and most likely wouldn’t cripple him, but he wouldn’t be walking from some time.  He did his best to cover the wound with fabric from his clothes and cursed silently to himself.

Konstantinos fails to reload his gun and throws it away.  “Stupid piece of metal!”  He thinks to himself, “You idiot, why did you go for the wrists of all places?!”
He looks over to where his father lay but instead sees nothing.  A trail of blood leads to an open window nearby.
“GUARDS!” he shouts, “Find my father and brother and bring their bodies to me!”

Alexios limped as far as he could from the carnage, blood trailing behind him.  He had to stop the bleeding or else Konstantinos’s men would find him quickly.
He found a fountain which had been partially wrecked by the explosion of a bomb nearby and plunged into it, trying to wash away as much of the blood as possible.  That done, he wrapped his chest with thick cloth torn from his robe to stop the bleeding.  It wasn’t much, but at least he was less likely to get an infection.  He imagined what his father had gone through during the 1854 Cult attack before he and the Lancers intervened.  Who would intervene for him now in his own situation?

Michael hid behind a corner as one of Konstantinos’s men approached to investigate a thrown rock.  As the large Spartan man rounded the corner, Michael sank a dagger into his chest and covered his mouth before breaking his neck quickly and silently.  Michael put on the guard’s clothes and took his weapons, a rifle, pistol, and sword.
Now he had to find Konstantinos and stop him.

After my small speech, Konstantinos signals his men, and I was shot twice, once in the right arm, once in the right leg. I collapse to the ground, sword clattering as it hits the elaborate marble of the floor. I inch myself back against the desks for the Socialists and Communists, supporting myself with my unhurt arm, and force myself onto my feet.

“All you have convinced me of, Konstantinos, is something I thought of once, long ago. Political power comes out of the barrel of a gun. History is nothing but stories of violence used to obtain power. I rejected this, in hope we of the Empire could do better. That we could learn from our mistakes. Have we not learned of the fallacy of things like The Year of Four Emperors? These squabbles for power do nothing but harm the Empire.

You dismiss me, because I am a Communist. You accuse me of being a savage, I would remind you of the true definition of that word: ‘fierce, violent, and uncontrolled.’ Who among us here most matches that description? I would not say myself.

You could kill me now, this is true, it will gain you nothing however, but one less bullet. The cause I have fought for, and indeed that millions of others’ do, will not be interrupted by my death.

I know you will try to kill me. Shoot, coward, you will only kill a man!”

Columba let go of the rope as he landed in the shadow of the walls behind Blachernae he was covered in his own bloodwhich had seeped through the makeshift bandages he was wearing. There were bigger things to worry about now however he could hear gunfire from the other side of the palace and it was getting louder.
“Are you alright Senator?” Columba looked round to see one of his guards looking at him worriedly.
“Yes I’m fine.” though he did not feel it but he couldn’t worry about that now he had to change the subject
“When we were climbing down I thought I saw to men slip out of the throne room”
“I saw them to your eminence I think they were senators”
“We need to find them friend or foe they could tell us what’s been happening in here. Right lets go. Keep your revolvers and rifles aside for now silent weapons only. If you need to shoot then shoot but only if you have to get it”
“Got it”
“Got it”
“Get it”
“Good. Right lets go” 60 men in kilts with guns, Claymores, shields and other weapons snuck into the palace wile up on the wall 10 watched the city both within and without them praying for reinforcements.

In the forum of Constantine Donal MacDonald rode forward to confront the seething crowd they were surrounded he knew men were stationed at every entrance and on the collonade reinforced now by some form the city guard who had come along with Varangains who were not to drunk to stand rifles and Gatling guns pointed at the crowd who he knew would be killed in their hundreds if they tried to stand. A silence fell over the crowed as they realised their situation.

“Listen to me all of you. I don’t know why you are gathered here and in such a fashion but as I’m sure you can see you are surrounded, outgunned and I’m sure you’ll all agree with me that it would not be in the best interests of any involved for hundreds of us to get killed for no reason.” Officers around the forum repeated his words for those who could not hear.
A man on a horse who appeared to be the leader of the crowed rode forwards his mouth twisted in a sneer that managed to show hate and contempt at the same time.
“We are here for a reason. To save the Empire!” the crowed behind roared in agreement.
“By getting yourselves killed?”
“By giving the Empire to those who know how to run it. By giving it to those who care about it we are the people of the Empire and we have made our voice heard!”
“Your choice? Since when did you choose who managed the Empire? Who gave you the right to do what God alone can do? To ordain who is to guard over our lands and ourselves.”
The crowd was conspicuously silent but here were no jeers or whistles. They were listening at least. When another man emerged from the crowds
“Yes and what has God’s choice done to defend us. Even as the English struggle through the swamps of the Amazon; even as the Africans scratch a meager living from the grit they call soil; even as the Germanic Barbarians brood in their forests; even as the Caledonians ponder life on their mountain tops; as the slaves freeze and then burn on the steppes of Ukraine and Siberia, as the Oriental wallow in their rice paddies, as the Arabs ride their camels through the desert and the Indians their elephants through the monsoons they are all plotting our destruction!”
The cheer from the crowd was loud but not as loud as it had been before.
“And this is how you would defend your Empire. By overthrowing the senate which has defended our rights since ancient times? By deposing the Empress who has for nearly 50 years now brought us peace and prosperity? Your method of defense would split our Empire in two and as we killed each other the world would watch, wait and when it was done they would turn on us like vultures and pick us clean! You would save the Empire by destroying it from within. After which it would be destroyed from without. If you want to defend the Empire then follow the Empress as we have all done. For many of us all our lives! Some of you may remember the dark days of old when the palace went silent and our Empire was leaderless. We were without guidance; without unity; without hope; and what happened? Our Empire drifted to the edge of collapse not though the conspiracies of foreign spies or kings. But because we ourselves were without a leader and without strength not in our bodies but in our souls! Do you want to return the Empire to those days? Because of you are you are certainly going the right way about it! Only this time it would be even worse as we would be not standing in the streets watching the palace for any sign of life or light within. But we would be burning that palace and killing each other as our enemies from outside descended upon our walls! Yu want to defend our Empire? Our nation? Our home? then stand with me; against the true traitors within this realm; Stand with the Senate who defend your rights to day as the Senate of old did so in the old city; stand with the Church which has brought us grace and salvation now for near 2 millennia; and most of all stand with the Empress; who is sworn to serve you; guide you and die if need be to protect you!”
A cheer rose from the crowd quiet and scattered at first but grew in size and confidence like wildfire until the square was full of it.
The traitor on his horse was visibly furious as were those who had gathered round him clearly the most loyal of the mad fire brands who had started this. They were armed to the teeth as well.
“You are a fool.” he spat at Donal.  “You’re all fools!” he shouted to the crowds “It is too late we have already won. We would not be here if it were not so.”
“You may have won I do not know but I have a duty. A duty to the Empire; a duty to the Empress and a duty to my commander and friend and so I shall stand against you. No matter what.”
“Even if it means your death it seems”
The traitor had a gun in his hand before Donal could blink all he could do was calmly draw his basket hilted claymore, a gift from his Irish mother and hold his foe’s gaze.
“To paraphrase a song my mother once sang to me: Tonight I man the bhearna bhaoil in the Empire’s cause come woe or weal, through cannons roar and rifles peal seo libh canaig amhrán na bhfiann!”
Without thinking Donal put his heels to his horse and charged the traitors who did the same. It was one man against at least twenty but he did not care he had a duty to fulfill and by God he would do it. Before he had gone a yard though a series of deafening cracks thundered around the forum and his would be opponents fell to the ground dead or soon to be dead. Donal looked arounf and behind him smoke surrounded several of the soldiers behind him and closest to him on the colonnade who were slipning another cartridge into their rifles and closing over the breaches even as he recovered form the shock.
“He looked over the crowd now standing silently watching him or the bodies on the ground between himself and the crowd.
“That’s enough blood for all of us for today. Now go home and let us forget this happened.”
Slowly the crowed shuffled and then in first ones and twos then larger groups began to cautiously apporach the solders blocking the exists.
“Let them through!” Donal shouted
Soon a trickle became a flood and the crowd was rapidly disappearing.
“Good show there sir. I speak for everyone when I say I enjoyed the speech.”
It was the voice of Constantine MacAlpine; his ADC and long time friend.
“I did what I had to do and it wasn’t that great somebody had to do something or it would have been an absolute blood bath.”
“So what now?”
Donal thought for a moment. The south of the city seemed secure but what about the north Columba would probably have not yet reached the palace but what about the patriarch and Hagia Sophia?
“Everyone on the West and North sides of the forum will follow me to the Blachernae. You take everyone else and head for Hagia Sophia.”
“At once” Constantine galloped off to make it so.
Donal surveyed the scene around him his eyes drawn to the corpses in front of him. Looked like the senator had been right. Sometimes you can’t avoid blood being spilled. Though, Donal thought, the senator would probably be relieved that it was not as bad as it could have been. He tuned his back on the grizzly scene and rode north for the palace. Both hoping and dreading about what he would find there.



I know that you, and not me, are the savage for two reasons.  First, as a communist you wish to overthrow the aristocracy and our ancestral privileges.  Second, as a Spaniard you are not a true Roman and as such are not entitled to citizenship.  Remember the last time we tried extending Romanitas to non-Romans?  Constitutio Antoniniana, issued by Emperor Caracalla in the year of our Lord 212 during the later days of the Old Empire, extended citizenship to all free men and women of the Old Empire.  Before that, one of the main ways of becoming an Imperial citizen was to enlist in the Imperial legions.  With this edict in place, the army became less attractive to young men, and recruitment dropped, allowing barbarians to rampage across the Rhine and Danube and end the Old Empire for good.  The same is happening today.  Citizenship is extended to most in the New Empire by birth ((what’s our citizenship policy?)), and our legions are being overwhelmed by the constant rebellions we are facing.  It is time we ended birthright citizenship and made service in the army the primary route to citizenship–at least for pure Roman men, the only people who count.
Savage…what an interesting word.  I am not a savage, as I am a Roman and therefore by definition am a civilized man.  The same cannot be said about you, Spaniard.  May I remind you of the original definition of the word ‘barbarian’ in response?  Barbarian: “that which does not speak Greek.” “One not a Greek.” “One living outside the pale of the Empire and its civilization, applied especially to the northern nations that overthrew the Old Empire (and may I remind you that one of the barbarian groups, the Visigoths, which sacked Rome eventually settled in Spain?).” “One outside the pale of Christian civilization.” Note that I am quoting from the most recent edition of the dictionary issued by the Imperial University of Constantinople.
No, I will not kill you, not now.  It is true that your death would not mean much to me.  However, I can give you a fate worse than death for calling me a ‘coward’ as an example to the rest of what happens should you not join me…

Konstantinos shoots Theodosio in the neck with his second revolver, severing his spinal cord but leaving him alive.

Alexios stumbled through the hallways of Blachernae, past the bodies of mutilated and violated servants and the desecrated paintings on the walls.  He needed a weapon, something to defend himself with…
There was a shout from behind him, and he turned to see one of Konstantinos’s men pointing a pistol at his head.
Alexios dived behind a table as the gun went off, the shot going wide and tearing through the wall behind Alexios.  The senator remembered his time in the Lancers.  He put all of his weight behind the table and charged, ramming the table straight into the traitor’s chest.  One punch and kick and the man was down.  Alexios took the revolver and dagger on the soldier and limped away.
Now to find a telephone or telegram to call for help…

He found the Imperial Communications office strangely untouched but abandoned.  He made his way to the nearest working telegraph (as he did not know how to use the telephone) and typed out a message to any Imperial military bases he knew.
He waited for five long minutes.  Then a response came:
Now he had to hold out until the airship arrived.

Michael continued to sneak around the palace.  He found two guards standing sentry in front of a doorway and decided to investigate.
He walked up to them and said, “Excuse me, what are you doing?  Konstantinos will not appreciate you idleness.”
“Comrade, inside are the hostages,” replied a guard.
“What hostages?”
“You don’t know?  The Patriarch and the Empress’s husband and children and relatives are all in there.  We intend to execute them all once this is all over.”
“Oh, right, all of this killing was getting to my head.” Michael laughed, somewhat nervously.  “Well, good luck holding them!”
He left the guards and walked away, thinking about how he would break out the hostages.

((From the journal of General Ioannes of the Athenian Lancers))
I must have been asleep, for certainly if I had been fully awake I must have noticed the approach of such a remarkable place. In the gloom the courtyard looked of considerable size, and as several dark ways led from it under great round arches, it perhaps seemed bigger than it really is. I have not yet been able to see it by daylight.  And I was completely alone; my men were nowhere to be seen.  The driver assured me that the Lancers were off investigating a peculiar occurrence in a nearby village.
When the caleche stopped, the driver jumped down and held out his hand to assist me to alight. Again I could not but notice his prodigious strength. His hand actually seemed like a steel vice that could have crushed mine if he had chosen. Then he took my traps, and placed them on the ground beside me as I stood close to a great door, old and studded with large iron nails, and set in a projecting doorway of massive stone. I could see even in the dim light that the stone was massively carved, but that the carving had been much worn by time and weather. As I stood, the driver jumped again into his seat and shook the reins. The horses started forward, and trap and all disappeared down one of the dark openings.
I stood in silence where I was, for I did not know what to do. Of bell or knocker there was no sign. Through these frowning walls and dark window openings it was not likely that my voice could penetrate. The time I waited seemed endless, and I felt doubts and fears crowding upon me. What sort of place had I come to, and among what kind of people? What sort of grim adventure was it on which I had embarked? Was this a customary incident in the life of an Imperial soldier?  Mara would not like that. Soldier, for just before leaving Constantinople I got word that my promotion was successful, and I am now a full-blown member of the General Staff (of course, I would be promoted after I returned from this mission)! I began to rub my eyes and pinch myself to see if I were awake. It all seemed like a horrible nightmare to me, and I expected that I should suddenly awake, and find myself at home, with the dawn struggling in through the windows, as I had now and again felt in the morning after a day of overwork. But my flesh answered the pinching test, and my eyes were not to be deceived. I was indeed awake and among the Carpathians. All I could do now was to be patient, and to wait the coming of morning.
Just as I had come to this conclusion I heard a heavy step approaching behind the great door, and saw through the chinks the gleam of a coming light. Then there was the sound of rattling chains and the clanking of massive bolts drawn back. A key was turned with the loud grating noise of long disuse, and the great door swung back.
Within, stood a tall old man, clean shaven save for a long white moustache, and clad in black from head to foot, without a single speck of colour about him anywhere. He held in his hand an antique silver lamp, in which the flame burned without a chimney or globe of any kind, throwing long quivering shadows as it flickered in the draught of the open door. The old man motioned me in with his right hand with a courtly gesture, saying in excellent Greek, but with a strange intonation.
“Welcome to my house! Enter freely and of your own free will!” He made no motion of stepping to meet me, but stood like a statue, as though his gesture of welcome had fixed him into stone. The instant, however, that I had stepped over the threshold, he moved impulsively forward, and holding out his hand grasped mine with a strength which made me wince, an effect which was not lessened by the fact that it seemed cold as ice, more like the hand of a dead than a living man. Again he said.
“Welcome to my house! Enter freely. Go safely, and leave something of the happiness you bring!” The strength of the handshake was so much akin to that which I had noticed in the driver, whose face I had not seen, that for a moment I doubted if it were not the same person to whom I was speaking. So to make sure, I said interrogatively, “Count Dracula?”
He bowed in a courtly was as he replied, “I am Dracula, and I bid you welcome, Mr. Dalassenos, to my house. Come in, the night air is chill, and you must need to eat and rest.”As he was speaking, he put the lamp on a bracket on the wall, and stepping out, took my luggage. He had carried it in before I could forestall him. I protested, but he insisted.
“Nay, sir, you are my guest. It is late, and my people are not available. Let me see to your comfort myself.”He insisted on carrying my traps along the passage, and then up a great winding stair, and along another great passage, on whose stone floor our steps rang heavily. At the end of this he threw open a heavy door, and I rejoiced to see within a well-lit room in which a table was spread for supper, and on whose mighty hearth a great fire of logs, freshly replenished, flamed and flared.
The Count halted, putting down my bags, closed the door, and crossing the room, opened another door, which led into a small octagonal room lit by a single lamp, and seemingly without a window of any sort. Passing through this, he opened another door, and motioned me to enter. It was a welcome sight. For here was a great bedroom well lighted and warmed with another log fire, also added to but lately, for the top logs were fresh, which sent a hollow roar up the wide chimney. The Count himself left my luggage inside and withdrew, saying, before he closed the door.
“You will need, after your journey, to refresh yourself by making your toilet. I trust you will find all you wish. When you are ready, come into the other room, where you will find your supper prepared.”
The light and warmth and the Count’s courteous welcome seemed to have dissipated all my doubts and fears. Having then reached my normal state, I discovered that I was half famished with hunger. So making a hasty toilet, I went into the other room.
I found supper already laid out. My host, who stood on one side of the great fireplace, leaning against the stonework, made a graceful wave of his hand to the table, and said,
“I pray you, be seated and sup how you please. You will I trust, excuse me that I do not join you, but I have dined already, and I do not sup.”
I handed to him the sealed letter which the General Staff. He opened it and read it gravely. Then, with a charming smile, he handed it to me to read. One passage of it, at least, gave me a thrill of pleasure.
“I must regret that an attack of gout, from which malady I am a constant sufferer, forbids absolutely any travelling on my part for some time to come. But I am happy to say I can send a sufficient substitute, one in whom I have every possible confidence. He is an experienced man, full of energy and talent in his own way, and of a very faithful disposition. He is discreet and silent, and has grown into manhood in my service. He shall be ready to attend on you when you will during his stay, and shall take your instructions in all matters.  He shall be able to sort out the business involving the Cult of Chernobog.”
The count himself came forward and took off the cover of a dish, and I fell to at once on an excellent roast chicken. This, with some cheese and a salad and a bottle of old tokay, of which I had two glasses, was my supper. During the time I was eating it the Count asked me many question as to my journey, and I told him by degrees all I had experienced.
By this time I had finished my supper, and by my host’s desire had drawn up a chair by the fire and begun to smoke a cigar which he offered me, at the same time excusing himself that he did not smoke. I had now an opportunity of observing him, and found him of a very marked physiognomy.
His face was a strong, a very strong, aquiline, with high bridge of the thin nose and peculiarly arched nostrils, with lofty domed forehead, and hair growing scantily round the temples but profusely elsewhere. His eyebrows were very massive, almost meeting over the nose, and with bushy hair that seemed to curl in its own profusion. The mouth, so far as I could see it under the heavy moustache, was fixed and rather cruel-looking, with peculiarly sharp white teeth. These protruded over the lips, whose remarkable ruddiness showed astonishing vitality in a man of his years. For the rest, his ears were pale, and at the tops extremely pointed. The chin was broad and strong, and the cheeks firm though thin. The general effect was one of extraordinary pallor.
Hitherto I had noticed the backs of his hands as they lay on his knees in the firelight, and they had seemed rather white and fine. But seeing them now close to me, I could not but notice that they were rather coarse, broad, with squat fingers. Strange to say, there were hairs in the centre of the palm. The nails were long and fine, and cut to a sharp point. As the Count leaned over me and his hands touched me, I could not repress a shudder. It may have been that his breath was rank, but a horrible feeling of nausea came over me, which, do what I would, I could not conceal.
The Count, evidently noticing it, drew back. And with a grim sort of smile, which showed more than he had yet done his protruberant teeth, sat himself down again on his own side of the fireplace. We were both silent for a while, and as I looked towards the window I saw the first dim streak of the coming dawn. There seemed a strange stillness over everything. But as I listened, I heard as if from down below in the valley the howling of many wolves. The Count’s eyes gleamed, and he said.
“Listen to them, the children of the night. What music they make!” Seeing, I suppose, some expression in my face strange to him, he added,”Ah, sir, you dwellers in the city cannot enter into the feelings of the hunter.” Then he rose and said.
“But you must be tired. Your bedroom is all ready, and tomorrow you shall sleep as late as you will. I have to be away till the afternoon, so sleep well and dream well!” With a courteous bow, he opened for me himself the door to the octagonal room, and I entered my bedroom.
I am all in a sea of wonders. I doubt. I fear. I think strange things, which I dare not confess to my own soul. God keep me, if only for the sake of those dear to me!

The next day…
It is again early morning, but I have rested and enjoyed the last twenty-four hours. I slept till late in the day, and awoke of my own accord. When I had dressed myself I went into the room where we had supped, and found a cold breakfast laid out, with coffee kept hot by the pot being placed on the hearth. There was a card on the table, on which was written–

I have to be absent for a while. Do not wait for me.

I set to and enjoyed a hearty meal. When I had done, I looked for a bell, so that I might let the servants know I had finished, but I could not find one. There are certainly odd deficiencies in the house, considering the extraordinary evidences of wealth which are round me. The table service is of gold, and so beautifully wrought that it must be of immense value. The curtains and upholstery of the chairs and sofas and the hangings of my bed are of the costliest and most beautiful fabrics, and must have been of fabulous value when they were made, for they are centuries old, though in excellent order. I saw something like them in Vienna, but they were worn and frayed and moth-eaten. But still in none of the rooms is there a mirror. There is not even a toilet glass on my table, and I had to get the little shaving glass from my bag before I could either shave or brush my hair. I have not yet seen a servant anywhere, or heard a sound near the castle except the howling of wolves. Some time after I had finished my meal, I do not know whether to call it breakfast of dinner, for it was between five and six o’clock when I had it, I looked about for something to read, for I did not like to go about the castle until I had asked the Count’s permission. There was absolutely nothing in the room, book, newspaper, or even writing materials, so I opened another door in the room and found a sort of library. The door opposite mine I tried, but found locked.
In the library I found, to my great delight, a vast number of Greek books, whole shelves full of them, and bound volumes of magazines and newspapers. A table in the center was littered with Greek magazines and newspapers, though none of them were of very recent date. The books were of the most varied kind, history, geography, politics, political economy, botany, geology, law, all relating to the Empire and Imperial life and customs and manners. There were even such books of reference as the Constaninople Directory, the “Green” and “Blue” books, Phokas’s Almanac, the Army and Navy Lists, and it somehow gladdened my heart to see it, the Law List.
Whilst I was looking at the books, the door opened, and the Count entered. He saluted me in a hearty way, and hoped that I had had a good night’s rest. Then he went on.
“I am glad you found your way in here, for I am sure there is much that will interest you. These companions,” and he laid his hand on some of the books, “have been good friends to me, and for some years past, ever since I had the idea of going to Constantinople, have given me many, many hours of pleasure. Through them I have come to know your great Empire, and to know her is to love her. I long to go through the crowded streets of your mighty Constantinople, to be in the midst of the whirl and rush of humanity, to share its life, its change, its death, and all that makes it what it is. But alas! As yet I only know your tongue through books. To you, my friend, I look that I know it to speak.”
“But, Count,” I said, “You know and speak Greek thoroughly!” He bowed gravely.
“I thank you, my friend, for your all too-flattering estimate, but yet I fear that I am but a little way on the road I would travel. True, I know the grammar and the words, but yet I know not how to speak them.
“Indeed,” I said, “You speak excellently.”
“Not so,” he answered. “Well, I know that, did I move and speak in your Constantinople, none there are who would not know me for a stranger. That is not enough for me. Here I am noble. I am a Boyar. The common people know me, and I am master. But a stranger in a strange land, he is no one. Men know him not, and to know not is to care not for. I am content if I am like the rest, so that no man stops if he sees me, or pauses in his speaking if he hears my words, `Ha, ha! A stranger!’ I have been so long master that I would be master still, or at least that none other should be master of me. You shall, I trust, rest here with me a while, so that by our talking I may learn the Imperial intonation. And I would that you tell me when I make error, even of the smallest, in my speaking. I am sorry that I had to be away so long today, but you will, I know forgive one who has so many important affairs in hand.” Of course I said all I could about being willing, and asked if I might come into that room when I chose. He answered, “Yes, certainly,” and added.
“You may go anywhere you wish in the castle, except where the doors are locked, where of course you will not wish to go. There is reason that all things are as they are, and did you see with my eyes and know with my knowledge, you would perhaps better understand.” I said I was sure of this, and then he went on.
“We are in Transylvania, and Transylvania is not the Empire. Our ways are not your ways, and there shall be to you many strange things. Nay, from what you have told me of your experiences already, you know something of what strange things there may be.”
This led to much conversation, and as it was evident that he wanted to talk, if only for talking’s sake, I asked him many questions regarding things that had already happened to me or come within my notice. Sometimes he sheered off the subject, or turned the conversation by pretending not to understand, but generally he answered all I asked most frankly. Then as time went on, and I had got somewhat bolder, I asked him of some of the strange things of the preceding night, as for instance, why the coachman went to the places where he had seen the blue flames. He then explained to me that it was commonly believed that on a certain night of the year, last night, in fact, when all evil spirits are supposed to have unchecked sway, a blue flame is seen over any place where treasure has been concealed.
“That treasure has been hidden,” he went on, “in the region through which you came last night, there can be but little doubt. For it was the ground fought over for centuries by the Wallachian, the Saxon, and the Imperial. Why, there is hardly a foot of soil in all this region that has not been enriched by the blood of men, patriots or invaders. In the old days there were stirring times, when the Austrian and the Hungarian came up in hordes, and the patriots went out to meet them, men and women, the aged and the children too, and waited their coming on the rocks above the passes, that they might sweep destruction on them with their artificial avalanches. When the invader was triumphant he found but little, for whatever there was had been sheltered in the friendly soil.”
“But how,” said I, “can it have remained so long undiscovered, when there is a sure index to it if men will but take the trouble to look? “The Count smiled, and as his lips ran back over his gums, the long, sharp, canine teeth showed out strangely. He answered.
“Because your peasant is at heart a coward and a fool! Those flames only appear on one night, and on that night no man of this land will, if he can help it, stir without his doors. And, dear sir, even if he did he would not know what to do. Why, even the peasant that you tell me of who marked the place of the flame would not know where to look in daylight even for his own work. Even you would not, I dare be sworn, be able to find these places again?”
“There you are right,” I said. “I know no more than the dead where even to look for them.” Then we drifted into other matters.
“Come,” he said at last, “tell me of London and of the house which you have procured for me.” With an apology for my remissness, I went into my own room to get the papers from my bag. Whilst I was placing them in order I heard a rattling of china and silver in the next room, and as I passed through, noticed that the table had been cleared and the lamp lit, for it was by this time deep into the dark. The lamps were also lit in the study or library, and I found the Count lying on the sofa, reading, of all things in the world, a Greek Kyrillos’s Guide. When I came in he cleared the books and papers from the table, and with him I went into plans and deeds and figures of all sorts. He was interested in everything, and asked me a myriad questions about the place and its surroundings. He clearly had studied beforehand all he could get on the subject of the neighborhood, for he evidently at the end knew very much more than I did. When I remarked this, he answered.
We went thoroughly into the business of the Cult. I asked him questions regarding pagan Slavs who performed human sacrifice.  He informed me that he was a true Christian and would never work with such barbarians.  After all, he said, he was a boyar, and he did not work with such savages.  However, through all of this interrogating I felt as if he was hiding something…
Presently, with an excuse, he left me, asking me to pull my papers together. He was some little time away, and I began to look at some of the books around me. One was an atlas, which I found opened naturally to the Empire, as if that map had been much used. On looking at it I found in certain places little rings marked, and on examining these I noticed that one was near Constantinople near Blachernae. The other two were the Hagia Sophia and the Senate building.
It was the better part of an hour when the Count returned. “Aha!” he said. “Still at your books? Good! But you must not work always. Come! I am informed that your supper is ready.” He took my arm, and we went into the next room, where I found an excellent supper ready on the table. The Count again excused himself, as he had dined out on his being away from home. But he sat as on the previous night, and chatted whilst I ate. After supper I smoked, as on the last evening, and the Count stayed with me, chatting and asking questions on every conceivable subject, hour after hour. I felt that it was getting very late indeed, but I did not say anything, for I felt under obligation to meet my host’s wishes in every way. I was not sleepy, as the long sleep yesterday had fortified me, but I could not help experiencing that chill which comes over one at the coming of the dawn, which is like, in its way, the turn of the tide. They say that people who are near death die generally at the change to dawn or at the turn of the tide. Anyone who has when tired, and tied as it were to his post, experienced this change in the atmosphere can well believe it. All at once we heard the crow of the cock coming up with preternatural shrillness through the clear morning air.
Count Dracula, jumping to his feet, said, “Why there is the morning again! How remiss I am to let you stay up so long. I may not forget how time flies by us,” and with a courtly bow, he quickly left me.
I went into my room and drew the curtains, but there was little to notice. My window opened into the courtyard, all I could see was the warm grey of quickening sky. So I pulled the curtains again, and have written of this day.

The next day.

–I began to fear as I wrote in this book that I was getting too diffuse. But now I am glad that I went into detail from the first, for there is something so strange about this place and all in it that I cannot but feel uneasy. I wish I were safe out of it, or that I had never come. It may be that this strange night existence is telling on me, but would that that were all! If there were any one to talk to I could bear it, but there is no one. I have only the Count to speak with, and he– I fear I am myself the only living soul within the place. Let me be prosaiac so far as facts can be. It will help me to bear up, and imagination must not run riot with me. If it does I am lost. Let me say at once how I stand, or seem to.
I only slept a few hours when I went to bed, and feeling that I could not sleep any more, got up. I had hung my shaving glass by the window, and was just beginning to shave. Suddenly I felt a hand on my shoulder, and heard the Count’s voice saying to me, “Good morning.” I started, for it amazed me that I had not seen him, since the reflection of the glass covered the whole room behind me. In starting I had cut myself slightly, but did not notice it at the moment. Having answered the Count’s salutation, I turned to the glass again to see how I had been mistaken. This time there could be no error, for the man was close to me, and I could see him over my shoulder. But there was no reflection of him in the mirror! The whole room behind me was displayed, but there was no sign of a man in it, except myself.
This was startling, and coming on the top of so many strange things, was beginning to increase that vague feeling of uneasiness which I always have when the Count is near. But at the instant I saw that the cut had bled a little, and the blood was trickling over my chin. I laid down the razor, turning as I did so half round to look for some sticking plaster. When the Count saw my face, his eyes blazed with a sort of demoniac fury, and he suddenly made a grab at my throat. I drew away and his hand touched the string of beads which held the crucifix. It made an instant change in him, for the fury passed so quickly that I could hardly believe that it was ever there.
“Take care,” he said, “take care how you cut yourself. It is more dangerous that you think in this country.” Then seizing the shaving glass, he went on, “And this is the wretched thing that has done the mischief. It is a foul bauble of man’s vanity. Away with it!” And opening the window with one wrench of his terrible hand, he flung out the glass, which was shattered into a thousand pieces on the stones of the courtyard far below. Then he withdrew without a word. It is very annoying, for I do not see how I am to shave, unless in my watch-case or the bottom of the shaving pot, which is fortunately of metal.
When I went into the dining room, breakfast was prepared, but I could not find the Count anywhere. So I breakfasted alone. It is strange that as yet I have not seen the Count eat or drink. He must be a very peculiar man! After breakfast I did a little exploring in the castle. I went out on the stairs, and found a room looking towards the South.
The view was magnificent, and from where I stood there was every opportunity of seeing it. The castle is on the very edge of a terrific precipice. A stone falling from the window would fall a thousand feet without touching anything! As far as the eye can reach is a sea of green tree tops, with occasionally a deep rift where there is a chasm. Here and there are silver threads where the rivers wind in deep gorges through the forests.
But I am not in heart to describe beauty, for when I had seen the view I explored further. Doors, doors, doors everywhere, and all locked and bolted. In no place save from the windows in the castle walls is there an available exit. The castle is a veritable prison, and I am a prisoner!
I can only hope my fellow Lancers can find me before something happens to me.

Ambrosio stared in shock at the corpse of his dead father and the body of the paralyzed socialist. He had came unarmed, not expecting a revolution. He heard bursts of gunfire happening outside Blachernae, he knew that the troops he had brought along were in deep trouble. He did not dare to speak as the lunatic reactionary pretender had already killed his father when his father shouted at the pretender for being a false emperor. Diederick looked very wary and had his hand in his pocket. Could it be that his younger brother had brought a weapon to the Senate meeting?

Senator Columba and his guard were slowly working their way through the labyrinthine servants passages of the palace covered with dirt, sweat, tears and blood that may or may not have been theirs. So far those they had come across they had been able to silence with sword or knife but as they moved onward the same question was on everyone’s mind: How long before they had to shoot? With their rifles it would be hard to miss in the halls of the palace and their revolvers were quicker though less accurate  but ammunition for both was low the hadn’t planned on a fight when they had first left Retia for the city and after that everything had happened so quickly nobody had remembered to bring extra cartridges though they had been able to pick up odiments of armour fromm old wall displays that though were undoubtedly antique were better than the long kilts and bunnets (bonnets) they were wearing. They moved through a doorway and into a hallway they had left the servants passages but where exactly were they?
“Looks clear sir there’s an arch with steps just across the hall to the left.”
“Alright quickly men on 3; 1…2…3!”
They ran across the hall and through the arch.
“Everyone here?”
“Yes sir.”
“Right lets go and keep low”
They climbed the stairs moving closer to the ground as the reached the top till they were sliding across the ground. They reached the top where the arch opened onto a courtyard surrounded by a cloister which protruded from the larger buildings around it and was filled with dust from and rubble from what he had to assume was a bomb. It must have been how the man in the courtyard had managed to safely climb down from an open window above them. Henry-Martini rifles in had the guards slowly moved up until they lined the top of the stairs; slowly they moved forward eyes scanning the surrounding walls for any hint of movement. Taking a chance Columba  dropped his rifle and darted over to the fountain only to find old Alexios Doukas lying by the fountain. He seemed to recall the senator had been in a similiar situation just over 30 years ago now. Columba hadn’t event been born then but he had always held Alexios in high regard for his actions back then. Now it seemed the burden lay with him this time round.
Neither daring to raise their voice above a whisper
“It’s me Columba what’s happening? Where is everyone? Where are we?” by this time his men had gathered in the courtyard and were checking windows and doors trying to look for a quiet way out
“Slow down man and let me speak”
“That open window is the great hall where my son and his followers are holding the Empress and Senate hostage.”
“How many men did they have?”
“You can see from the Windows.”
“Right we’ll get you patched up best we can and then get moving”
“O’Donnell get over hear.”
“What can you do for him?”
“I managed to grab a first aid kit somewhere along the line. It’s basic but better than nothing.”
“Get to it we won’t be here long”
“McKechnie, MacKenzie get up on the cloister see those window take a peak but make sure your not seen”
“Right you are sir.”
“On it”
“Wilson find a door that isn’t locked that might lead to the hall quickly”
“Right you are sir. Uhm if you don’t mind sir, I was rather wondering if I could take Fairfax and Carstairs along with me you haven’t happened to have seen them have you?”
“No I haven’t. where are the?”
“Shhh keep it down you two!”
Fairfax and Carstairs were two of the few English people in the group and where decent chaps as they would say with rather magnificent moustaches but their posh Fighter-command style accents were unbearable
“Ohh terribly sorry old chap.”
“Didn’t mean anything by it old bean.”
“Aye,aye well Wilson wants you two so get to it.”
“Right you are!”
“Abslolutely spiffing idea”
“Keep it down(!)”
Wilson and the trouser clad tits walked off to find a suitable means of egress.
“O’Donnell how are you doing?”
“Just a while longer”
“We don’t have a while. When we move off I’ll get MacIntosh, MacGuffin and Dingwall to stay behind.”
He handed a revolver to Alexios”
“Here you go I hope you don’t have to use it but you might have to.”
“Thank you and be careful”
“You’ll pull through you did last time.”
“It was not my son I was fighting last time”
“No it wasn’t.”
“Uhm excuse me sir but I believe I may have found a suitable exit.”
“Excellent Wilson let’s get going. McKechnie, MacKenzie you two, MacDuff, and O’Neil stay behind and watch the windows but keep your heads down if we come though the doors feel free to shoot but watch who your shooting.”
“Aye sir.”
“Right let’s go.”

The senator and his remaining guardsmen set off back into the palace leaving 8 of their comrades and an injured Senator behind.

“Bring the hostages before me!” Konstantinos ordered.
Some soldiers entered the room, dragging the various members of the royal family as well as the Ecumenical Patriarch into the room.  Some gasps and murmurs from the senators were heard.
“You see, false Empress, I will decide the fates of your husband, children, and religious head.  I shall show mercy and spare them should you give up the throne to me,” said Konstantinos, “Otherwise…well, you all know by this point what I’m going to do.  Senators, I will also be giving you one last chance; join me, or die.”
When no senator stepped forward to defect, the Empress said, “You underestimate the power of the Senate.  They are utterly loyal to Us.  We shall never give up the throne, especially to madmen like you.  May you rot in Hell or any afterlife you believe in for eternity, traitor of the Empire.”
Konstantinos pretended not to hear the Empress’s words.  “Very well, then.  Guards…”
He motioned to his guards.  The soldiers raised their rifles and aimed at the hostages’ heads…

All of a sudden, there was the sound of whirling blades in the air.  Throwing knives materialized out of nowhere and embedded themselves in the chests of the soldiers, who all went down quickly.  Black-clad assassins emerged from the windows, ceiling, and basically every unexpected location for someone to enter by and descended on the soldiers silently and swiftly.
“Nobody kills the Patriarch or Empress but the Cult!” shouted a Slavic-looking man with an eyepatch as he kicked open the main doors and drew a long sword of Russian size.
Konstantinos’s eyes widened.  “YOU?!  THE CULT?!” he screamed.
Then he regained his calmness.  “Excellent, my mortal enemy has arrived.  Time to die, Iosef Ignatieff, heathen scum!”
Konstantinos drew his own sword and lunged at the Cult leader.


Michael hid behind a corner as he heard footsteps approach.  As the enemies rounded the corner, he lunged with his dagger at…Alexios?
He barely stopped himself from slashing open his father’s throat.  Alexios and the men accompanying him were equally shocked.
They embraced each other.  “Thank heavens you’re alive!” both of them said.
Alexios explained to Michael how backup was arriving soon in the form of the airship La France, while Michael explained how Konstantinos was holding the royal family and the Patriarch hostage.
Together they worked out a plan to take down Konstantinos…

Columba and his men were sneaking through the palace trying to be quiet but their footsteps seemed to echo unbearably loud around the wide halls.
“Your eminence I think I saw movement.”
“In the corridor parallel to us. Off to the left.”
“Right then. Everyone ready. We’ll jump them at the next junction we need to be quick here so on my mark: GO!”
They ran along the hall around the next corner to find themselves face to face with.
“Don’t shoot! Lefebvre you’re a sight for sore eyes how did you get in here”
Marcel Lefebvre was the commander of the Senator’s Swiss Guard company and a die-hard traditionalist and loyalist to the Empire
“We heard your summons and ran like the wind we reached the city walls at the north end. Believe it or not not one person was watching the gates or that side of the palace they were, and last I heard still are, on the other side and things are starting to get bloody out there.”
“You think so?”
“We heard gunfire just as we came into the palace so I think it’s safe to say things are getting bloody.”
“Did you bring anyone else?”
“Just my own company the others are outside keeping out of sight for now.”
“Good, they might be needed. The uniform’s a bit conspicuous”
“We didn’t have time to change. We came here expecting a birthday parade not a civil war. When we heard we dropped everything and ran but this is worse than we imagined.”
“You and me both pal.”
Marcel tried to grab the senator and throw him aside but before he could Columba had done the same to him. He turned round face to face with one of Konstantinos’ traitors mere yards away but before anyone could blink he went down only to be replaced my two men in black who turned their guns on the senator. Both men went down in a hail of lead but not before they had managed to get a shot of each one of which hit Columba in his left had. It went straight through his wrist and the center boss on his shield before clattering off the ceremonial helmet of one of the Swiss Guards. It was all over in the blink of and eye.
Everyone was staring at the corpses in disbelief.
“The cult here?” said one of the guards
“Either something bigger than we imagined is going on. Or Konstantinos and these savages who bring insult to the word “barbarian” just so happened to revolt on the same day. Let us pray it is the latter and they ave been doing us the favor of killing each other.”
“Look Out!”
One of the cultists was not dead yet. He raised his gun but all he got for his trouble was another overdose of .303 lead cure-alls. His gun fired though and the bullet ricochet off the ceiling and into Columba’s foot this time.
“AAACH Jings, criven, help me bob!” The senator hopping up and down on one leg in a manner most unbecoming of a senator
“Pardon me for asking senator” It was Marcel picking himself up off the floor and dusting himself down “but which of us exactly is meant to be the bodyguard here?”
“You’re quite right Marcel. Stupid of me but if anyone has any bandages I need them now.”
“It doesn’t look to serious those were small caliber rounds and the missed the main blood vessels.”
The guard spent the next several minutes wrapping bandages and other not so bandagey looking materials around Columba’s wrist and foot
“Right that ought to do for now. Can you walk senator.”
“I can limp”
Marcel stepped forward “Best to be hoped for given the circumstances. Now if you don’t mind we need to move”
“Quite right commander let’s go men.”
Columba moved forward as dignified and upright as it was possible for a man in his position to be.
Only to slip in the blood of the traitors and land face first in it.
“I’m alright!” he said now covered completely in blood. “But somebody do something about those bodies they’re a serious trip hazard”
A few minuets later the motley group set off again. keeping clear of the patch of floor that was stained red and had a “Danger wet floor” sign in the middle of it swords, armour and guns resplendent in the light coming through the high windows. Led by a limping blood drenched man using a Swiss halberd for a walking stick. The moved quickly now making no attempt at stealth. The entire palace would have heard those gun shots, the throne room was only a few more turns away and with more than 150 men it would be hard for anyone to overpower them now.
“It looks as though the traitors have indeed been killing each other.” Marcel announced to no one in particular.
“That means less for us to kill” was the senators reply “but we get the glory all the same!” he shouted to these behind him and was met by a loud cheer no one hard the conclusion he muttered to himself. “or shame, depending on how this turns out.”

The fabric Leonardo had used to cover his wound was soaked red and continued to bleed.  He tried to keep pressure on it, but his hands were starting to feel cold and numb.  Just looking at all the blood made him dizzy.  He usually didn’t faint at such a sight, and perhaps it wasn’t the sight at all.  He could be lightheaded from the loss of blood.  And was the room moving too?  How strange.

The chaos going on in the room was a hazy blur.  People screaming about coups, cults, and communism just gave Leonardo a booming headache.  Why was this happening?  Why was any of this happening?  Rome was the greatest empire on Earth and had proven such from its domination of the world for centuries.  Yet despite that, people kept trying to tear it down from within.  Why could no one be content with all that the Empire and Empress had given them?  The Empress could spoonfeed them with a silver spoon and they’d still demand more.

Sudden clarity hit Leonardo like the headache plaguing his brain.  There would never be an end to this madness, not while the Empire continued on its current path.  No matter how much wealth and prosperity the Empire provided its people, they would always demand more.  More rights, more freedom, and ultimately as a result, more bloodshed.  The people of this world were greedy.  They all wanted to be emperors and empresses, to live in splendour and decide the fate of the world.  An empire ruled by self-indulged peasants who envisioned themselves as professional statesmen was doomed to fall.  If their desires were indulged, even in the slightest, they would push for more until their greed drove the Empire to its knees.  They could never be trusted to put the needs of the Empire first.  Only the Empress and her predecessors had proven their ability to rule.  Only under the Empress’s guidance could the Empire truly flourish.  If the people succeeded in siphoning away her power to fulfill their near-sighted wants and needs, the Empire would be doomed.  The only solution was to keep them from ever doing that.  The people had to be kept down for their own good so that those most qualified to govern could provide everything for them.  The people would not like it, but if they wanted food to eat and a place to sleep at night, they’d have to accept it.  The Empire, no the entire world, would be better off this way.  Leonardo was sure of it.

What Leonardo was also sure of was that he was losing a lot of blood.  He took one last look at his wounded leg and passed out.

((Morning of the Imperial Coup))
Magnus and Jensen await quietly in a office overlooking the Bosporus, Magnus sipping from a glass of orange juice and Jensen reading his book.
Jensen glanced over to Magnus, who was fixated on some random object, something he did often when he was nervous.
Jensen sighs and says:
“Sir, you must stop worrying, we’ve done everything you needed.”
“I always worry, if its not fool-proof, it can go wrong. Its was the one aspect I got from father.”
“Sir, you have the control of Oceania, you can’t ask for more and you certainly full-filled your part of the plan.”
“I suppose your right.”
They continued to sit in silence while Magnus shifted his focus to his yacht being prepared by some sailors.
His view was suddenly blocked by a man holding a thick package firmly in his grasp.
He uttered: “Magnus.”
Magnus’ face lit up with joy, while jumping out of his chair he exclaimed: “Kol!”
Jensen quietly closed his book while Kol and Magnus shook hands and casually walked up to them.
They noticed Jensen and calmed down instantly.
“Right then, Kol, these are from Paris?”
“I always finish my contracts.”
“Then we’re set.”
Magnus pats Kol on the shoulder and all three of them leave the office and start to approach the yacht.
One sailor notices the group approaching and whistles loudly, getting the attention of all the other sailors who also stopped working as they all met up at the dock.
The sailors formed a solid wall of people preventing the group from going on the yacht.
“We ain’t no gentleman, we are Romans, unlike you all.”
“Excuse me?”
“You aren’t going any where ‘Senator’, you barbarians can’t tell real Romans, like us. You foreigners are the reason all of me family is out of a job, given power by a weak Empress that probably gets off to you Germans”
“Oh my” said Jensen under his breath.
“Konstantinos is a real Roman and he’ll bring us a great purge and make Rome great again!
Murmurs of agreement come from his sailor followers.
Magnus slowly backed away from the sailors as their leader turned around to inspire his sailors further.
As the leader of the sailors turned back he noticed that Magnus and his entourage had grown from 3 to 30 and about 27 had revolvers aimed at the soldiers.
“I tire of this Anders.”
Suddenly the raging sailor’s head explodes and is distributed over the faces of the sailors behind him as Anders quickly rotates the chamber to a new round.
“I GREATLY tire of this Anders.”
Suddenly the sailors start to be riddled with bullets from the 27 men, falling each and every way into the water and on the deck, until each sailor laid dead.
“Satisfied sir?”
“Very much, now come along”
Magnus turns and gazes Blachernae and then the Senate Bulding and noticed smoke approaching both.
“Here comes the winds of change, may you all survive the storm.”
“Come sir, everything is set for Alexandria.”
“Good, good” said Magnus

((Throne Room))

“HAHAHAHAHAHA!” laughed Markos Angelos, Konstantinos’s right-hand-man, as he lounged on the the throne, “For too long have my family been cast aside as failures by the other Angeloi!  Now we are masters of the Empire, and the Angeloi–the true Angeloi–will save the Empire after the purging is finished!  The Angeloi protect!  Yeah, that’s going to be my motto.  And people will recognize my saintly actions soon, and refer to me as Saint Markos!  Yeah, Saint Markos!  That sounds like an awesome name!”


Konstantinos was so focused on killing Ignatieff that he didn’t notice he had left the Senate room and was now fighting in the hallways, slowly pushing the Slav towards an open balcony.
“Die, filthy Slav!” he shouted, his blade repeatedly jabbing and slashing.
“Never!” replied Ignatieff.
One more lunge and Ignatieff’s sword went flying.  The Cult leader stumbled backward as Konstantinos advanced and…sheathed his sword?  Konstantinos picked up a pistol from a dead Varangian.
“What?!” shouted Ignatieff.
“I prefer to do things…dramatically,” said Konstantinos.  “THIS…IS…ROME!”
He kicked Ignatieff off the balcony.
Konstantinos looked over the balcony to see where the body landed, but Ignatieff–or his body–had vanished.

((Senate Room))

The battle between the reactionaries and the Cult was over.  Konstantinos’s guards lay dead on the floor as the Cultists turned to look at the Senators.
“You all live…for now,” said their leader, “We will meet again another day.”
And the Cultists vanished as quicklky as they had arrived.


As some ships tried to escape the city, Konstantinos’s supporters raised a large chain across the Bosphorus, preventing any ships from leaving.

((The La France))

“Colonel, we are approaching Constantinople,” said an officer, “The situation looks rather bad down there.”
“Nothing a few bombs can’t fix,” said Colonel John Melissenos, “Steer a course for Blachernae and drop our payload on any hostiles below.”
Several explosives dropped from the bottom of the La France, dispersing some of the mobs.


The two walked through the deserted halls of the palace.
“Where did Konstantinos go?” muttered Michael, “He’s not in the Senate.”
“Strange, yes,” said Alexios, “I’ll look around for him.”
They separated.
Alexios emerged onto a balcony, where he found Konstantinos standing alone, staring off into the distance and overlooking the city.
“Such…pureness…and I had to ruin it…” Konstantinos said.  “But it was necessary to purge the disloyal elements to restore the Empire’s greatness.”
In the distance, they saw the La France approaching Blachernae, dropping bombs on the mobs and rebels.
Alexios was unarmed–that last scuffle with a rebel soldier caused him to drop his weapons in a hurry.
But he could still take down Konstantinos…at a price…

((Ioannes Dalassenos))

When I found that I was a prisoner a sort of wild feeling came over me. I rushed up and down the stairs, trying every door and peering out of every window I could find, but after a little the conviction of my helplessness overpowered all other feelings. When I look back after a few hours I think I must have been mad for the time, for I behaved much as a rat does in a trap. When, however, the conviction had come to me that I was helpless I sat down quietly, as quietly as I have ever done anything in my life, and began to think over what was best to be done. I am thinking still, and as yet have come to no definite conclusion. Of one thing only am I certain. That it is no use making my ideas known to the Count. He knows well that I am imprisoned, and as he has done it himself, and has doubtless his own motives for it, he would only deceive me if I trusted him fully with the facts. So far as I can see, my only plan will be to keep my knowledge and my fears to myself, and my eyes open. I am, I know, either being deceived, like a baby, by my own fears, or else I am in desperate straits, and if the latter be so, I need, and shall need, all my brains to get through.
I had hardly come to this conclusion when I heard the great door below shut, and knew that the Count had returned. He did not come at once into the library, so I went cautiously to my own room and found him making the bed. This was odd, but only confirmed what I had all along thought, that there are no servants in the house. When later I saw him through the chink of the hinges of the door laying the table in the dining room, I was assured of it. For if he does himself all these menial offices, surely it is proof that there is no one else in the castle, it must have been the Count himself who was the driver of the coach that brought me here. This is a terrible thought, for if so, what does it mean that he could control the wolves, as he did, by only holding up his hand for silence? How was it that all the people at Bistritz and on the coach had some terrible fear for me? What meant the giving of the crucifix, of the garlic, of the wild rose, of the mountain ash?
Bless that good, good woman who hung the crucifix round my neck! For it is a comfort and a strength to me whenever I touch it. It is odd that a thing which I have been taught to regard with disfavour and as idolatrous should in a time of loneliness and trouble be of help. Is it that there is something in the essence of the thing itself, or that it is a medium, a tangible help, in conveying memories of sympathy and comfort? Some time, if it may be, I must examine this matter and try to make up my mind about it. In the meantime I must find out all I can about Count Dracula, as it may help me to understand. Tonight he may talk of himself, if I turn the conversation that way. I must be very careful, however, not to awake his suspicion.
–I have had a long talk with the Count. I asked him a few questions on Transylvania’s history, which I was unfamiliar to, and he warmed up to the subject wonderfully. In his speaking of things and people, and especially of battles, he spoke as if he had been present at them all. This he afterwards explained by saying that to a Boyar the pride of his house and name is his own pride, that their glory is his glory, that their fate is his fate. Whenever he spoke of his house he always said “we”, and spoke almost in the plural, like a king speaking. I wish I could put down all he said exactly as he said it, for to me it was most fascinating. It seemed to have in it a whole history of the country. He grew excited as he spoke, and walked about the room pulling his great white moustache and grasping anything on which he laid his hands as though he would crush it by main strength. One thing he said which I shall put down as nearly as I can, for it tells in its way the story of his race.
“We Szekelys have a right to be proud, for in our veins flows the blood of many brave races who fought as the lion fights, for lordship. Here, in the whirlpool of European races, the Ugric tribe bore down from Iceland the fighting spirit which Thor and Wodin game them, which their Berserkers displayed to such fell intent on the seaboards of Europe, aye, and of Asia and Africa too, till the peoples thought that the werewolves themselves had come; and to hear that your Empire had harnessed their power in the Varangians! Here, too, when they came, they found the Huns, whose warlike fury had swept the earth like a living flame, till the dying peoples held that in their veins ran the blood of those old witches, who, expelled from Scythia had mated with the devils in the desert. Fools, fools! What devil or what witch was ever so great as Attila, whose blood is in these veins?” He held up his arms. “Is it a wonder that we were a conquering race, that we were proud, that when the Magyar, the Lombard, the Avar, the Bulgar, or the Imperial poured his thousands on our frontiers, we drove them back? Is it strange that when Arpad and his legions swept through the Hungarian fatherland he found us here when he reached the frontier, that the Honfoglalas was completed there?And when the Hungarian flood swept eastward, the Szekelys were claimed as kindred by the victorious Magyars, and to us for centuries was trusted the guarding of the frontier of the Empire. Aye, and more than that, endless duty of the frontier guard, for as the Imperials say, `water sleeps, and the enemy is sleepless.’ Who more gladly than we throughout the Four Nations received the `bloody sword,’ or at its warlike call flocked quicker to the standard of the King?  Who was it but one of my own race who as Voivode crossed the Danube and beat our enemies on his own ground? This was a Dracula indeed!  Bah! What good are peasants without a leader? Where ends the war without a brain and heart to conduct it?  Ah, young sir, the Szekelys, and the Dracula as their heart’s blood, their brains, and their swords, can boast a record that mushroom growths like the Hapsburgs and the Rurikids and the Doukoi can never reach (may your Empress reign for many long years, I assure you I have nothing against her). The warlike days are over. Blood is too precious a thing in these days of dishonourable peace, and the glories of the great races are as a tale that is told.”
It was by this time close on morning, and we went to bed. (Mem., this diary seems horribly like the beginning of the “Arabian Nights,” for everything has to break off at cockcrow, or like the ghost of Hamlet’s father.)

The next day.

–Let me begin with facts, bare, meager facts, verified by books and figures, and of which there can be no doubt. I must not confuse them with experiences which will have to rest on my own observation, or my memory of them. Last evening when the Count came from his room he began by asking me questions on legal matters and on the doing of certain kinds of business, which was quite different from the interrogations I had been conducting. I had spent the day wearily over books, and, simply to keep my mind occupied, went over some of the matters I had been examined in at Loukas’s Inn. There was a certain method in the Count’s inquiries, so I shall try to put them down in sequence. The knowledge may somehow or some time be useful to me.
“I trust you will forgive me, but I have much work to do in private this evening. You will, I hope, find all things as you wish.” At the door he turned, and after a moment’s pause said, “Let me advise you, my dear young friend. Nay, let me warn you with all seriousness, that should you leave these rooms you will not by any chance go to sleep in any other part of the castle. It is old, and has many memories, and there are bad dreams for those who sleep unwisely. Be warned! Should sleep now or ever overcome you, or be like to do, then haste to your own chamber or to these rooms, for your rest will then be safe. But if you be not careful in this respect, then,” He finished his speech in a gruesome way, for he motioned with his hands as if he were washing them. I quite understood. My only doubt was as to whether any dream could be more terrible than the unnatural, horrible net of gloom and mystery which seemed closing around me.


–I endorse the last words written, but this time there is no doubt in question. I shall not fear to sleep in any place where he is not. I have placed the crucifix over the head of my bed, I imagine that my rest is thus freer from dreams, and there it shall remain.
When he left me I went to my room. After a little while, not hearing any sound, I came out and went up the stone stair to where I could look out towards the South. There was some sense of freedom in the vast expanse, inaccessible though it was to me, as compared with the narrow darkness of the courtyard. Looking out on this, I felt that I was indeed in prison, and I seemed to want a breath of fresh air, though it were of the night. I am beginning to feel this nocturnal existence tell on me. It is destroying my nerve. I start at my own shadow, and am full of all sorts of horrible imaginings. God knows that there is ground for my terrible fear in this accursed place!I looked out over the beautiful expanse, bathed in soft yellow moonlight till it was almost as light as day. In the soft light the distant hills became melted, and the shadows in the valleys and gorges of velvety blackness. The mere beauty seemed to cheer me. There was peace and comfort in every breath I drew. As I leaned from the window my eye was caught by something moving a storey below me, and somewhat to my left, where I imagined, from the order of the rooms, that the windows of the Count’s own room would look out. The window at which I stood was tall and deep, stone-mullioned, and though weatherworn, was still complete. But it was evidently many a day since the case had been there. I drew back behind the stonework, and looked carefully out.
What I saw was the Count’s head coming out from the window. I did not see the face, but I knew the man by the neck and the movement of his back and arms. In any case I could not mistake the hands which I had had some many opportunities of studying. I was at first interested and somewhat amused, for it is wonderful how small a matter will interest and amuse a man when he is a prisoner. But my very feelings changed to repulsion and terror when I saw the whole man slowly emerge from the window and begin to crawl down the castle wall over the dreadful abyss, face down with his cloak spreading out around him like great wings. At first I could not believe my eyes. I thought it was some trick of the moonlight, some weird effect of shadow, but I kept looking, and it could be no delusion. I saw the fingers and toes grasp the corners of the stones, worn clear of the mortar by the stress of years, and by thus using every projection and inequality move downwards with considerable speed, just as a lizard moves along a wall.
What manner of man is this, or what manner of creature, is it in the semblance of man? I feel the dread of this horrible place overpowering me. I am in fear, in awful fear, and there is no escape for me. I am encompassed about with terrors that I dare not think of.  He is empowered by the Cult, I am sure of it!

Three days later…

–Once more I have seen the count go out in his lizard fashion. He moved downwards in a sidelong way, some hundred feet down, and a good deal to the left. He vanished into some hole or window. When his head had disappeared, I leaned out to try and see more, but without avail. The distance was too great to allow a proper angle of sight. I knew he had left the castle now, and thought to use the opportunity to explore more than I had dared to do as yet. I went back to the room, and taking a lamp, tried all the doors. They were all locked, as I had expected, and the locks were comparatively new. But I went down the stone stairs to the hall where I had entered originally. I found I could pull back the bolts easily enough and unhook the great chains. But the door was locked, and the key was gone! That key must be in the Count’s room. I must watch should his door be unlocked, so that I may get it and escape. I went on to make a thorough examination of the various stairs and passages, and to try the doors that opened from them. One or two small rooms near the hall were open, but there was nothing to see in them except old furniture, dusty with age and moth-eaten. At last, however, I found one door at the top of the stairway which, though it seemed locked, gave a little under pressure. I tried it harder, and found that it was not really locked, but that the resistance came from the fact that the hinges had fallen somewhat, and the heavy door rested on the floor. Here was an opportunity which I might not have again, so I exerted myself, and with many efforts forced it back so that I could enter. I was now in a wing of the castle further to the right than the rooms I knew and a storey lower down. From the windows I could see that the suite of rooms lay along to the south of the castle, the windows of the end room looking out both west and south. On the latter side, as well as to the former, there was a great precipice. The castle was built on the corner of a great rock, so that on three sides it was quite impregnable, and great windows were placed here where sling, or bow, or culverin could not reach, and consequently light and comfort, impossible to a position which had to be guarded, were secured. To the west was a great valley, and then, rising far away, great jagged mountain fastnesses, rising peak on peak, the sheer rock studded with mountain ash and thorn, whose roots clung in cracks and crevices and crannies of the stone. This was evidently the portion of the castle occupied by the ladies in bygone days, for the furniture had more an air of comfort than any I had seen.
The windows were curtainless, and the yellow moonlight, flooding in through the diamond panes, enabled one to see even colours, whilst it softened the wealth of dust which lay over all and disguised in some measure the ravages of time and moth. My lamp seemed to be of little effect in the brilliant moonlight, but I was glad to have it with me, for there was a dread loneliness in the place which chilled my heart and made my nerves tremble. Still, it was better than living alone in the rooms which I had come to hate from the presence of the Count, and after trying a little to school my nerves, I found a soft quietude come over me. Here I am, sitting at a little oak table where in old times possibly some fair lady sat to pen, with much thought and many blushes, her ill-spelt love letter, and writing in my diary in shorthand all that has happened since I closed it last. It is the nineteenth century up-to-date with a vengeance. And yet, unless my senses deceive me, the old centuries had, and have, powers of their own which mere “modernity” cannot kill.

Later: The morning of the next day.


–God preserve my sanity, for to this I am reduced. Safety and the assurance of safety are things of the past. Whilst I live on here there is but one thing to hope for, that I may not go mad, if, indeed, I be not mad already. If I be sane, then surely it is maddening to think that of all the foul things that lurk in this hateful place the Count is the least dreadful to me, that to him alone I can look for safety, even though this be only whilst I can serve his purpose. Great God! Merciful God, let me be calm, for out of that way lies madness indeed. I begin to get new lights on certain things which have puzzled me. Up to now I never quite knew what Shakespeare meant when he made Hamlet say, “My tablets! Quick, my tablets! `tis meet that I put it down,” etc., For now, feeling as though my own brain were unhinged or as if the shock had come which must end in its undoing, I turn to my diary for repose. The habit of entering accurately must help to soothe me.
The Count’s mysterious warning frightened me at the time. It frightens me more not when I think of it, for in the future he has a fearful hold upon me. I shall fear to doubt what he may say!
When I had written in my diary and had fortunately replaced the book and pen in my pocket I felt sleepy. The Count’s warning came into my mind, but I took pleasure in disobeying it. The sense of sleep was upon me, and with it the obstinacy which sleep brings as outrider. The soft moonlight soothed, and the wide expanse without gave a sense of freedom which refreshed me. I determined not to return tonight to the gloom-haunted rooms, but to sleep here, where, of old, ladies had sat and sung and lived sweet lives whilst their gentle breasts were sad for their menfolk away in the midst of remorseless wars. I drew a great couch out of its place near the corner, so that as I lay, I could look at the lovely view to east and south, and unthinking of and uncaring for the dust, composed myself for sleep. I suppose I must have fallen asleep. I hope so, but I fear, for all that followed was startlingly real, so real that now sitting here in the broad, full sunlight of the morning, I cannot in the least believe that it was all sleep.
I was not alone. The room was the same, unchanged in any way since I came into it. I could see along the floor, in the brilliant moonlight, my own footsteps marked where I had disturbed the long accumulation of dust. In the moonlight opposite me were three young women, ladies by their dress and manner. I thought at the time that I must be dreaming when I saw them, they threw no shadow on the floor. They came close to me, and looked at me for some time, and then whispered together. Two were dark, and had high aquiline noses, like the Count, and great dark, piercing eyes, that seemed to be almost red when contrasted with the pale yellow moon. The other was fair, as fair as can be, with great masses of golden hair and eyes like pale sapphires. I seemed somehow to know her face, and to know it in connection with some dreamy fear, but I could not recollect at the moment how or where. All three had brilliant white teeth that shone like pearls against the ruby of their voluptuous lips. There was something about them that made me uneasy, some longing and at the same time some deadly fear. I felt in my heart a wicked, burning desire that they would kiss me with those red lips.It is not good to note this down, lest some day it should meet Mara’s eyes and cause her pain, but it is the truth. They whispered together, and then they all three laughed, such a silvery, musical laugh, but as hard as though the sound never could have come through the softness of human lips. It was like the intolerable, tingling sweetness of waterglasses when played on by a cunning hand. The fair girl shook her head coquettishly, and the other two urged her on.
One said, “Go on! You are first, and we shall follow. Yours’ is the right to begin.”
The other added, “He is young and strong. There are kisses for us all.”
I lay quiet, looking out from under my eyelashes in an agony of delightful anticipation. The fair girl advanced and bent over me till I could feel the movement of her breath upon me. Sweet it was in one sense, honey-sweet, and sent the same tingling through the nerves as her voice, but with a bitter underlying the sweet, a bitter offensiveness, as one smells in blood.
I was afraid to raise my eyelids, but looked out and saw perfectly under the lashes. The girl went on her knees, and bent over me, simply gloating. There was a deliberate voluptuousness which was both thrilling and repulsive, and as she arched her neck she actually licked her lips like an animal, till I could see in the moonlight the moisture shining on the scarlet lips and on the red tongue as it lapped the white sharp teeth. Lower and lower went her head as the lips went below the range of my mouth and chin and seemed to fasten on my throat. Then she paused, and I could hear the churning sound of her tongue as it licked her teeth and lips, and I could feel the hot breath on my neck. Then the skin of my throat began to tingle as one’s flesh does when the hand that is to tickle it approaches nearer, nearer. I could feel the soft, shivering touch of the lips on the super sensitive skin of my throat, and the hard dents of two sharp teeth, just touching and pausing there. I closed my eyes in languorous ecstasy and waited, waited with beating heart.
But at that instant, another sensation swept through me as quick as lightning. I was conscious of the presence of the Count, and of his being as if lapped in a storm of fury. As my eyes opened involuntarily I saw his strong hand grasp the slender neck of the fair woman and with giant’s power draw it back, the blue eyes transformed with fury, the white teeth champing with rage, and the fair cheeks blazing red with passion. But the Count! Never did I imagine such wrath and fury, even to the demons of the pit. His eyes were positively blazing. The red light in them was lurid, as if the flames of hell fire blazed behind them. His face was deathly pale, and the lines of it were hard like drawn wires. The thick eyebrows that met over the nose now seemed like a heaving bar of white-hot metal. With a fierce sweep of his arm, he hurled the woman from him, and then motioned to the others, as though he were beating them back. It was the same imperious gesture that I had seen used to the wolves. In a voice which, though low and almost in a whisper seemed to cut through the air and then ring in the room he said,
“How dare you touch him, any of you? How dare you cast eyes on him when I had forbidden it? Back, I tell you all! This man belongs to me! Beware how you meddle with him, or you’ll have to deal with me.”
The fair girl, with a laugh of ribald coquetry, turned to answer him. “You yourself never loved. You never love!” On this the other women joined, and such a mirthless,hard, soulless laughter rang through the room that it almost made me faint to hear. It seemed like the pleasure of fiends.
Then the Count turned, after looking at my face attentively, and said in a soft whisper, “Yes, I too can love. You yourselves can tell it from the past. Is it not so? Well, now I promise you that when I am done with him you shall kiss him at your will. Now go! Go! I must awaken him, for there is work to be done.”
“Are we to have nothing tonight?”said one of them, with a low laugh, as she pointed to the bag which he had thrown upon the floor, and which moved as though there were some living thing within it. For answer he nodded his head. One of the women jumped forward and opened it. If my ears did not deceive me there was a gasp and a low wail, as of a half smothered child. The women closed round, whilst I was aghast with horror. But as I looked, they disappeared, and with them the dreadful bag. There was no door near them, and they could not have passed me without my noticing. They simply seemed to fade into the rays of the moonlight and pass out through the window, for I could see outside the dim, shadowy forms for a moment before they entirely faded away.
Then the horror overcame me, and I sank down unconscious.

mother of god they are cultists they are demons they are oh my god oh my god what the sidfohasdfagfb.

In the City, the Makedonian soldiers entered through the Golden Gate, secured the Forums of Arcadius and the Ox, moved on to take control of the southern harbours and linked up with the Thrakian troops to post guards around the Great Palace (including the Chrysotriklinos), the Hippodrome and the two great churches of Holy Wisdom and Holy Peace (the Hagia Sophia and the Hagia Eirene).

Moving further north and east, they entered the Italian quarters and pacified the two harbours overlooking the Bosphorus.  The Great Chain was down, but all in all, Ioannes Angelos mused, that was probably for the best when engaged in hostile crowd control within the City.  “All” that remained was imposing order in the northern half of the City and ensuring that the Basilissa and the Blachernae Palace were safe, but that would take a while longer, whilst they awaited reinforcements from northern Thrace.


Alexios could not bring himself to kill his own son.  Despite what Konstantinos had done, he was still Alexios’s son.  Nevermind the disowning a few years ago.  Alexios simply couldn’t do it.
He began to walk away…


Konstantinos knew he wasn’t alone.  “Michael, brother, I know you’re there.  Come on, we’re brothers.  We both know each other’s location.  It’s no use hiding.”
Michael emerged from the shadows, his sword drawn.
“Is this what everything’s come to?” said Konstantinos.  “Have we become Cain and Abel, brothers killing each other over petty family disagreements?”
“I’m sorry, brother, but I must do this for the safety of the Empire,” Michael said.
Konstantinos chuckled.  “Safety of the Empire!  Defending a rotten system?  The Empire’s failing.  You know it.  The Empress can’t live forever  Even if she survives today, you’re only delaying the inevitable.  When she dies and her son inherits, what happens?  Status quo?  You wish.  The vultures are circling, and a great war is approaching.  The tangled web of alliances the Great Powers have built up will ultimately be their demise.  The people are suffering, and they will only suffer more under this ancient absolutism.  Please, brother, join me.”
“I can never join you, Konstantinos, after what you did,” Michael said, “You are no better than the barbarians that brought down the Old Empire and the usurpers that seized the Imperial Throne in the centuries between the Fall and the rise of the Doukai–our family.  We are Doukai, and our duty is to our Empress and Empire.  Don’t make me do this, Konstantinos.”
Konstantinos turned.  “So this is how it ends, then.  So be it.”
And he lunged at Michael, his sword also drawn.


Alexios heard the sound of metal clashing on metal behind him.  He rushed back to the courtyard balcony and saw his sons fighting each other in a fierce duel.

Konstantinos was more experienced, being the older brother, but he was more rash and aggressive with his lunges.  Michael was younger and had faster reactions, and he dodged most of Konstantinos’s blows.  Both brothers were equally matched in their fencing skills, but Konstantinos was quickly gaining an advantage due to his aggressive offense.

Alexios had to act quickly.


Michael attempted to block Konstantinos’s latest lunge, only for his sword to fly out of his hand.  Konstantinos kicked him in the legs, and he stumbled to the ground.  The older brother pointed his sword at Michael’s throat.
“It’s all over, and I have won!” said Konstantinos, raising a pistol in his other hand.
“No, you have not,” said a voice behind him.
Konstantinos twisted around and fired one, two, three, four shots into Alexios’s chest.  Alexios continued to charge at Konstantinos.  One, two.  Two more bullets slammed into Alexios, but he could not stop running.
Alexios tackled Konstantinos, and father and son toppled over the balcony.

Michael got to his feet and rushed downstairs to the Senate room.  He found the senators, Empress, Patriarch, and royal family unharmed and surrounded by hastily armed Varangians and senators; all of Konstantinos’s men were dead, as if by the Cult.  Medics were arriving, treating the senators’ wounds and keeping the paralyzed Theodosio alive.  Outside a broken window lay the body of the pretender, Konstantinos Doukas, and the respected Senator Alexios Doukas.
Alexios was still alive, if barely.  Michael rushed over to him quickly.
“Father?” he said.
“Michael,” said Alexios, softly, “I’m afraid I’m dying.  After everything I’ve done, it’s all over.”
“No!  You cannot die!”
“Thirty years ago I fought against the Cult; now I end my life fighting the enemies of the Empire.”
“Father, please!  You cannot leave us!”
“I am an old man, son, and you are young.  Before I go, promise me one thing.”
Michael bit back tears.  “Yes?”
“Promise me that you will continue to protect the Empire and its citizens at all costs, that you will uphold the values of the Empress and the Empire, and that you will devote your life to making sure this does not happen again.”
Michael hesitated, Konstantinos’s boasts coming back to him.  “Yes.”
Alexios smiled weakly.  “I know that the Empire is in good hands.”
He gripped Michael’s hand.  “My father told me that if one does not treat the citizens of the Empire with the respect due to Romans, we cannot truly be a great power.  Please, for the Senate and People of Rome, continue my work.”
“I will.”
Alexios sighed one last time, closed his eyes, and passed away, at peace with the world.

Michael was silent and grieving, even as the medics approached him to treat his wounds.  He did not say anything as the reporters arrived to interview the survivors or when reinforcements arrived to suppress the rebels still resisting the Empress’s government.  For he was a changed man now.  He had seen his father and brother die in front of him, within minutes of each other.  The people of the Empire were up in arms, unsatisfied with the conditions they were in.  He realized that the only way to end the unrest and prevent another Konstantinos from arising was to improve the education and healthcare systems.  The current medical systems had failed to treat the obvious signs of mental instability in Konstantinos, and the education system had failed to make proper Imperial citizens out of the people.  They had to reform now and quickly.
He was a Senator and Doux now, and probably the Minister of Security.  He had a long road ahead of him.

((Konstantinos’s house))

The villa of Konstantinos was being burned down by loyalist troops.  Everything of value was carried off to be confiscated by the government, and what remained was destroyed.
Unknown to all of the loyalist soldiers, a lone figure snuck into the burning house and escaped with a small journal of Konstantinos called Ton Agóna Mou…

Donal sat on his horse watching the carnage unfolding in front of the palace of Blachernae. The Cultists and reactionaries were murdering each other and any civilians who were caught between them while trying to make a run for it and the guns of his own men only added to the carnage.
“We’ve been sitting here for too long!” Donal and Constantine were screaming in each other’s ears and yet it was still almost impossible to be heard.
“I know that sir but what do we do?”
“Hello there Donal” Guis rode up to Donal himself and a few others attempting desperately to keep the riderlass horses under control.
“Guis what are you doing here?” was Donal’s reply
“My brother told me to stay down and look after the horses.”
“How’s that going for you?”
“Could be better if I’m honest.”
“Well no time for that now. My brother’s in that palace and he probably needs help but how do we get there?”
“Great to see you understand the severity of the situation.”
“Any ideas?”
“None yet. Constantine?”
“Well sir with Guis’ horses and ours I believe I have an almost certainly suicidal idea that might just work.”

((With Columba and his men out side the throne room))

“3..2..1. Go!”
The throne room doors stood resolutely firm and stuck before them for a long while now and it was safe to say things had gotten desperate. The statue of some old emperor or one of his advisers his fist raised in imperial triumph had been lashed onto a large service cart dug up from who knows where and was being pushed down the hall by a dozen of the strongest men available and it was getting faster and faster both to the efforts of those pushing the statue and the slight incline in the floor. As the approached the door the men pushing it came away the cart carried on over the smooth, reflective, marble floor carried along by its momentum over the highly polished stone only slightly marred by blood, mud and who knows what else. Everyone pushed themselves as far back into the wall as they could as the cart came skiting by and it crashed into the door and bounced back into the wall, with and almighty racket the door buckled, it shook, it cracked, it held.
“Everyone alright?”
Thankfully nobody had been hurt when the cart had crashed.
“Good because that is God-dam enough!”
Columba took the halberd he was holding and put everything he could behind the swing and the ruined doors finally gave way and burst open. Columba’s men charged into the throne room guns going off Halberds and swords glinting in the light coming down on every traitor they could get their hands on. Those Columba had left by the window’s earlier joined in to shooting frantically before they to jumped through the windows and joined in the carnage. Soon all the traitors were either dead or dying.

Columba walked in behind his men. Holding him self tall despite the pain and light-headedness; a dirk in his right hand; his left clinging onto the halberd he was using for support. He faced the most powerful men and women in the Empire and realised what a sight he must make. A filthy disheveled blood drenched half-dead, half-barbarian form one of he darkest provinces of the Empire that most held in either awe or contempt standing over a scene of death and treason that had nearly destroyed the Empire. He calmly walked forward and addressed the Empress.

“Your Majesy. I pray you will forgive me if I do not kneel and excuse my tardiness but unfortunately I was delayed. However I am here now and you are alive. That is ultimately what matters.”

He bent down and picked the imperial crown off the floor. It was a but dented and covered with blood but now was not the time to worry about that. He stumbled forwards and held it out to the Empress calm and determined despite all that had happened.

“I believe this is yours your majesty”
Silently she took it with a small incline of her head. Columba looked around the room. Calmly surveying the scene around him: the bodies on the floor; his men standing guard all around the room some resplendent, some savage, all intimidating; everyone else with faces indicating various states of shock and awe.

“Right now before I faint. Which seat’s mine?

Several hours later in a local hospital, Senator Theodosio regains consciousness after various surgical procedures. It is then that he discovers his paralysis, and he dismisses all doctors and nurses from the room. A few hours later his wife and son arrive.

Valeria: Oh my heart and soul, thank the heavens you’re alive. When the riots started we hid in our cellar, I never imagined it could have reached Blachernae!

Theodosio’s son, Felix, only a boy of 11, rushes to the bedside and throws his arms around his father.

Nicodemo: Ah, careful, the stitching is still fresh. I barely survived as it is. Oh it is good to see you, but I’m afraid I’m going to have to break a promise I made you Felix. I can no longer teach you swordplay.

Felix: What, why father? The doctors said you were fine.

Nicodemo: Did they now? Well I suppose it is better coming from me. One of the bullets I took severed my spine in the neck, I can no longer move any part of my body below the neck.

At this Valeria breaks down into sobbing.

Nicodemo: I know, my love, but things are not as bad as they might seem. The doctors say it will have no effect on my lifespan, and an Imperial aide already assured me that anything I needed would be taken care of. They are supposed to come measure me for a wheelchair in the next few days. They don’t want me leaving the hospital quite yet. I will admit that life as I, and we, knew it is over. I will need help to do even the most basic thing, they are supposed to have a nurse feed me while I’m here, for example. Things will never be the same for me, this is true. However, even this will not stop me from my work, though I will need to hire a scribe, among other such things.

Valeria: How can you worry about your work right now!?

Nicodemo: I would comfort you if I could, my love, but you did not see what happened, what caused all of this. What happened will happen again without change. I have lost much, but I do not become a better person by grieving over what is lost. I become a better person by preventing it from happening to anyone else. The days to come are going to be dangerous as well, but if we weather them we can accomplish much. Now, could one of you please ask the guards outside if they could have a scribe sent here? I should make a statement, reassure everyone, and condemn what happened.

I dictate this for the purpose of an explanation, as none has thus far been widely spread, and many are still confused about the events of the past 48 hours. Early in the last Senate session, it was interrupted by a pretender to the throne. I call him a pretender for lack of words that are not explicit. He was a madman, so far gone that he shot his own father in front of my eyes. I understand that you, the public, want a name. I will not give it to you, it can be found if you must know, I’m sure. I refuse to name this madman, as to give him attention, to justify him as a pretender, would be betraying the memories of those who were lost in these events. It would also do damage to the rest of his family, damage they do not deserve.

What happened was a tragedy, and one we cannot allow to repeat. The masses who participated in the riot did so because they were disenfranchised, they could find nobody that was to blame for the conditions they live in that they could affect, so they chose the Communists and non-Greeks. I have not received numbers for how many were lost, but I have heard that the riots were not isolated to Constantinople as I had originally hoped.

We must finally enact the changes the people have clamored for. Nationalized education, healthcare, and workers’ rights must be implemented, as soon as possible.

I ask only one thing of the citizen on the street: do not follow this violence with more violence. My life has been forever altered, my body crippled, and I still do not desire vengeance. Vengeance has solved nothing, and indeed it is partially to blame for this entire disaster. If you wish to protest, do so, but do so peacefully. I hope that I recover quickly so that I may return to my work, fighting for the rights of the proletariat.

I remain, Senator Nicodemo Theodosio

Ambrosio looked on bleakly. Many of his friends were dead. Of the 1,200 men he had brought into Constantinople, only 400 men had survived. The bombs had massacred the soldiers and the mobs had rushed into the disoriented troops and killed many of them. The Nicaean Guardsmen and Governate troops had all been wiped out. The vexillation that he had brought was decimated . His father was dead, his family’s condition unknown. Diederick had seemed odd ever since the incidence, Ambrosio worried about his health. Ambrosio swore to reform the social systems of the Empire to prevent such militancy from causing a revolt. He also swore to strengthen the power of the military and police to crush any rebellion.

The Empress watched the conclusion of the violence in stunned silence. She noted doctors ministering to Senator Theodosio, and Senator Cominnus had returned her crown, but everything else was a blur. When her bodyguard led her away, she did not resist.

When she was later able to think on the events of the day, she knew this fortold not just more political division in the Empire, but more contentiousness in the Senate. It was unclear what could be done to heal the rifts opened that day. But the effort needed to be made. She sent word that the Senate would meet with her again in a month. Hopefully that would be sufficient to allow the injured Senators to heal. All the injured, and in particular Senator Theodosio, would be provided with anything they needed.

A few days later…

“…and so concludes my report on the situation in Raetia as it currently stands. Turning my attention closer to home during the rather disturbing events of the previous hours I noticed the frankly rather shocking conditions of the City’s fortifications. Before I go any further I would like to apologise to your majesty for the door and know that I am more than willing to finance a replacement as soon as I am able to properly walk without the aid of a polearm. Anyway as I was saying; the Theodosian walls are undoubtedly among the greatest in the world but they are now over 1 and a half millenia old and upon closer inspection look it. It is true that this city is hundreds of miles from the border of any other nation in the world but today’s events should be a reminder, if of nothing else, that one can never be to careful especially as this is the second major and nearly fatal disturbance to nit the capital in 3 deca – did you hear that?”

Not everyone, but some had, heard the disturbance from the other side of the ruined doors Columba’s men who had been doing their best to remove the bodies from the room grabbed whatever weapon was to hand, be it gun or mop and gathered round the door braced for another fight. One of the men on the other side of the doors shouted “Don’t shoot they’re ours.” from the other side. The doors opened as best the could for Donal to come charging in at the head of another group of battered and bloody men.

“I’m afraid you’re a bit late Donal but I trust your arrival heralds good news.”
“Indeed it does. We were able to disperse the crowd at Constantine’s Forum after killing the ringleaders there before making our way to the palace to find both sets of traitors fighting each other. We were caught in the blood bath and managed to fight our way though. Your brother led a charge on horseback through the madness you should have seen it!”
“Where is my brother?”

“Where is my brother Donal?”
The silence told him all he needed to know

“Good sirs, if I may return your attention to the matters I was just discussing before we retire …”

Magnus sat silently in his hotel suite in Alexandria, reading the telegraph from Constantinople over and over
“Dear God” he whispered to himself.
He knew that he had left the capital at a peculiar time but he merely assumed all that would happen was just a rebellion of poor, untrained socialist and maybe some smaller groups that tried to take advantage of the chaos. Something simple that the very capable Varangarian Guard could handle.
But no. This was lead by senators, aristocrats, businessmen, people Magnus had sat next to, oblivious to their ideas, intentions, and how far they’d go to achieve power.
Magnus’ eyes shot wide open as soon as this thought had crossed his mind.
He could be charged for the very same atrocities these traitors committed, just because he wanted to gain a slight upper hand for his family’s company.
The only person who he had told his plan to outside of his own administration was the Empress, yet even that didn’t sooth Magnus’ nerves.
He started pacing throughout his room, looking over papers and files, trying to piece together a reason for his secrecy that would still hold him high in the eyes of other Senators.
He finally collapsed onto the bed with his face buried in his hands.
“They’ll surely understand, right? I did no wrong. I was merely doing my job! I was doing my job, just like the other senators! I could’ve lost… my… life”
He knew he was lying to himself. He knew his life as a Senator will be in jeopardy soon, along with his family name, shared by many other prestigious and important people of the Empire.
10 minutes later.
Jensen walked out to his hotel balcony with his book and lamp in hand, about to enjoy a evening read while looking over the Mediterranean.
As soon as he sat down and opened his book he heard a knock on his room door.
Grudgingly Jensen marked his book and slowly moved over to the peephole to see who his visitor was.
Not to his surprise it was Magnus.
“For Christ sake” he mumbled under his breath while unlocking the door.
“Sir, every time I open my book, you seem to have a job for me, should I just lend you the book to finish it first?”
Magnus chuckled “Sorry Jensen, but there has been another change in plans, everyone except Kol is going back to the capital tomorrow.”
“May I ask why?”
“I must attend to some damage control, I need to prove I am not in cahoots with the traitors that attacked the Empress. And you, my friend are to tell my brother, Dr. Eric in the Imperial College, to go to Oceania and assist with its development, for I fear I might have to stay in Constantinople for some time.”
Jensen quietly nodded in agreement.
“Then it’s set, tell the men to meet me on the yacht at 9 a.m. we sail for the capital.”


The soldiers rammed the barricaded door one last time, and the old doors finally gave way.  The Empress’s troops charged into the throne room, ready to kill any traitors defiling the Imperial Throne itself.
The room was empty.

Markos Angelos, the last leader of Konstantinos’s Rebellion and self-proclaimed “Isapostolos,” Equal to the Apostles, had escaped.


Konstantinos’s body was cremated, with the ashes thrown in the ocean.  Michael made sure that there was nothing left of his brother to make him a martyr.
General Ioannes, an old friend of Alexios, had returned from his mission to Transylvania, which as it turned out was just a ruse by Konstantinos to lure the Athenian Lancers away from Constantinople and possibly destroy them in hostile territory.  Out of the several dozen Lancers, only four made it home.  Ioannes himself was emotionally scarred by his experiences, babbling about vampires and what not, but he would recover in a few weeks, the doctors said.
Michael’s mother was shocked by Konstantinos’s Rebellion and especially by Alexios’s death.  She locked herself in her room for a whole day and cried until she could not cry.  She blamed herself for the death of her husband and the madness of her son.  They had put so much hope and effort into training Konstantinos, and where did it end up?
Michael’s branch of the Doukai were greatly shaken by the Rebellion.  One of their own had attempted to seize the Throne.  While surely none of the survivors wished to do likewise, somebody would likely want retribution.  How would they convince the government they were loyal citizens?  Only time could tell.
Alexios was buried in Athens, in the family crypt near the Parthenon (of which the city was debating whether or not to rebuild it for conversion into a cathedral or to let it stand as is for tourism).  The funeral lasted several days, with family members from all over the Empire attending.
“He was a great man and a kind father,” Michael said during the memorial service, “He did his duty in the service of the Empire and the Empress.  May God forgive his sins.”
Alexios’s coffin was placed next to Nikephorus’s.  It was fitting, as both men had achieved similar things in life.

After the funeral ended and all of the relatives returned home, Michael sat down in the family villa which he had inherited.  He began thinking about reforms.  The Empire needed reforms.  Otherwise such pretenders would only appear more frequently.  They had to make sure the people were satisfied with their lives so that they would not consider revolution.  Education, to train them to become proper Imperial citizens and loyal subjects.  Health care, to make sure the mentally ill get the treatment they need and so that soldiers can be treated before they go mad.  Minimum wage laws, to make the citizens happy with what they have.  Pensions and unemployment subsidies, as befitting veterans and citizens of the Empire, to fulfill the same thing as the minimum wage laws.  Work hours, to protect the workers of the Empire.

Suddenly, Michael realized something.  Was he a socialist, or was he a liberal?  Or was he both?

Columba looked around the throne room mop in one hand and the halberd he had taken to using as a walking stick in the other. He had planned on getting an actual walking stick but his men had told him to keep it. There was a certain novelty about it he had to admit. His brother was dead. So was Senator Alexios. Along with his son and hundreds if not thousands of others. Madness this was; such a thing, how could it happen? Word was coming in about revolts in the provinces as well. Whether it was news speculation or wild rumor was hard to tell. It all sounded the same. As he stared blankly at the bloody stones he remembered a saying he had stumble upon from the past: “Sic transit mundi gloria” how true it was. The empire might speak Greek today but Latin had always been his preferred language. Perhaps there was something he could do about that? Still he remembered what had happened only a few short days (or was it hours?) ago. Everything had been a blur since then. He hadn’t lost as many of his own men as he might have feared. But hardly any had escaped without some injury many serious enough to put them out of his guard. What would happen to them? He would have to think of something. He would he was sure, he was clever everyone had told him and he always knew it he would care for the injured as best he could and as for the dead he would fins someplace suitable for them to be buried and for their arms to hang in memoriam. His brother was dead though. What would he do about that. Did his wife and children know yet. How would he tell them? He had to tell them he was dead because of him. If he had only told his brother to leave; had forced him to leave; would he still be alive? Probably.

It made him think about himself and what he would do for a family. He was nearly 30 and still had not married. True had had 2 sisters and now 2 brothers all younger than him; and Gius had 3 boys and a girl. It still left him thinking who would he marry; if he did. Still though there were other things to worry about Reatia had escaped the worst of the trouble if what he had heard could be believed but the rest of the Empire had also taken a beating. What of other nations as well. The second near fatal disturbance within the capital of the world’s foremost nation in 30 years; this one if anything even worse than the last. What would other nations say? What would other nations do? There would be hell to pay for the Germans in Reatia. They would be blamed the traitors he had no doubt would see to that. As soon as he was fit enough he would have to go back but it would be weeks till he was fit enough for that tough. He would stay in the Capital for now. He would have to find a place to stay for him and his men. Perhaps he would visit the other senators and see how they were getting on.

Still the past was in the past and nothing would change that. The dead would be buried the survivors would heal mourn, remember and carry on before eventually forgetting. Such was the way of the world.

He sat down and look around the setting sun made quite a change to the atmosphere of the room. Only slightly marred by the still bloody floor. By this time tomorrow it would be clean. And once he had found replacement doors there would be no evidence anything untoward had happened. The room would move on; the world would move on; and so must he. There would be another problem to solve, another crisis to cool down, another war to fight. They were tomorrow’s problems, well perhaps not tomorrow but eventually anyway.  Now was the time for remembering, then there would be celebrating, then there would be moving. Speaking of celebrating he still had not arranged the imperial birthday parade he was planning with some of the other senators. He doubted if many of them would be in the mood for such a thing but it might be the spectacle that was needed at this time. He would talk with them, ask them but right now he needed whisky and a rest.

My Dear Empress,

I hope things are well with yourself in the Imperial Heart, tidings of mad doings and violence reach us here in Brittany, whilst we remain concerned we are sure the people will remain steadfastly loyal and you keep the Imperial family safe.

I have arrived to set up the proper structures within my new province, both administratively and to make sure that the people here are able to receive help, both economically and ideologically.

The local party members have welcomed me and together we work to make sure all have food and shelter. I believe that the population would be greatly buoyed by a visit, even a quick tour, by one of our Legions. Even if this is just a quick tour for a break for the Legion and their families, surely a reward for our loyal troops to the beauty of Brittany would be welcome as a morale boost to the boys in purple.

Otherwise I shall be finished here in time for the next session. I should warn you that whilst our party is determined to bring a fairer rule to the Empire by democratic means we can not but fear that some amongst our number or even just the pressure of the unwashed and unfed in our larger cities could cause unrest and in worst cases violence to these larger centres. I pray that soon you will appoint myself or another worth from our party so we may begin the reformation of the Empire it so desperately needs.

Faithfully Your & the People’s Servant

Αιδεν Στήβεν

Heraclius had been preoccupied with this rebellion. He reviewed what had happened, once more, in his mind. He had gotten wind of a meeting in the hippodrome and had met a contact of his before the senate meeting. The contact had told him that one of the senators had come into the hippodrome dressed in the imperial purple. What an affront to his nation! Then the senator had proceeded to advocate the toppling of the empire. He had then rushed towards the senate meeting only to be stopped by six poorly armed thugs. They told Heraclius “You’re was about to be very late to the senate meeting”. They attacked Heraclius and though he was able to cut down three of the men with his sword. They had had no training. It had brought him no joy to end the life of those misguided men. The rest had clubbed him over the head and left him for dead in the havoc of the streets. He awoke hours later? Maybe longer? And now I’m return to the Blachernae to warn the senate if I can or survey the damage if I must. This whole event has occurred because of the dissatisfaction of Her Majesty’s people. If they were treated as equals in the ruling of this country. If they had a say in what was to be done or not, then they wouldn’t feel the need to take up arms.

Columba was sitting in the gardens of the Sacred Palace staring at the sunset over the sea of Marmara having already changed into his dressing gown and pyjamas. He and his men had established themselves in the Sacred Palace. Nobody had said the could but then at the same time on one had objected and if you had every grown up in Caledonia you knew silence meant consent unless otherwise told. Besides he and his men were giving the palace a much needed refurbishment as most of it had remained untouched for at least 50 years now nearly and with good reason. For many native to the city ghost still haunted these halls but not so for these men from over 1000 miles away. They were discovering rooms cellars and tunnels dating all the way back to the 4th century by his estimate. It would be fascinating if not for the rats. The palace was the only place large enough to hold them all without causing a riot anyway. He shifted his gaze from the ruby sun to the fresh graves now dotted around the garden in groups. Temporary crosses made of wood marked who lay where, already the friends of the fallen had found suitable stone masons to commission suitable memorials. Each soldier had been buried individual. In the order they fell where it could be determined; if not by rank; then time in the guard and as a last resort age. It had taken them days but everyone had insisted on a full ceremony for every single one of them and the chaplains to had not objected in fact it was their idea in the first place. There was no special order to the graves. Each had been made where the friends or even family of the fallen had chosen. Most were in groups of two or thee. Friends and family fallen together. Cousins, uncles, nephews, brothers even father and son as the bitter stack of letters beside him remained a constant reminder. Some graves were alone. Those who had fallen without a friend or relative to accompany them into the dirt but by either coincidence or some divine influence all graves were close enough together that it would not be hard to walk to each one in the course of a visit. He knew their names. Every single one. Columba had always been terrible with names but the names of those sworn to protect him and empire he had resolved to learn and learn them he had. Now the names of those who had died was carved into his mind more thoroughly than any stone.

He got up and turned away from the scene before him. It would be along time before anyone was over this. They all blamed each other for the deaths of everyone. It was not their fault and they knew it; they constantly told each other. They knew that if the dead could speak they would not blame them either; cursing their own bad luck or stupidity or something else and the told each other that as well. That had not made it any easier. He turned his gaze to that of his brother. Nearest the palace and where he had taken to sitting recently. Reading, writing, working, thinking or just passing the hours with anyone who denied to talk with him. The loss still tore at him. He was going through everything all the others were but this he sensed was different. The others had all pledged themselves to this. Knew it might happen to them; that it would to some of them. Gius hadn’t. He had just come along for the ride. To see the capital and explore the wonders with his family. Give them something to look back on with laughter and to dream about. Instead they had stumbled into a nightmare that was all to real for all of them and which would only be looked back on with tears of sorrow and fury. He still remembered telling his wife and children. Still remembered. A wife without a husband 4 children without a father and not and the eldest of the only 8. It would take along time for any of them to get over it. Him he feared, most of all.

He limped back into the palace (he no longer had to hobble though he still carried the halberd much to the amusement of all) he moved slowly though the halls. Grim and dusty when they first arrived now bright and with a new sense of life. A few tapestries, carpets, weapons and flags on the walls along with a statue or two and suitable furniture and one could almost belie that an Emperor or Empress lived here right now. He reached his room greeted the guards standing outside and went in.

He looked around the rooms he had taken for his private quarters. He wondered for the umpteenth time what they had been in the past and who had used them. He took off his dressing gown and got into the 4 poster lacking any hangings when he realised something about the room was not right. He always had a particular spot for everything and a few seemed out of place. Only a few but enough to get his nerves up. He brushed them off angrily. He was too on edge they all were. They would be alright eventually. It would take a while but they would be alright.

(The morning after my previous post)

Donal looked at the clock on the wall worried. The senator was usually up by now.The Senate was due to be addressed at Blachernae he would at least have set his new fangled alarm-clock thingy to wake him up he was sure. He took another glance at the clock and settled himself on the idea that something was wrong. He went to the senators room and approched the guards outside.
“Everything quiet”
“Since we’ve been here sir and the men before us said the same.”
Still unsure Donal steeled himself and went inside.

He immediately noticed that it was colder in here than the hall outside. It was then he noticed a window was open. He went over to it and closed it when he heared a voice behind him
“Ah Donal sorry I just woke up. My alarm-clock was broken during the night there was also a bit of a smell so I opened the window.”
“Peaceful night sir?”
“Ehh mostly I was woken up at one point but apart from that all was well.”
“Ahh good to hear sir. Anyway we really should be goi-OH MY GOD WHO IS THAT? ”
“Well this Donal is the man who woke me up but unfortunately for him I was in a rather bad mood when he did so.”
Columba was sitting up in his bed casually reading while slumped against the bed was a black clad Slav with an eye patch and various items of cutlery from the senator’s dirk stuck in him. Most glaringly of all the Russian sword and halberd that was sticking out of his back.
“Believe it or not the bugger was trying to kill me but well it’s not the first time someone tried that with me.”
“Indeed sir”
“Now if you don’t mid Donal I really must be getting dressed and you need to get to work on improving my personal security.”
“Right away sir.”
Donal immediately turned and moved towards the door.
“And Donal before you go.”
“Yes sir.”
“Take him with you he really does stink you know.”
“Of course sir.”
“Oh and Donal”
“Leave the halberd”
“Of course. Sir”


Thank you all for coming to this meeting. The events of the last one were hard on us all. And we all seem to have drawn different conclusions on how we should respond in the wake of the crisis. We shall all need to explore how the Empire can best be governed. But I wanted to speak to you first of power.

Christ warned us long ago that those that who sought to exalt themselves would be humbled (1). We all saw that with Konstantinos’ end. And how many more before him sought to become Emperor and sowed the seeds of their own destruction. What’s more, few understand the purpose of the Empire. It is a tool to continue Christ’s work on the earth. And did He not say that those who wished to be great must be servants, and that those who wished to be first of all must be the servant of all? (2) Therefore, those who are Senators are Senators for the purpose of serving and helping the peoples of the lands they govern. This is a task at which you have all excelled. And therefore We who sit on the Imperial Throne must also serve the people of the Empire, a task which We have sought to do to the best of Our ability.

But We fear this has not been done as well as it might be, thus the mob’s anger a month ago. Therefore We have given the Koinonikistai management of the bureaucracy in the hopes that they might find ways of easing the burden of the poor. As yet, none have arisen among them worthy of being appointed a Senator, but We trust that a worthy minister will arise.

And again, as Christ said, those who give food and drink to the ‘least of these’ have indeed done it for Christ himself. Therefore, We are using all Our influence to ensure that all in need will at least have food and drink. ((I’ve edited in trinket unemployment subsidies))

Finally, We have approved Senator Theodosio to hold a meeting of the representatives of the world’s workers in the hopes that they can find us ways of addressing the issues of our modern times.

Now, Senators, We would hear your input.

1: Luke 14:11a
2: Mark 10:43-44
3: Matthew 25:40

Empress, I thank you for your recognition and approval, and praise greatly your reminder of the Senate of the ideas our Savior espoused. Our Savior broke bread with prostitutes and lepers, and it would do the Empire much good if the Senate recognized what this implied.

I greatly praise the Empress for her transition of the official bureaucracy to Socialist hands, this will do the Empire great good, as will the new subsidies to those unemployed. Nobody should starve in the streets of the City of Cities.

As for my meeting, I shall elaborate again. In just under one year’s time, what I call The Internationale shall be held. Communists and Socialists from across the globe are invited to attend, to help arrive at a plan for the transition of The Empire, and in my opinion, one that does not involve further violence. All Senators, and indeed you yourself, my Empress, are welcome to attend, however only those who espouse Socialist beliefs will be given a position to speak, apart from the Empress. I am allowing the Empress to attend and speak so that she might come to a full understanding of the state of Socialist and Communist thought in the world as it currently exists, she may also ask any questions she has, so that we no longer have to worry about the issue of misinterpretation.

On a more personal note, the doctors say that my wounds should be healed sufficiently to attend Senate myself within a month. I would ask that a ramp be installed in the Senate, as I and stairs no longer get along.

I remain, Nicodemo Theodosio


The last business for this session is to confirm the current appointments. They are as follows:

Foreign minister – Senator Moustakas
Minister of security – Senator Doukas
Minister of intelligence – Senator Favero
Chief of Staff – Senator Αιδεν Στήβεν
Chief of the Army – Nicodemo Theodosio
Chief of the Navy – Senator Alexander Smithereens

(North) Africa – Alexios Damaskinos
Armenia – Julian Leon
Asia – Constantine Panaretos
Britannia – Andronikos Palaiologos
Dalmatia – Mikael Moustakas
Egypt – Marcos Alexandros
Macedonia – Ioannes Angelos
Naples – Nestorius Septiadis
Raetia – Columba Comminus
Sicily – Alexander Smithereens
Syria – Alexios Doukas
Brittany – Στήβεν Γκρέυ
Catalonia – Magnus Kvensson
Italy – Leonardo Favero
Spain – Nicodemo Theodosio

Has any Senator been neglected, or would any Senator prefer to govern a different province? The following provinces have no Senatorial governor:

New Zealand
South Africa

As well, We still need an armament minister, if any Senator desires the job.

“Sebaste Basilissa, I would highly recommend that the Imperial family retain the governance of Thrakia for themselves.  The land around the City is of prime important to the Porphyry Throne.”

Excuse me my empress but my father, Andronikos Palaiologos is dead. He recommended me to continue on with the governorship of Britannia.

-Ambrosio Palaiologos

Greetings, Your Imperial Highness.  I hope you are doing well.  In his will, my father entrusted all of his titles and positions to me, as he would not risk such a traitor as my brother to sit on the Senate.  Before the attack, he had recommended that I continue as Governor of Syria-Palestina.  Unlike my traitorous brother, may he rot in hell with all traitors to the Empire, I shall serve you loyally and to the best of my ability.

First of all, I must say I am glad to be back in this beautiful room, despite the events that have tarnished it partially in my and others’ minds. I would offer a slight explanation for something before I begin with the issues to address today; the boy assisting me with my notes and pushing me around is my son, Felix. He has a bit of a mind for politics it seems, so I thought I would allow him to assist me today. If there are any concerns about this, I will of course use the assistant originally provided by the Empress. Now then, to more pressing issues.

As my position as Chief of the Army has just been affirmed, I will elaborate on my views of the goals and purposes of the Legions. I myself served for several years, and I am happy to have some influence over the direction of an institution I fundamentally respect, if disagree with others to its purpose. I will state now, in perfect clarity: the purpose of the Legions is not offensive, and will not be as long as I serve in this position. The Legion keeps the peace, and it is ready to defend us should our enemies strike, that is its purpose. I will pursue a specifically defensive doctrine, expanding fortifications of key locations and borders with worrisome powers, as well as encouraging further research into both military tactics and fortifications. We have seen the Empire fall close to ruin too often, and we must be prepared for any eventuality. As a direct response to the actions that occurred here, we shall reinforce government buildings to act as bulwarks in the event of such internal violence. This will also be carried out in other major administrative and population centers. I also would pursue an increase in the size of the Scholai Palatinae, they are the first defense in the event of a coup attempt, and must be able to defend the City of Cities. They have failed in this task on multiple occasions, and to great danger to the Empire, this will not continue to stand.

Now, on to matters of the Senate.

I would agree, direct control over a state enclave is paramount to the safety of the Imperial government housed within it. No single person’s ambition should have reign over such a crucial region.

And welcome the honorable Senator, and would remind us all that the actions that took place were not one of his family. The actions that took place were formed in the mind of a madman, and should not affect how we treat and address the rest of his family. Despite our political disagreements, your father was a good Senator, and a good man. While I hope we may find more common ground, it does not change that he was a hero, and one with a legacy you should be proud of.

-Nicodemo Theodosio

My empress, i propose appointing me as the governor of Australia or South Africa. I have created many economic development projects for both areas with my brother Professor Eric at the Imperial University. Along with this I will answer any questions about my absence during the imperial coup. Also I would like to welcome any new senators and bless them in their new roles among our glorious empire. Thank you.
– Senator Magnus Kvensson

Apologies for my lateness Senators I’m afraid I had a rather rough night. However having reviewed the discussion before me I have the following to say.

Firstly I would like to welcome the latest arrival to our sacred congregation you may rest assured that whatever the crimes of your brother I’m sure I speak for all of us when I say that you are not your brother and none of us will hold his actions against you.

Secondly I would agree with the Other Senators that Thrakia remain ab imperial holding under the direct control of the crown. I hardly think it would be appropriate for the Queen of cities to be under the direct control of anyone else aside your majesty.  (Though I would not object to power being delegated but not to the extent of that of a Governor)

Thirdly in light of recent events security in and around the city is paramount. In the events of that dark day I was able to experience the frankly horrendous nature of the city’s defenses and must ask that they be restored and improved immediately.

Fourthly I would strongly recommend the establishment of a permanent and strong city garrison that cannot be moved from the city under any circumstances. I am also wiling to contribute my guard until a suitable unit/force can be drawn up.

Fifthly and most importantly… (pause for effect)…

I must now direct your attention to the matter of a new set of doors in the hall where her Majesty addresses us during those great occasions when we all have a chance to meet. I have had several designs by some of the most respected artisans in the city drawn up and present them to you for your approval.

We (that is me and my men) are also pleased to report we have completely refurbished the Sacred Palace having finished all cleaning and structural works all that is missing now is furnishing suitable to shuch a place. Mosaics frescoes and windows have all been restored to the best of our knowledge you are free to visit at any time and any contributions are welcome.

Fellow senators, thank you for your support.  It is very appreciated.

I would also agree that Thema Thrakia remain under the direct administration of the Empress and her government.  As some have already stated, it would be inappropriate for anyone but the Empress to directly administer the City of the World’s Desire and the regions surrounding it.  It would also prevent any person appointed as governor of Thrakia from easily staging a coup and claiming the throne.

I would highly recommend that the walls of the city be brought up to modern standards.  The Theodosian Walls have stood for centuries and have guarded against barbarians, Arabs, Seljuks, and other invaders in that time.  However, in this age of guns and artillery capable of shooting through thick walls like watermelons, I fear that they will become fully obsolete if not a hindrance to our ability to defend the city.  To this end I am willing to invest some funds to repair the walls to their former strength, add in turrets for the new “machine guns” the boys over at the Imperial University and School of War have developed (they would make really good defensive weapons, I believe), and build platforms where artillery can be positioned to protect against any assault on the city.

~Michael Doukas

I second the motion for the improved defense’s of the capital. However, i believe that we should use more than the Imperial University and College of War. If I may I would like for the senate to hire Vanir Industries, a very reliable defense company that I have had the pleasure of working with in the past. I think this would result in a good balance between pushing our new socialist policies while also not angering our capitalist citizens.
– Senator Magnus Kvensson

I would call for a full accounting and description of Vanir Industries before we even consider contracting such important work to them. Avoiding a capitalist military-industrial complex forming in this Empire is of great priority to me. I have heard of the damage it has brought upon other nations around the globe.

~Nicodemo Theodosio

to her majesty
i would like to thank you for appointing me as head of the imperial navy i would also like to request a detail breakdown of our navy by ships type since it seems someone forgot to send me any reports about the navy

-Senator Alexander Smithereens

To Senator Theodosio,
I understand your concern of managing the military industrial complex in the empire, but I have discussed the possibility with the senior chairmen of the company and they will happily accept any amount of responsibility in the defense of the Imperial capital. It is entirely dependent on how much her majesty would like for the company to be involved in the construction of fortifications.

As for Vanir Industries, it was a defense research company that was a branch of my father’s business, The Aesir Corporation. The Vanir branch in particular has grown in popularity in many border themes and provinces, it has also become one of the more advance military tech companies in the Empire. They are even funding a new school of siege in the Imperial College of War.

Aesir was started by Father, Jon Kvensson and other businessmen and researchers who were veterans from the Varangian Guard who still wanted to live in the Empire and help it prosper. Aesir Corporation is currently sporting two businesses, one being Vanir and the other is Long Ship Enterprises, a infrastructure-centered company that mainly interacts with locomotive transportation. Aesir is also starting to expand into the medical field as well.

Hopefully this will satisfy the Senate and Empress about any further about Vanir Industries and the Aesir Corporation in the future.
– Senator Magnus Kvensson

“Perhaps the Patriarch of Constantinople would be rather offended to hear that the Empress and the Senate had decided to vest considerable power and influence in corporations named after pagan deities from the distant north.  I think we should decline.”

I will continue to strongly oppose any such deal, as it is unnecessary to put them in charge of any such projects. In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We can continue to purchase arms from them, of course, but I refuse to allow such important work to be subcontracted.

I have not spent the last decade fighting against corporate influence just to turn over an essential project to their hands, especially after just having authority delegated to me to deal with these situations. I will defer to the Empress if she believes this has some merit, but I oppose this.

~Nicodemo Theodosio


We apologize for the confusion in Our records. We hope you can understand.

Senator Palaiologos, We have updated the records to show that you, and not you father, are the governor of Britannia. Senator Doukas, We do not at all condemn you for your borther’s actions. And We reconfirm your family’s titles. Senator Theodosio, We are pleased at the rate of your recovery, and We agree with your military plans. As well, We welcome Felix to the session. Felix, you do your family, the Senate, and the Empire proud by your assisting your father.  Senator Kvensson, We shall reassign you to Austrialia. South Africa is yet colonial in governance, so We expect you could accomplish more in Australia. Senator Comminus,  your work restoring the palace has been excellent, and We would be well pleased to have you review and update The City’s defenses.

Senator Smithereens, the navy is thus:
West Fleet – 21 Ironclads, stationed in Faro (near the Strait of Gibraltar)
Light Fleet – 20 Commerce Raiders, stationed in the Canary Islands
East Fleet – 20 Ironclads, stationed in Marsa Alam (on the Red Sea)
Transports – 20 Steam Transports, stationed in Üsküdar (just across the Hellespont from Constantinople)
Africa Transports – 20 Steam Transports, stationed in Durban (South Africa)
America Transports – 20 Steam Transports, stationed in Georgetown (South America)
Red Sea Transports – 20 Steam Transports, stationed in Ras Gharib (on the Red Sea)
South East Asia Transports – 20 Steam Transports, stationed in Batavia (Java)
1st Fleet – Any unassigned Steam Transports (currently 20), stationed in Üsküdar (just across the Hellespont from Constantinople)

Senator Kvensson, thank you for suggesting Vanir industries. However, We anticipate few major contracts in the near future. But if there are any, they will be strongly considered.

Finally, as many have recommended, We shall hold Thracia within the royal family. Prince Alvértos shall govern it so that he can gain experience in leadership. As well, We shall increase the size of the Scholai Palatinae to be a full legion so that they can properly guard The City.

These are Our current notes on appointments. Are they correct? Do any Senators wish the role of Armaments minister? And are there any further concerns from the Senate?

Foreign minister – Senator Moustakas
Minister of security – Senator Doukas
Minister of intelligence – Senator Favero
Chief of Staff – Senator Αιδεν Στήβεν
Chief of the Army – Nicodemo Theodosio
Chief of the Navy – Senator Alexander Smithereens

(North) Africa – Alexios Damaskinos
Armenia – Julian Leon
Asia – Constantine Panaretos
Britannia – Ambrosio Palaiologos
Dalmatia – Mikael Moustakas
Egypt – Marcos Alexandros
Macedonia – Ioannes Angelos
Naples – Nestorius Septiadis
Raetia – Columba Comminus
Sicily – Alexander Smithereens
Syria – Michael Konstantios Doukas
Thracia – Prince Alvértos Doukas
Australia – Magnus Kvensson
Brittany – Στήβεν Γκρέυ
Italy – Leonardo Favero
Spain – Nicodemo Theodosio

(minor governors)
New Zealand
South Africa

The Navy is not my area of expertise, Empress, but I question why all of our transport fleets are utterly unguarded by actual combat ships. Surely this could be disastrous if war broke out, with the possibility of entire legions being sunk with the unarmed transports? I defer to Senator Smithereens, of course, but I am sure we can afford and support a larger navy, or at least a better distributed one.

Also, what is this “Belgium” you speak of Empress? I have never heard of any such culture as “Belgian”.

~Nicodemo Theodosio

My Empress, there has to be mistake, as my father, Alexios Damaskinos is listed as governor of Africa. As we all know I was appointed by him as his successor.

– Senator Alexandros Damaskinos

Senator Theodosio, that is an insightful observation. This demonstrates the former lack of ministers was a mistake. We shall see what recommendations Senator Smithereens has for the navy.

And We feel that We should give you specifics on the Legions. There are currently twenty-three legions, each consisting of two cohorts of hussars, eight cohorts of artillery, two cohorts of engineers, and eight cohorts of infantry. Those along the former border with Bavaria are subdivided into two forces.

They are positioned as follows:
I. Legio – Antioch
II. Legio – Adygei (north of the Caucuses, near the Russian border)
IV. Legio – Edessa (Macedonia)
VI. Legio – La Rochelle (western Gaul)
VII. Legio – Manchester (Britannia)
IX. Legio – Tangier
X. Legio – Aachen (northern Burgundy)
XI. Legio – Batavia (Java)
XII. Legio – Luanda (central Africa)
XV. Legio – Georgetown (South America)
XVI. Legio – Durban (south Africa)
XVII. Legio – Tunis (north Africa)
XIX. Legio – Cairo
XXIII. Legio – Judenburg/Innsbruck
XXIV. Legio – Galatai (near the Ukraine border)
XXV. Legio – Rome
XXVI. Legio – Barcelona
XXVII. Legio – Kaiserlautern/Graz
XXVIII. Legio – Zurich/Bregenz
XXIX. Legio – Salzburg/Sopron
XXX. Legio – basel/Strausburg
XXXI. Legio – Madrid
XXXII. Legio – Sassandra (west Africa)

Finally, the Scholai Paltinae consists of three cohorts of Cuirassars (the Athenian, Roman, and Constaninoplian Lancers), and one cohort of guards.

As for Belgium, it seems that the Flemish and Walloon peoples of northeastern Gaul have forged a united identity. They themselves chose the name Belgium, though We know not why.

Senator Damaskinos, Our records are being corrected even now. Thank you for bringing this oversight to Our attention.

I have a few questions/suggestions about the current setup. First, are the Legions in Africa entirely necessary? I count a total of 360,000 deployed troops there, the stacks there could likely be broken up into half size and spread out to effect the rebellion prevention that is the intention. I would maintain the full Legions in Tunis and Cairo though, as they are important cities in the Empire. For more specifics, I might remove Legio IX from Tangier and redeploy them to a more needing area, perhaps the Russian border? I see Russia and Germany as the two most likely nations to pursue aggression, and a full garrison on the Russian border in such a core region as the Caucasus, only a few hundred kilometers from our capital, seems very relevant. As rebel forces in the African colonies seem unlikely to generate very large forces, if only just due to the lack of political awareness there, splitting the Legions located there and spreading them out would seem the most efficient way to deal with the situation. I do not, however, know the status of rail infrastructure or of the fortifications of key cities and naval bases in Africa. I would appreciate more information on this subject to come to a decision on most defensive deployment.

Otherwise I am happy with the current deployment of troops, however I would also request information about the total amount of sustainable regiments, as not only does the Scholai Palatinae need to be expanded, so might the rest of the armed forces. As we are no longer allowing the Scholai Palatinae to leave their post as protectors of The City of World’s Desire, a new Legion should be raised for expeditionary purposes. I would propose the transfer of the current Scholai Palatinae to this new Legion, as it would serve their skills more than defense. While they have failed their purpose as defensive troops, they have shown their mettle in exploration and such, and should be repurposed to this task.

For the new Scholai Palatinae, I advise the replacement of the standard two engineer cohorts with artillery, we will have no need of their skills at breaking defenses in the event of their use. I also advise the usage of standard infantry rather than guards, as guards, despite their name, are more suited for offense. I also would use Cuirassiers for this Legion instead of Hussars, as Cuirassiers are more skilled in defense in general, even if the current Lancers have not shown this.

A note for all Senators: the total count of soldiers in service to the Legions of the Empire is 1,392,000, a truly magnificent force. I believe it might easily swell to 1.5 million with new expansions though.

~Nicodemo Theodosio


Allowing for the budget and manpower, how many legions could we have in the field without running a loss?

Αιδεν Στήβεν

Senator Theodosio, your analysis is apt, as always. When it comes to the Empire’s manpower, there are 462 fielded cohorts, and the manpower to fully support 904. As for Africa, all railroads that can be built have been built, though in the central African jungles that is little enough railroad. No fortifications have been built in Africa during Our reign, but the ones along the Egyptian border with Ethiopia.

to her majesty

i would like to request more professional troops to ensure the security of my county the current troops have not experience and would certainly have  a hard time against a well lead professional army plus my appointment as head of the navy  causes me to have to keep a number of my current troops as bodyguards since a s a high ranking member of the government it makes me a target.

Alexander smithereens

My recommendations hold then. My only additions would be the construction of fortifications in any province that has a naval base, due to the strategic importance of those bases.

I am not sure about the necessity of raising a large number of additional troops, I would support perhaps an additional Legion or two beyond the new Scholai Palatinae, for the purposes of garrisoning the Russian border similarly to the way the German one is, but already our forces FAR outnumber any other professional army on the planet. With the defensive footing I am suggesting, there should never be a situation where an outside force can overwhelm us.

I would ask the honorable Senator his opinions on our transport fleets lacking any escorts, it seems possibly catastrophic in my mind.

~Nicodemo Theodosio


As always, thank you for your time.

The Empire Strikes Back 94 – The Imperial Census


The census is now ready.

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Let us start in the north, in Britannia. When Brazil was traded to England for them to cede their claims on Britain, most of the staunchly English peoples emigrated to England’s New World territories. Those that remained took up Greek customs over the years, and now the only significant population of English-speakers are centered around London and Canterbury, which they dominate. In the north of England, there are populations of Norwegians dating from their domination of the island, and a sizable population of Scots in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Southern and western Wales hold to their roots, whereas northern Wales has assimilated to Greek culture. The island of Britannia is considered two provinces: Britannia and Wales. In all, 6.85 Million people live on Britain.

Next, Gallia. In the low countries to the northeast, the Flemish dominate in the Eindhoven region and Vlaanderen. To their south, in the western half of Wallonie and the inland portions of Picardie, are the Walloon peoples. In the rest of Picardie, nearly all of Champagne, all of Ile de France, most of Normandy, and a little of Loire, are the Franks. The northern part of Brittany is filled with Bretons. In the south, particularly Aquitaine, Poitou, Le Midi, and Provence, are the Aquitaine peoples. They also are the main population of Lyon. And much of the eastern Gaulish lands are ruled by a Germanic people who consider themselves Burgundian. Much of Gaul is predominately Greek-speaking, and the regions that are not have significant Greek populations. Gallia is considered to be five provinces: Aquitaine, Belgium, Brittany, Burgundy, and France. In all, 15.51 million people live in Gaul.

Iberia is primarily Castilian, with significant Andalusian populations along the southern and eastern coasts and inland. North along the Pyrenees many of the people have taken to Green customs. On the coast of Catalonia is another significant population of Aquitaine people, and in the northeast there are Basque people still holding to their ancient ways. The Iberian peninsula is considered two provinces: Catalonia and Spain. In all, 6.00 million people live in Iberia.

Almost all of the Italian peninsula adopted Greek long ago. But in the northern half there are significant populations of Italians, with some German communities as well. The Italian peninsula is considered to be three provinces: Italy, Naples, and Sicily. In all, 8.99 million people live on the Italian peninsula.

Raetia is a smallish province between Italy and Bavaria. As can be expected from a border province, it has significant populations of Germans, mostly in the east. Also in the east is a large community of Hungarians. In the west, it is primarily Greek. There are no major subdivisions of Raetia. In all, 1.66 million people live in Raetia.

The rest of the Empire to the Hellespont is almost entirely Greek, but for a Hungarian population in northern and western Pannonia. This vast region consists of five provinces: Dalmatia, Macedonia, Moesia, Pannonia, Thracia. In all, 10.81 million people live in this region.

East of the Hellespont is also almost entirely Greek, with Tartars and Russians north of the Caucasus Mountains on the border with Russia, and major Sephardi population in Judea. This also vast region consists of seven provinces: Asia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Judea, Syria, and Trans-Caucusia. In all, 4.98 million people live in this region.

The northern part of the continent of Africa is again mostly Greek, with scattered Berber populations, and a significant English population in the far west. This region consists of three provinces: Africa, Egypt, and Mauretania. In all, 4.43 million people live in this region.

Most of the rest of Africa does not have the bureaucracy in place to take a census. Except for the province of South Africa. In the west, South Africa is Somali, and in the east a Tartar population brackets an Oromo one. In all, 0.92 million people live in this province.

Across the Atlantic, Guyana is Greek, and the nearby islands are Caribeno and Afro-Caribeno. There are two provinces in this region: Guyana and the Caribbean Islands. In all 0.58 million people live in this region.

Oceania is a mish-mash of colonies and provinces, and did not get data back to Constantinople in time for this census. The map has been painted in the Greek colors for convenience.

If any Senators have recommendations for redrawing the provinces, or wish to govern a different province than they have been assigned, please let Us know.

Thank you, Your Higness. The taxes shall flow from Dalmatia as long as I am governor!

-Mikael Moustakas

I thank the Empress greatly for this appointment, I do hope that the governance of other regions can be transferred to their cultural kin reasonably soon however. I shall govern Hispania to the absolute best of my ability; I shall also seek to end the worrying faction that is seeking a return of a Castilian kingdom that we saw in the rebel census.

I would offer my services as Chief of Staff, if the Empress sees it fit. I would see the worrying trend of corruption amongst government officials ended. I offer myself because I am as of yet, uncorrupted by the various factions that seek to buy influence rather than earn it. Unlike most senators, who live lives of leisure in this wonderful city, I live in a modest townhome I share with my wife and son, and all income that is not needed to take care of them or myself I donate to the soup kitchens here in the City of Cities.

You have my solemn vow, that if I am granted the position, I will use it to forward your will. Regardless of my political beliefs, the corruption and excess shown by many bureaucrats needs to end, and I would seek to end it. I may prefer the working bureaucrat to the aristocrat who inherits their position, but corruption among either is unacceptable. The citizens of this Empire should work for the glory of the Empire and all its people, rather than their own personal greed.

As for military matters, while I served in the legion in my youth, it was not out of choice, rather it was to provide for my family. I am your loyal sword should you need it, and will advise to the best of my ability, but I do not know about the wisdom of any territorial expansion given the internal problems we face. Nevertheless, I am committed to serve you, and will provide any council you wish of me.

~Nicodemo Theodosio

I thank you, My Empress, for allowing me to continue to serve as Governor of Italy as my father did before me. I will ensure that the region remains quiet and prosperous.

– Senator Leonardo Favero

Thank You Empress for such glorious title that is Governor. You won’t be disappointed, I’ll make sure of that.

– Senator Alexios Damaskinos

“You have my great thanks, Megali Basilissa. The Angeloi will not disappoint the Crown.”

To Theodosio, he says, “perhaps you should retire to a monastery and sing the praises of God each day. It might suit your delicate temperament better than this place of worry and stress.”

~ Ioannes Angelos

I assure the Senator that I am quite happy with my work here, I may not have accomplished everything I set out to do yet, but I am causing change.

I would remind the Senator of a certain quote of our Lord: “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

~Nicodemo Theodosio

“We are all the product of wealth, senator, and some of us of good breeding. Let’s not pretend that you are truly representative of the working classes you profess to love so much.”

Thank you, Your Imperial Highness, for appointing me as Governor of Syria. I have served there in my youth, and I shall maintain the peace there efficiently.

~Senator Alexios Doukas, Doux of Greece and Governor of Syria

to his excellency
I would like to become the chief of the navy as well as continue to be governor of Sicily my experience as governor of this province has given me the knowledge necessary to lead our navy to victory and rule the sea.

Alexander Smithereens

I will make sure to honor my role as Governor of Naples fiercely. I thank you, my Empress.

-Nestorius Septiadis

Ioannes, Thedosio give it a rest you to you are beginning to make my brain hurt the way you to go at each other. There are times when I find myself wondering “Is it those two eminent senators at it again? Or have the Blues and Greens started yet another civil war? have you ever asked yourselves why half of us bring earmuffs to the senate even in July? Well now you know.

Augusta Magna.
I accept my appointment as the Governor of the province of Reatia it is my sincerest hope that I shall serve your Imperial Majesty and the Empire well.
Before I leave I would like to inquire on behalf of my fellow Governors precisely what territories we will be expected to govern as areas within our respective provinces. So as to avoid any confusion or unfortunate misunderstanding in the coming years.

-Columba Comminus

Thank you, Empress! Your benevolence and generosity has been shown with this gracious assignment. I will immediately take up my assignment as governor of Britannia!

-Ambrosio Palaiologo

((Private – In Alexios Doukas’s mind))
While the senators were busy discussing what would be the better names for the provincial governors, Alexios thought back to those dark days, when the Jacobin menace stormed into the city, thirty-six thousand of them. Angry peasants, unpaid soldiers, the homeless and the unemployed, all angry at the state and Church for abandoning them, outraged that they had to suffer while to them the Patriarch and Empress “swam in lakes of gold,” as one Jacobin newspaper claimed before it was shut down by the government.
Luckily Alexios was on vacation in Thessaloniki when the rebels laid siege to the Queen of Cities, but his son Konstantinos wasn’t so lucky. The Athenian Lancers were on the front lines when the rebellion began, and the three thousand lancers were swarmed by over ten thousand angry peasants, led by a Slavic-looking man with an eyepatch, who shouted that the “tyranny of the madwoman shall be crushed” to his followers.
By the time the Scholai Palatinae was forced to retreat, only a handful of Lancers had managed to fight their way out of the mob. The rest were torn to pieces, their bodies desecrated and some even offered up to the Black God by zealous converts to Ignatieff’s paganism.
Konstantinos barely made it out alive, his right leg severely injured, leaving him with a permanent limp, and his right hand (his gun hand) barely able to hold things and write, much less swing a sword or shoot a pistol. There was a burn scar over his right eye and a nasty scar running down his back from where a Jacobin used a scythe to torture him.
His son was alive, but scarred. Alexios sensed that something was wrong with his thinking after the rebellion, even ten years later. Konstantinos didn’t want to help out with his younger brother Michael’s University projects, despite promising to before the rebellion. Where he showed respect for the cultures of others he now showed hatred of all things Slavic and Jacobin. He refused to interact with anyone of the “lower classes,” the “plebeians,” not even his own servants.
Konstantinos wanted to be treated like royalty, like he was above the citizens of Rome, like he was the Emperor. But that would be treason, wouldn’t it? Alexios thought.
For the last few years, he and his men had been keeping an eye on Konstantinos and had included amendments to his will leaving his property and titles and Senatorship to Michael should Konstantinos snap, which was inevitable.
What worried Alexios was when that would occur.

The Empire Strikes Back 93 – The State of the Empire 1869-1880


Your presence is requested to a State of the Empire address at Blachernae Palace on January First, 1880.

The following newspapers are considered significant by the archivists.
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And the Senate’s world map is being updated.
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As always, feel free to send messages of concern to the palace before the address.

Bah, reactionaries. There are too many radicals in these dangerous times, from the stubborn reactionaries to the wild liberals to the crazy socialists.

Senator Andronikos Palaiologos

Congratulations on the victory over Deccan, Your Imperial Majesty.

These rebellions in Russia and Germany are indeed worrying. We can only hope this Jacobin madness does not pass on to the Empire.

I see there have been many interesting scientific developments. It is quite fascinating to learn more about the noble Archaeopteryx. Too bad that Professor Huxley has gone insane.

I believe the Minister of Justice should investigate this disturbing trend of corset-related fainting. Perhaps we should ban corsets if they are causing so much trouble for our young women. What do you think, Your Majesty?

Events in Scandinavia are somewhat alarming. I believe we should monitor the situation and ensure that the region does not undergo too much instability.

-Senator Moustakas, Foreign Minister

So…many…jacobins…I’m getting a bit old for this.

Those pesky Bavarians beat us to the source of the Nile!  (where as you may recall they promptly were massacred by the Cult)

Russian expansions is quite worrying.  We should supply training officers and weapons to the Ming in order to stop their advance into Asia.

I appreciate all of the Imperial research into these “dinosaurs,” but I don’t seem to see a single Greek scientist among them, right?

Why did the editor mention the Irish craving for the protection of the British, who barely exist?

Gender equality…does this have something to do with the corset fainting thing lately?

~Senator Doukas, Minister of Security

So we help the Unite Tribes for years and they suddenly see us as dangerous to them?  See if we help them again!

We should seek out these Doctors Cope and Marsh.  They seem both brilliant, although their bitter rivalry seems to get the better of them.  They must be brought to cooperate for scientific achievement!

I see that the interior of Africa has been tamed.  I suppose there was no doubt that the savages there would be brought under our rule eventually.

– Senator Leonardo Favero

I completely agree, Roman civilization should be spread to the savages of Africa and we should reestablish our imperial presence on the Dark Continent.


Don’t forget, the Cult has multiple strongholds there.  We must destroy them quickly lest they spread like a cancer to the rest of the world.


The editor said no such thing, Senator Doukas. The editorial said ‘Much as the Irish graciously welcomed British overlordship, the black race crave the guiding hand of whites.’. Nothing here implies that the Irish crave for the protection of the British, only that they had graciously welcomed it before. Now, as far as I recall, the Irish did no such thing, so the editor should be reprimanded for making such a claim.

-Nestorius Septiadis

A Senate historian submits a report:

I went and reviewed the historical archives. Despite a focus on Imperial history, they have some hints as to the history of Britannia.

The Irish were long dominated by the Scottish, though with many rebellions, so the conquest took hundreds of years.

It’s unclear who this newspaper article might mean by ‘the British’. The Britons were long dominated by the Anglo-Saxons, of course, who ruled England. But they were constantly harassed by other powers (the Norwegians, the Scottish, the French), before the Empire reconquered Roman Britannia. The Anglo-Saxon had taken many aspects of these cultures and fused them into their own form. The cultural melting pot of England had become a colonizing power, forming a major nation in the Brazilian region as well as many colonies elsewhere. The other colonies were eventually conquered by other powers, and Roman Brazil, mostly populated with a Romano-native peoples who still have a strong Brazilian cultural identity, was traded to England for the surrender of their claims on Britannia.

So if the article’s mention of British means the Anglo-Saxons, then it must satire about peoples who were barely able to rule themselves and eventually who were wholly displaced and their disinterest in dominating their neighbors. Perhaps making some kind of reference to the Empresses’ rulership? If it refers to the Scottish, which would be a strange use of ‘British’, then it might be serious in tone, but the Irish rebellions and the slow conquest again point towards satire. And on the off chance it refers to the Empire as ‘the British’—after all, we were the ones who civilized the land first, despite our thousand-year absence—then again it’s satirical, as the Empire never made a move to conquer any of Ireland.

In any case, the article is muddled and poorly-written. This has become frequent with the increased freedom of the press. Note as well the decreased number of papers worth archiving.

The clerk sighs, and walks off grumbling.

I recommend this Senate Historian be awarded a commendation for his fantastic research!

Senator Andronikos Palaiologos

Ah, I see now.  This makes sense.  Someone should reprimand the reporter responsible for the article!  And if the number of papers worth archiving is decreasing, what happens when that number reaches zero?


Those Jacobins overthrowing rightful governments are worrying. Especially if they do it in countries like Germany and Russia.

I am proud seeing that we’ve been victorious in so-called “Scramble for Africa”.

– Senator Alexios Damaskinos

I demand that the editor of one of the newspapers be arrested for spreading defeatism. How are we scared of Russia? We are the Roman Empire! We have the largest, most advanced army in a world and a navy to go along with it! Why are we scared of some barbaric Slavs from the east?

Senator Andronikos Palaiologos

Well perhaps instead of bring death and destruction to the Dark Continent we could bring enlightenment.

The rebellions throughout the world are the workers way of forcing new values and ideas into corrupt and failing institutions, this Senate should be aware that our very own Empire has a growing discontent between those that have and those that have not. The force of history is pushing on the pillars of the old systems and unless the Empire reforms and acknowledges the very people who bleed for her then our Empress and Empire are at risk, not just from some cult, but from a tide that will was it away and see it reborn.

Already in August 1872 we had a number of protests put down with lethal force, for shame Senator Doukas & Favero ordering the massacre of our own people. Yet still we talk about invasion here and new lands for the thirds sons of senators to lord over, perhaps we should bring our own house in order before these matters become too violent to resist.

Αιδεν Γκρέυ
Chief of Staff and Commissar of the Workers Progression Union of the Koinotita

Expel this man from the Senate immediately

-Mikael Moustakas

Ioannes Angelos says contemptuously, “perhaps we should set the senate and palace in order by removing you, senator Grey.”

If me and mine need to respresent the spirit of a modern Gracchi in this Senate so be it.

I hope members of this Senate will realise this movement will not pass and that unless the Senate members are prepared to act directly against me, I am here to stay!

Αιδεν Γκρέυ

Ioannes smiles unpleasantly.  “Given your outbursts of late, that’s a tempting proposition, but I will wait for the voice of the senate or the Basilissa first.”

Speaking of which the majority of members here have either bought or inherited their place in this Senate.

Strange people paying off officals is no basis for a system of government! Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some… farcical amount of money changing hands!

Αιδεν Γκρέυ

Well it’s certainly more legitimate than if the senators were chosen through some farcical aquatic ceremony involving some watery tart throwing a sword at potential senators.

– Senator Leonardo Favero

“A mandate from the masses?” Ioannes says with a sneer.  “Don’t make me laugh, senator.  Over a thousand years ago, the great scholar Alcuin warned the false emperor Karolomagnos against such a path, in words that yet resonate today: And those people should not be listened to who keep saying, the voice of the people is the voice of God, since the riotousness of the crowd is always very close to madness.”

He shrugs dismissively in the general direction of the entire Koinotita faction.  “He who is ignorant of history is doomed to repeat it.”

Alexios laughed.
Should we give the people to decide who rules the Empire, eventually these “elections” will devolve into a mere popularity contest in which the man who speaks the loudest and has the most money trumps everybody else!

The state derives from the person of the emperor/empress, whose authority is derived from God and tradition dating back to Augustus Caesar, not some hogwash about the masses. The Basilissa should listen to the people, but your theory of sovereignty is complete nonsense.

-Mikael Moustakas

(( In a private letter to Nicodemo Theodosio ))
Welcome to the Senate, Mr. Theodosio.  Please be careful as to how you present your views around here, as due to some recent events many of us do not like socialists.  Your point about free universal education intrigued me, as my family has always strove for such a system, though on your other points I’m afraid we differ quite significantly.

~Alexios Doukas, Minister of Security, Doux of Graecia

(( In a private letter in response ))

The recent events of which you mention can only be tied to Socialism as a whole if you insist on every “enemy” of the empire wearing the same face. The actions of both foreign states and cultists are not supported by the Party, and do not represent revolutionary activity as we encourage it. Servants to a dark god are no different than servants to a hostile state, and should be treated as such.

I do not encourage the overthrow of the Roman Empire, long may it endure, I call for its transition to a more economically centralized and efficient state. The Empire has long truly worked off the power of the bureaucrats, and the acknowledgement of the work of the proletariat in maintaining our proud nation is long overdue.

There are those among the Communists who do encourage the overthrow of the Empire and the establishment of independent nationality-based states, but I do not support those views. The dissolution of the Empire can only harm civilization, as it threw Europe into chaos when we were at our weakest. I believe in a strong Roman Empire, but one that doesn’t suppress the culture and language of its citizens. The Empire of old did not do so, and it is a product of modern Bourgeois Imperialism.

I would argue for the appointment of reasonably powerful regional governors to bring the concerns of the regions to the attention of the rest of the Empire when necessary. I would suggest that these governors be appointed from among those from the region, as opposed to further appointments of Greeks in similar positions.

Regards, Nicodemo Theodosio


First, We wish to welcome the new Senators, and to appoint Senators Favero and Doukas into their fathers’ positions. They have both proven worthy of the positions.

Second, We will update you on the royal family. Princess Louiza married John Tudor, Duke of Kent in 1871. Prince Alfrédos married Grand Duchess Maria of Ukraine in 1874. Prince Artoúros married Princess Louise Margaret of Germany in 1879. To my great sorrow, though, Princess Alíki’s family was struck was diphtheria in 1878, killing two of her children and then killing her. Of my nine children, only eight now survive. I have twenty-four living grandchildren, with an additional seven already dead.

Third, in response to your concerns:
It is true that much work in exploration and archaeology is done by non-citizens of the Empire. Our efforts have been in the military sciences, in industry, and in commerce. Matters of the humanities have been much neglected, apart from those areas of philosophy useful to the government.

As you observed, Africa has mostly come under the control of the Empire. Like Italy, Spain, Gaul, Britannia, South America, and many others, the locals are finding it to their benefit to be a part of the Imperial system and joining with glee. More on that later.

Finally, We would remind you that Senators are appointed because they are useful to the Empire. Be that as a representative of wealthy families, of aristocrats, of the bureaucracy, or as representatives of the working class. Kindly have respect for those in other social classes than your own. After all, all are equally made in the image of God, reliant on the cross, and citizens of the Empire. If need be, We can ask the Patriarch of Constantinople to give a homily on the topic.

Finally, news of the Empire.

After the last session, IV. Legio made a landing on Deccan’s west coast and marched towards the capital in Hyderabad. Before they arrived, Deccan had agreed to a peace. Nearly all of the subcontinent was in Our sphere of influence.
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At the turn of the year, the philosophers again came to request a new chair. They pointed to the success of Empiricism, and claimed that they could free logic from any but self-evident axioms. So We funded a new chair, expecting that again there would be useful benefits for the rest of the Empire. They finished their initial work with such speed that we suspect they had prepared much of it in advance, though many other advances came with time.
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When they were completed, We noted that the Legions claimed there were new guns that could provide support from fixed positions. Instead of artillery, these would be rapid firing ‘machine guns’. We ordered several arms companies to develop designs and begin equipping the Legions.
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As We added more Indian nations to Our sphere of influence, it become clear that it would a constant fight to keep them in Our sphere. So We moved to have them unite as a single nation under Our influence. That they would soon be regarded as a Great Power and be beyond Our economic influence was unexpected.
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Apart from a minor reactionary revolt, time passed peacefully.

When the machine guns had been completed, We ordered that the existing railroad designs be undated again, using the Empire’s greater iron resources unlocked by improving technology.
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And when We saw that yet another German-Bavarian war was in a stalemate, We decided to intervene. Technically Our casus belli was to humiliate Our foe, but the real reason was to soften them against their other enemies. The Legions prepared as the diplomats prepared the justifications.

And when Centurion Doukas had demonstrated that the Cult was using Africa for bases of operation, We decided that the Empire’s influence must be extended at any cost.
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Fortunately, the use of force was not necessary, and the locals were easily brought into under Imperial governance, organizing themselves under local colonial governments. Although in the west, England and Scotland competed to expand their influences, winning the coast and competing for years over the inland areas. And in the east, Ethiopia expanded along the coasts and inland up until the African Great Lakes.

When We were ready to attack Bavaria, it was almost too late.
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The legions moved in mass across the border, while X. Legio in the north attempted to assist Germany.

When the railway designs were complete, the businessmen of the Empire took no time in upgrading the railways nearly everywhere. During a meeting with Ourselves, they pointed out that there was a great need to know how to manage a workforce scientifically. So We created a task force to learn how to do so.
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With Our help, Germany was able to annex Thuringia. But this was not the end, as their former war with Weimar had shown. They needed to escape with at least a white peace with Bavaria.
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When the scientific management task force released its first findings, We created a new task force to better understand the flaws with the capitalist system of production.
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The war with Bavaria was devastating…for them. We did not agree to a peace until they had no men under arms, no land under their control. They were able to resume control of their own lands once the peace was signed, but surely Germany and their Commonwealth allies would end that.

When the collectivist research was done, We saw the need to better support the workers of the Empire. They had jobs in increasing numbers, but these jobs did little to address the quality of their lives. Sadly, it would take time to develop the political will to make changes.
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In the meanwhile We tasked a group with better improving the methods of mining iron.
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With the success of the censored press, We decided it was not worth Our while to continue the work of censoring the papers, and thus We allowed for a free press.
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With the improved iron extraction techniques, We tasked engineers with tailoring steam engines to various jobs.
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When those had completed, We began drafting laws that would regulate the printing of money. Specific private banks would do so, not whomever pleased.
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And of course, a great many inventions developed from advances before the last address to the Senate.
During the few years of peace, We upgraded factories throughout the Empire, attempting to provide jobs for the thousands of peoples moving into the cities.
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As We have now covered events until 1875, there shall now be a short recess to discuss them and to refresh ourselves.

It is good that we live in such enlightened times.  All these new inventions and ideas surely benefit the Empire

The Indians are surely thanking us for helping them unify the subcontinent.  Let it be known that the Empire and our Empress care for those outside our border.

– Senator Leonardo Favero

We live in prospering times, yet we must not forget the common people and their efforts in getting us here.  Already we have heard rumors of Jacobins bringing down foreign governments at alarming rates, and that must not happen here.

~Senator Alexios Doukas

Your Imperial Majesty, I speak to you today to address a dire issue that is facing our Glorious Empire. Despite the increased research into collectivist economics, (a move I applaud) the class divide is only growing greater. I speak on this not to denigrate the aristocrats or plutocrats among us, but to point to an issue that will cause strife in this Empire. If the working class cannot trust the upper class to treat them as human beings, the reverse sentiment is at least understandable in its origin. The rising tide of Nationalism is also trying to subvert the ends of the Empire. To this end I must call again for the following policies, at the very least:

1. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.
2. Centralisation of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.
3. Centralisation of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State.
4. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State; the bringing into cultivation of waste-lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.
5. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of all the distinction between town and country by a more equable distribution of the populace over the country.
6. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children’s factory labour in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production.
7. The appointment of powerful regional governors for each separate nationality still distinguished in the Empire. These governors are to be selected from members of the populace, and not appointed to a Greek as has been done in previous such situations.

~Your Citizen, Senator Nicodemo Theodosio

I am glad to see Bavaria humbled. Those barbarians must be taught to respect the might of the Empire.

I am somewhat skeptical of these press “reforms” but it could be beneficial to the Empire to let all our citizens speak their mind.

-Senator Moustakas

We must seek greater trade with our Indian tributaries. Offer them the Orient while we mop up the uncivilized savages of Europe, Western Asia, the Americas, and Africa. While they take the casualties, we must exploit the situation. Let everyone obey the divine law of Rome!

-Senator Andronikos Palaiologos

“Senator, if we do not appoint Greeks to positions of power, how do we expect our ideals, society and influences to be spread properly?  All must speak (and think!) Greek in our great empire.”

-Ioannes Angelos

Am I not a non-Greek standing before you now? Do I not espouse the glory and potential of this great Empire? I speak in Greek now to speak to you all, Senators, but when I was born, I first learned Spanish. The ideals of Rome have spread to the furthest reach of the Empire and beyond. I am here as a voice for the “radicals” and I must say what the honest opinion of the citizen in the reaches of the Empire is.

That opinion, radical as it might seem, is that Rome was never a Greek Empire. Rome was an Empire for and of its people. It provided clean water, medicine, sanitation, roads, and countless other public works. The re-establishment of these projects would go a long way towards lowering public dissent and revolt.

~ Senator Nicodemo Theodosio

Ah yes but you have assimilated into Greek culture. I agree with many of your points. However, I also wish to include greater integration of Romanized minorities into the Greek culture. We must make the Empire stronger than before and that includes assimilating those who are minorities.

-Senator Andronikos Palaiologos, Duke of Nicaea

Asimilado!? Me presento ante ustedes como un romano, no un griego! Mis compatriotas sienten lo mismo que yo! Somos romanos, los griegos no!

Ahem, Senators, to call me a Greek, or assimilated, shows great disregard for the value of other cultures. The Roman Empire of old looked at each new culture it continued with interest and passion. Many of the gods on the old pagan pantheon were adopted from other cultures. The Roman Empire is not an Empire of Greeks, and continuing to pursue culturally destructive policies will lead to rebellions from nationalists. I will state this publicly now, that if I am again called an assimilated Greek, I will be happy to settle this elsewhere.

~ Senator Nicodemo Theodosio

Spoken like a radical socialist! The old order will always be defended by those who were the first Romans in this country, the Greeks! We accept every culture but we expect those cultures to follow Roman laws and Roman rules! Let the nationalists rise, our army will crush them! Rome is a massive multi- ethnic nation, I am willing to tolerate minorities but not extreme radicals. How dare you talk about paganism in the sacred Christian halls here! How dare you talk about our policies like they are destructive! How dare you talk about rebellions as a reasonable thing! I shall tolerate this as free speech but I vehemently disagree with you.

-Senator Andronikos Palaiologos, Duke of Nicaea

The old order has fallen across the world. This was a revolution of the people, not the aristocracy, and that is why the honorable Senator defends against it. He relies on an outdated institution: the aristocratic class. I kneel to the Empress! Not to you sir, never to the aristocrat class! Even here its power has been limited severely, the authority of the bureaucrats upheld. While it is not the ultimate injustice the Communists and Socialists rally against, they are the front line in the class warfare I speak of. It is them who would see all other viewpoints squashed, who would ensure that a child is never taught the language of his parents.

And while you extoll the virtue of the legion, do not forget your history, Senator. The army was involved in almost every political instability of the Roman Empire, and will continue today. I am sure if you asked the common soldier, his views would differ from yours. I wager that a large percentage of the soldiers in the Roman Empire are involved in radical groups!

Unlike the honorable Senator, I wish to maintain the borders and strength of this Empire. I merely see that refusing to accept the power the people have in our Empire is unfair and will lead to nothing but ruin. I would not see the Empire fall in my lifetime, not ever!

~ Senator Nicodemo Theodosio

Alexios sighed.

Muttering to himself so that only he can hear:
Now all we need are some ultranationalists.  We could call them…fascists?

Speaking louder:
Please, enough squabbling!  We are here to discuss the future of the Empire, not argue over who’s ideology is better than the other in serving the Empire!  We must discuss things peacefully and without argument, so that we can come to a conclusion agreed upon by all sides!  Isn’t the point of the Senate for us to work together in deciding the Empire’s path in the coming years?
We are at a crossroads, senators.  Everything is changing.  Not only are borders and technologies changing, but minds are changing.  The Empire hasn’t experienced such change since the rise of Islam in the 7th century AD.  If we don’t change now like we did then to survive, we will stumble and fall apart.  If we change too fast or too radically, we will lose ourselves and what the Empire stands for.   Now is not the time for ideological factionalism.  It is this kind of arguing that tore apart Germany and Russia and put them under the boot of the Jacobins and allowed the Cult to operate practically unmolested in foreign lands.  We absolutely cannot let that happen here.

~Alexios Doukas, Doux of Greece and Minister of Security

“Whilst I agree with Senator Doukas, I do wonder who Senator Theodosias thinks the Basilissa is, other than the matriarch of Constantinople’s greatest family.  Many of us in the palace are part of the very best families – the Angeloi and the Doukai are just two.”

-Ioannes Angelos

My Red Colleague and Trusted Friend Nicodemo,

As those of our party constantly try to impress upon the Senate the world is changing, the common person yearns for change. We see what happens when the conversatives and reactionaries think that there schemes and ploys will keep those beneath them in place yet we see how their greed blinds them and allows a new power to grow in India all cause they couldn’t control the people well enough. Even now our sister party in India makes great gains in this new state.

*Two Burly Senate Gaurds rise from their seats and attempt force Αιδεν back into his seat*

Aha, now we see the violence inherent in the system.


Αιδεν Γκρέυ

Speaking of India it is a shame that those heathens believe they are too good for Roman protection. Hopefully we will still be able to foster further economic ties and prevent the Rusians from entering the market.


I would agree on this, continuing our history of peaceful international economic cooperation is ideal.

To the honorable senator, I would encourage a little more restraint. The theories of communism espoused in less developed countries would not serve the material conditions in place here. While I would be happy to see the communists there take power, it has little effect on a nation as developed as the Empire. We must endeavor to create new lines of thought that serve to illuminate the path to revolution for a Roman.

~ Senator Nicodemo Theodosio

Do we still maintain an alliance with India or have we lost all diplomatic power in this region?

-Στήβεν Γκρέυ

I would think we are still allied with India.  We may have lost all of our influence in the region in helping with the unification process, and if we still have some influence, I believe that it will presently wither away once India reaches Great Power status, which it should probably reach within a year or two due to the resulting prestige, its extremely large population, and industrial capacity.


I am a man of the people. Each and every person is a human, I am a fierce proponent of reform. I agreed with your social reform, remember that! The aristocracy support the reactionaries, I am not a reactionary. You may call me a conservative but I am not an old fool nor a young radical. You are the man of the radical nationalists! The army was involved everywhere! The only reason we exist now and we are here now is because of the legions! Some may have radicalized but our officers will keep them in check. I wish to bring civilization to the rest of the world. You must seek the greater good!

-Andronikos Palaiologos

Ah! the Greater Good, that old adage. Generally the more money that finds its way into the Greater’s pockets the better and if you happen to do some Good on the way well, jolly good.

I submit to the Parliament a report by the Journalist Henry Mayhew on the conditions in part of my own province’s capital Londino, Londino Labour and the Londino Poor a shameful reflection on the multitudes that throng streets such as those not far from this very chamber. The squalor and depravity these unfortunates are forced to resort to to feed, clothe and shelter themselves is a sad relection on this Parliament and because of this Parliament a stain on your Imperial Highness.

I request that a Senate Committee be formed to further investigate the conditions of the poor in our 20 largest cities and what measures we can take to reduce their suffering. I would request that Senator Palaiologos be co-chair on this committee so that there is no appearence on bias.

To those members that would only look to what they stand to gain, under our parties leadership the poor would be entitled to subsidies, those subsidies would fuel greater growth in the economy as people would no longer be forced to just survive, but could educate themselves, find a home of their own and perhaps even group together to start new industries so we are not so reliant on the same few thousand capitialist elite to drive our industry. Heck perhaps it would allow the government to stop holding the hand of industry and support the people more.

“If you want the state to to improve these poor people’s lives, then clearly industry should be tasked with this matter.  Build new Greek schools to teach the glories of Rome to the poor unfortunates and build new factories so that their parents might earn their own crusts.  It is the Church that should provide charity, not the State.”

-Ioannes Angelos

Hear, hear.

-Mikael Moustakas

I agree with this. Many poor people are being oppressed by corrupt, sleazy capitalists. We need unemployment subsidies, a minimum wage, and limited safety regulations to protect those abused poor people. However, I believe reform can come from the government and it must be slow and methodical to prevent mistakes and loopholes, unlike my red colleague.

-Andronikos Palaiologos

I would be glad to offer my support towards social reform.  How can Rome claim to be the leader of the world when its people don’t have an appropriate standard of living?

~Alexios Doukas

“If dangerous conditions are harming the Empire’s productivity, then a commission should be formed to investigate these matters, but this senate is not the Holy Church and the Basilissa is not the Patriarch.  Let the Church perform charity, whilst the State ensures that none is needed.”

~ Ioannes Angelos

((Introducing Senator Columba Comminus))


Your Imperial Majesty, Your Holiness, Honourable and Eminent Senators.

My apologies for arriving late for this particular session so if you will allow a few minutes for an introduction I promise to keep it brief. (Though I have provided a longer version explaining my origins further for those of you who so wish to read it)

The origins of my family are shrouded in mystery thought to date back to the time when Rome was ruled by Kings me and my kin are said to be descended from slaves who won their freedom in the overthrow of the last king and establishment of the Republic.

Overtime we rose to a respected, but not prominent or powerful place in society. By the time of the Caesars we were a rich equestrian (and on occasion senatorial) family who migrated to Roman controlled Caledonia for what most said was at long last an aim to rise to higher positions within the Empire. But despite what you may have heard was an attempt to move to more suitable climes as the paler complexion and hair of my dynasty led to an unfortunate tendency to be almost permanently sunburnt or very heavily tanned even in the winter. Those of you who have been “Up North” as they say just South of Hadrian’s Wall will know the change suited us admirably (though sunshine is nice from time to time).

After our fellow countrymen withdrew; first from Caledonia then Britannia altogether you may have thought we would have found ourselves alone and surrounded by a hostile people.

Thankfully the natives were found to be much friendlier once we stopped lording it over them and got on rather well and soon found common ground in our love of the weather, alcohol and poking fun at those men sissy enough to wear trousers.

Over the intervening centuries my family endured a series of rises and falls from wealth and power to destitution and irrelevance. We may have been down at times but never out which is more than can be said for most families which lied in the border regions of Scotland (or indeed any region of anywhere).

Which brings us to the here and now. I myself was born some years ago in “the early days of Winter 1855” according to my Da nobody bothered to note the exact date as my mas’ 13 hours of labour had left her in a spectacularly foul mood and my Da’ hand nearly half chewed off (we are still to hear the end of it).

I lead quite an active youth studying and travelling both within and without the empire. I have studied not only various languages but also am fully qualified in matters of both Scots and Roman law (which are remarkably similar) as well as theology and history according to Glasgow, Constantine, the Gregorian and Paris Universities respectively (I must confess I am rather anti-social preferring a good night’s reading to a good night’s drinking any day) I also had the honour of enjoying a brief though largely ceremonial tenure as a junior officer in the Varangian Guard and as a navy cadet. (Celts and Anglo-Saxons have been part of the guard ever since the Vikings started raiding us. Though if you value your lives you will please ensure that the Angles are as far as possible from the Celts in the same room while sober and preferably city while not (which I regret to say the latter is the norm).

And so now after an absence of many centuries my family has asked me to come to the Queen of cities to reclaim the seat in the Senate that once belonged to us. Provided your majesty has no objections.

As for political leanings I have come primarily to represent the interests of my Family and those who live in the lands surrounding my birth so you will forgive me I hope if I do not align myself just yet.

Thioridh an-drasta and God love you

As Chief of Staff I would request that for the next senate session we have access to the current landscape of the senate, our laws both constitutional and social.

Also out current tax rates and any subsidation/tariffs for local industry, I sincerely hope that our conservative friends and refusing to the people what they provide to their rich backers and that being charity. If it is fine for the State to bankroll industry, then why we can not offer to protect those most at risk once again is an issue I must strongly bring to the Empress’ attention.

-Στήβεν Γκρέυ

“At the risk of sounding heretical, senator, the Church must be where there is need, and if the church does not free people from oppression or poverty, what purpose does it serve?”

~Ioannes Angelos

How dare you paint us conservatives with the reactionaries! The government must do more to protect the workers while promoting industry. I am not one of those old fools known as reactionaries but nor am I a red radical who achieve power through anarchy and bomb- throwing. As a Senator, I must ask the Chief of Staff why he is the Chief of Staff of the military when he is against the military?

-Andronikos Palaiologos

Have I ever praised the anarchists or the bomb-throwers? The anarchists may want what we desire eventually, a society free of capitalism and  its restrictions. We differ on methods. Most Communists advocate for revolution against the Bourgoise state, this is true. But Roman Communists see the truth of the matter: that a transition through socialism can be accomplished peacefully. The Imperial powers are known, the history of the Empire is full of examples of them. The state, should it be benevolent, should assume control until class struggles can be resolved.

I second this request, with the possible addition of some sort of census. The cultural landscape of the Empire is something I think needs to be discussed.

-Nicodemo Theodosio


While it is not yet time to resume the address, it seems some comments are in order. My clerks have quickly prepared some charts displayed on the easel here at the front of the chamber.

First is a political summary of the Empire. While the Senate is wonderfully diverse—which immensely helps in Our governing the Empire—the administrators who would implement any changes are not so. If a simple majority of them supported any given reform then it could be implemented. But only 23% of them would support social reforms at this time, and only 36% of them would support political reforms.
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Second is the latest budget information. This tends to be highly variable, as the government buys various goods in order to build naval bases and factories, or temporarily supports factories in distress so that people retain their jobs, so it may not be the best reflection of the true state of the Empire’s finances.
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Third, the Minister of Security has reported the following mass movements within the Empire.
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A census will be conducted post-haste, but the result will not be available until the next State of the Empire Address.

Also, I would remind the Senators that the Church and Our government work quite closely. If We wished for the government to provide charity to the poor, it would need be done via the Church. To do otherwise would require great changes to the administrative structure of both the Church and the government, as they are deeply intertwined.

Finally, India sadly allied with Persia recently, and as we have treaties of old with two Great Powers—Poland-Lithuania and the United Tribes of America—they are unlikely to ally with us again.

Anarchism is the epitome of social disaster. You yourself have admitted that you do not want the Emperor, you support anarchism! People will shoot each other for sport, it will be a return to the feudal peasant- hunting days!

-Andronikos Palaiologos

We do not listen to the words of Marx, except we agree that this change is destined to happen. Already we are the second largest party should those fools in the liberal party understand that their time is done we will soon control the senate.

Anarchism maybe a sideline for some in the Empire, but not for those of the party. As for us being violent our supporters that are champing for change number in the millions, yet only a fraction have become militant. Look at the last vestiges of the reactionaries, only a few 10’s of thousands yet they are far more likely to take up arms!

Whilst we would look to full sufferage as it would truely put our party as the power in the Empire, the Empress is our monarch and we will defend her to the death. However we do fully support the minimum wage, injured workers cover and a limit on the number of hours a man or woman can work in a day.

As per my previous speech I note that our poorest still pay the majority of taxes, yet receive the least protection. This can not stand.

-Στήβεν Γκρέυ

This treasonous suffrage movement should be suppressed at all costs. To defile the Senate by transforming it into a vulgar democratic body would threaten the integrity of the Empire.


The Ministry of Security will set to work suppressing all of these potential uprisings, especially the Communist one.  We have yet to determine a link with the Cult, but I am sure there is one.  How else would they have gotten this far?

~Alexios Doukas

I would point out that a large number of our soldiers are already part of radical organizations. This is likely to only grow over time. Indeed this appraisal of radicals in the empire shows the growth of the Communist movement. Those who are potentially rebels are those who are losing faith in the empire’s ability to take care of them.

As for the economic situation, if the Empress indeed wishes to lower the amount of Communist sympathizers, as many seem to, she should simply redistribute taxes to focus more on the middle and upper tiers of income. From what I’ve heard the capitalists do little useful and efficiently besides build railroads.

The goal of anarchism is the annihilation of class society, is it not? Anarchists, communists, and socialists (If they believe that socialism is a transitory state as written in most every text) all desire the end of class warfare, and the seizing of political power by the proletariat.

I support the Empress strongly, her intentions have proven benevolent, unlike many here. Her as a symbol, and as a powerful part of the government, is necessary in my opinion.

Indeed Empress, I call attention to what has always been the first demand I have made: A heavy progressive or graduated income tax. The mere fact of reality is that the less money you have, the larger percentage of it is needed to survive. The fact that the upper income brackets pay less percentage-wise than the lower is a travesty.

~Nicodemo Theodosio

I must make it known that in my opinion a graduated income tax is just not fair.
Why should the poor man pay in nothing the well to do pay say 10% and the rich pay 50%. There is absolutely no justice in this. An unlikely example I know but not impossible.
However I do believe that those not so well off within our empire do deserve some kind of tax reduction. as it must be accepted that a certain basic income is required to survive.

-Columba Comminus


Welcome back from the intermission. Many of you have brought forward various concerns, and they will be addressed at the end of the address.

When the Private Bank Money Bill Printing laws had been drafted, We allowed the Admiralty to design naval bases that could specialize in different forms of ships. Though it seemed it might be some time before any could be built, as the world was facing a great shortage of cement.
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In July of 1875, there was a much larger revolt. You no doubt remember when the Scholai Palantinae were forced to retreat and Constantinople was put to siege.
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And how XXIV. Legio assisted the Scholai Palatinae in repulsing the rebels before they came close to breaching the walls. And how the rest of the rebels were easily dispersed. Before the end of the year the last rebels had been removed.

When the naval bases were designed, We tasked a group with finding cheaper ways of making steel.
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This research also gave the Empire improved methods of extracting coal.
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While the Empire’s dye supply problems seemed to have been eased, an errant experiment with coal tar had produced a new artificial dye. The Chemistry Department at the University of Constantinople promised a new age of innovation if they were supported in their quest to understand organic chemistry. So We gave them support in this endeavor.
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In April of 1877, Germany declared war on Bavaria. We had added Germany to Our sphere of influence, and were surprised when they did not immediately ask for Our aid. We quickly signed an alliance. But when no request to join their war came, We began fabricating a reason for war with Bavaria, pointing out to the Empire’s newspapers the danger their fortifications proved, how those were a sure sign of their aggressive intentions.
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When the initial research into organic chemistry was complete (again improving the Legion’s ability to avoid disease and other attrition), We ordered the Legions to begin training junior officers in how to make decisions for themselves, which would allow them to better take advantage of changes in the battles they faced.
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The war with Bavaria lasted until April of 1878, when they agreed to dismantle their fortifications in Bayern. Germany was now positioned to crush Bavaria.
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The improved military tactics only came after the war, but that meant that the next war would be even better fought.
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We insisted the Admiralty make the same training improvements as the Legions had just done.
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We spent the following months as We had most of the time in the previous years: heavily investing in the economy to try to provide jobs for everyone, and upgrading the Empire’s naval bases. Meanwhile, the new naval training was beginning to bear fruit.
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It was in August of 1879 that England saw the beginning of a new political force: Communists. Their reach was rapidly felt everywhere.
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And meanwhile, Germany’s war with Bavaria stagnated, and it looked as though Bavaria might soon push back against them.

Blasted Jacobins and Bavarians! We are facing a determined threat to Roman culture that could destroy us if we are not vigilant.


If the honorable senators remember the examinations of rebel factions in the Empire that we underwent years ago, they pointed to this rebellion being a risk. They might also remember that the numbers of those supporting communists was 10 times larger. If that force continues to build, without some release of tension, violence is sure.

~Nicodemo Theodosio

Never forget the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest! Those savages, who were the predecessors of the Bavarians, massacred three legions there. We must seek to crush the Bavarians to atone for their crimes in that time. I am glad of our technological progress, I feel that Germany could soon be further included in the Roman Empire.

Senator Andronikos Palaiologos

This form of communism in England sounds quite repugnant.  A society without a government?  Hows does such a country even operate without falling into anarchy?  At least Roman communists have the sense to know that the Empress provides sound government and stability for the Empire.

Those damn Jacobins threatened Constantinople and put the Empress in danger.  I hope the streets of Constantinople ran red with their blood for their insolence!

– Senator Leonardo Favero

“A society without government?  Hah!  So the true motives of I Koinotita have been revealed, eh?  Then there were those rebels, even besieging the walls of the Queen of Cities, and you want to give that rabble the vote?!

“Congratulations to the Empire’s armies on their work against the Nemitzoi.  Their final, feeble effort should be crushed and they should be at last absorbed into the Empire and never dare to stand apart from Rome again!”

~ Ioannes Angelos


Given the contentiousness of the question, We shall not create a progressive tax system at this time. However, We will strive to at least create a flat tax instead of the current highly regressive tax system.

We will also continue to expand the industry so that all citizens of the Empire might find employment to provide for themselves and their families.

We are also appointing all Senators as governors of various regions for the next five year period, as such:
(North) Africa – Alexios Damaskinos
Armenia – Julian Leon
Asia – Constantine Panaretos
Britannia – Andronikos Palaiologos
Dalmatia – Mikael Moustakas
Egypt – Marcos Alexandros
Macedonia – Ioannes Angelos
Naples – Nestorius Septiadis
Raetia – Columba Comminus
Sicily – Alexander Smithereens
Syria – Alexios Doukas

Brittany – Στήβεν Γκρέυ
Italy – Leonardo Favero
Spain – Nicodemo Theodosio
Once these five years have passed, We will reevaluate who should be governors where.

The following ministries have been filled:
Foreign minister – Senator Moustakas
Minister of security – Senator Doukas
Minister of intelligence – Senator Favero

But there are several more that need filling:
Armament minister
Chief of Staff
Chief of the Army
Chief of the Navy

We are also creating a General Staff, headed by Prince Alvértos. All Senators are invited to participate in the military planning.

Finally, We will order for a census to be undertaken, and the results shared with the Senate as soon as it is complete.

Senators, thank you for your time.

Thank you, Your Higness. The taxes shall flow from Dalmatia as long as I am governor!

-Mikael Moustakas

I thank the Empress greatly for this appointment, I do hope that the governance of other regions can be transferred to their cultural kin reasonably soon however. I shall govern Hispania to the absolute best of my ability; I shall also seek to end the worrying faction that is seeking a return of a Castilian kingdom that we saw in the rebel census.

I would offer my services as Chief of Staff, if the Empress sees it fit. I would see the worrying trend of corruption amongst government officials ended. I offer myself because I am as of yet, uncorrupted by the various factions that seek to buy influence rather than earn it. Unlike most senators, who live lives of leisure in this wonderful city, I live in a modest townhome I share with my wife and son, and all income that is not needed to take care of them or myself I donate to the soup kitchens here in the City of Cities.

You have my solemn vow, that if I am granted the position, I will use it to forward your will. Regardless of my political beliefs, the corruption and excess shown by many bureaucrats needs to end, and I would seek to end it. I may prefer the working bureaucrat to the aristocrat who inherits their position, but corruption among either is unacceptable. The citizens of this Empire should work for the glory of the Empire and all its people, rather than their own personal greed.

As for military matters, while I served in the legion in my youth, it was not out of choice, rather it was to provide for my family. I am your loyal sword should you need it, and will advise to the best of my ability, but I do not know about the wisdom of any territorial expansion given the internal problems we face. Nevertheless, I am committed to serve you, and will provide any council you wish of me.

~Nicodemo Theodosio

I thank you, My Empress, for allowing me to continue to serve as Governor of Italy as my father did before me.  I will ensure that the region remains quiet and prosperous.

– Senator Leonardo Favero

Thank You Empress for such glorious title that is Governor. You won’t be disappointed, I’ll make sure of that.

– Senator Alexios Damaskinos

“You have my great thanks, Megali Basilissa.  The Angeloi will not disappoint the Crown.”

To Theodosio, he says, “perhaps you should retire to a monastery and sing the praises of God each day.  It might suit your delicate temperament better than this place of worry and stress.”

~ Ioannes Angelos

I assure the Senator that I am quite happy with my work here, I may not have accomplished everything I set out to do yet, but I am causing change.

I would remind the Senator of a certain quote of our Lord: “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

~Nicodemo Theodosio

“We are all the product of wealth, senator, and some of us of good breeding.  Let’s not pretend that you are truly representative of the working classes you profess to love so much.”

Thank you, Your Imperial Highness, for appointing me as Governor of Syria.  I have served there in my youth, and I shall maintain the peace there efficiently.

~Senator Alexios Doukas, Doux of Greece and Governor of Syria

to her excellency
I would like to become the chief of the navy as well as continue to be  governor of Sicily my experience as governor of this province has given me the knowledge necessary to lead our navy to victory and rule the sea.

Alexander Smithereens

I will make sure to honor my role as Governor of Naples fiercely. I thank you, my Empress.

-Nestorius Septiadis

Ioannes, Thedosio  give it a rest you to you are beginning to make my brain hurt the way you to go at each other. There are times when I find myself wondering “Is it those two eminent senators at it again? Or have the Blues and Greens started yet another civil war? have you ever asked yourselves why half of us bring earmuffs to the senate even in July? Well now you know.

Augusta Magna.
I accept my appointment as the Governor of the province of Reatia it is my sincerest hope that I shall serve your Imperial Majesty and the Empire well.
Before I leave I would like to inquire on behalf of my fellow Governors precisely what territories we will be expected to govern as areas within our respective provinces. So as to avoid any confusion or unfortunate misunderstanding in the coming years.

-Columba Comminus

Thank you, Empress! Your benevolence and generosity has been shown with this gracious assignment. I will immediately take up my assignment as governor of Britannia!

-Andronikos Palaiologos

((Private – In Alexios Doukas’s mind))
While the senators were busy discussing what would be the better names for the provincial governors, Alexios thought back to those dark days, when the Jacobin menace stormed into the city, thirty-six thousand of them.  Angry peasants, unpaid soldiers, the homeless and the unemployed, all angry at the state and Church for abandoning them, outraged that they had to suffer while to them the Patriarch and Empress “swam in lakes of gold,”  as one Jacobin newspaper claimed before it was shut down by the government.
Luckily Alexios was on vacation in Thessaloniki when the rebels laid siege to the Queen of Cities, but his son Konstantinos wasn’t so lucky.  The Athenian Lancers were on the front lines when the rebellion began, and the three thousand lancers were swarmed by over ten thousand angry peasants, led by a Slavic-looking man with an eyepatch, who shouted that the “tyranny of the madwoman shall be crushed” to his followers.
By the time the Scholai Palatinae was forced to retreat, only a handful of Lancers had managed to fight their way out of the mob.  The rest were torn to pieces, their bodies desecrated and some even offered up to the Black God by zealous converts to Ignatieff’s paganism.
Konstantinos barely made it out alive, his right leg severely injured, leaving him with a permanent limp, and his right hand (his gun hand) barely able to hold things and write, much less swing a sword or shoot a pistol.  There was a burn scar over his right eye and a nasty scar running down his back from where a Jacobin used a scythe to torture him.
His son was alive, but scarred.  Alexios sensed that something was wrong with his thinking after the rebellion, even ten years later.  Konstantinos didn’t want to help out with his younger brother Michael’s University projects, despite promising to before the rebellion.  Where he showed respect for the cultures of others he now showed hatred of all things Slavic and Jacobin.  He refused to interact with anyone of the “lower classes,” the “plebeians,” not even his own servants.
Konstantinos wanted to be treated like royalty, like he was above the citizens of Rome, like he was the Emperor.  But that would be treason, wouldn’t it? Alexios thought.
For the last few years, he and his men had been keeping an eye on Konstantinos and had included amendments to his will leaving his property and titles and Senatorship to Michael should Konstantinos snap, which was inevitable.
What worried Alexios was when that would occur.

The Empire Strikes Back: Interlude—Heart of Doukas

Alexios read the newspaper over and over again and then glanced over at the Imperial Order on his table. The news stated that his father, the senator who had saved the empress and the Empire from the wrath of a pagan cult, had been abducted by unknown persons. He and the other senators knew better than the partial truth they were forced to tell the common people. His father was captured by the Cult itself.
The Imperial Order, the letter accompanied by a seal with the double-headed eagle insignia of the Imperial House Doukas, ordered him to find his father and hunt down those responsible “by any means necessary.”
This was going to be a long journey. The Cult was a formidable opponent to take on, having eluded the forces of the Empire for many years ever since their initial attack on the Senate and palace on 9 May 1854. They were good at bending the minds of the people to their will without the people themselves knowing it. Already people were asking about the explosions of several ships in the harbor that had killed several innocents and thirty soldiers. It wouldn’t be long before the protests began in the forums.
His wife Anna appeared in the hallway of their house, looking quite worried. “Is it true?” she asked. “Is the Empress really sending you off around the world to find your father?”
“Yes, my dear,” he said, “It is of grave importance.”
“You just came back from that slaughterhouse in Varna!” she responded. “I feared for your life when the rebels sacked the garrison and beheaded everybody inside!”
“I’ll be fine, my dear,” replied Alexios, “I always am.”
Anna didn’t even cry. “I hope you will come back.”
Alexios arrived at the docks of the Ukrainian frigate Yehven, where the other members of the Athenian Lancers had already gathered on the decks of the old warship. Next to it was the commerce raider Konstantinos, which had just arrived from the Canaries.
After greeting his men, he gave an order to exchange all of their uniforms with merchant clothes, as the Cult would be expecting an Imperial army to be marching after them. All rifles were to be hidden, and each man would carry pistols in their inconspicuous clothes.
The ships left the harbor, sailing out of Constantinople into the Mediterranean Sea. Alexios knew the Cult wouldn’t be hiding in Russian territory; despite the fact that the Ruthenians and the Imperials were bitter enemies, both had agreed to work together on the matter of the Cult, as they were both Eastern Orthodox nations.
Before his father had left, he had posited that there was a Cult stronghold somewhere in UTA or Kanata territory which was causing the constant wars with Mexihco. But with the destruction of the last Aztec enclave in Cherokee territory, Great Chief Lincoln and his generals had sent a letter to the Ministries of Security and Intelligence stating that there was a stronghold in one of the enclaves and that it had been destroyed by UTA forces. The Aztec emperor and the chief of Kanata also affirmed that any pockets of Cult control had also been destroyed.
So if not Russia or America, then where?
There were three options: England, Asia, or Africa.
The English had control of the rainforest known as the Amazon, where nobody who had gone in had come out. However, they made sure very well that nobody went in at all.
Asia was full of lawless states, ideal for cultists to escape from central governments. But after the recent diplomatic agreements with the Celestial Empire, the Empire could project its power deep into Asia. Poland-Lithuania owned parts of Southeast Asia, and Russia owned Siberia. A Cult stronghold had been found and destroyed in the Philippines, so they wouldn’t likely relocate to the mainland.
That left only Africa–the “Heart of Darkness,” as a Polish writer in London had wrote in a recent book. It was the last place on earth that was truly wild and savage, untouched by both the West and East. While the Empire had a few military and corporate bases along the coast, those were merely outposts in a hostile environment, and nobody, not even the major African kingdoms like Mali, Ethiopia, or Kongo knew what lay in the interior of Africa.
Alexios gave the order to sail for the Kongo River region, where the rainforests were the least well known to the Empire of all of the African forests. The Cult knew that the Empire would have a hard time sending an army into the heart of Africa.
Alexios knew that. He had selected from among the Lancers those who were best suited for jungle combat. Some had fought in the Yucatan, while others had lived in Guyana. Still others had participated in Senator Favero’s invasion of the Philippines and the destruction of the Cult stronghold there, and the rest had been part of military operations in Indonesia. They were all used to fighting proficiently in rough terrain, hot and humid climates, and against unconventional enemies.
He hoped that they would be enough to rescue his father.

Alexios awoke when the Yehven’s horn blared. The two ships were approaching the port city of Brazzaville, where the Empire had an outpost ready to assist them. A lead picked up by a contact in Morocco indicated potential Cult influence in the Kongo region.
He put on his disguise and was about to stand up when there was an explosion. There was shouting in the many languages of Europe and Africa. Footsteps were heard as sailors rushed across the deck.
The Konstantinos had apparently fired upon the Yehven, which was firing back. All attempts to signal the commerce raider were in vain when somebody began raising the heads of its crew on poles out the windows.
The guns fired again, tearing holes in the wooden hull of the Ukrainian frigate. The Ukrainians tried shooting back, but the frigate was old and weak, and its guns could not pierce the commerce raider’s hull.
Alexios felt the ship list heavily to port as the bombardment from the Cult-occupied Konstantinos continued. Then there was a great jolt as the commerce raider rammed into the side of the frigate.
Peering above deck, Alexios and his men watched as cultists streamed onto the Yehven’s deck, using scythes and barbed blades to mercilessly behead and dismember any sailors who stepped in their way.
“Sir, what do we do?” Ioannes asked.
“We can’t fight them,” said Alexios, “This is their territory. We jump the ship and head to shore. Blow up the frigate.”
“Yes, sir,” said Loukas, dropping some explosives in the gunpowder reserves and boiler room.
The Lancers took everything they needed and escaped the ship by jumping out some holes in the starboard side. A well placed bomb in the boiler room then detonated, killing the cultists and destroying both of the ships.
Alexios and his men washed up on the beach near Brazzaville. Nobody in the city had seen them yet, which was good, as he assumed that the Cult has also infiltrated the city. They had to get to the river without anyone noticing and then follow it upstream.
Luckily, he realized that a branch of the river was just nearby, along with a steamboat conveniently moored there…

Far up the Congo River, in terra incognita

The Athenian Lancers watched as the Kongo natives advanced on them from all directions, armed with crude spears and wearing little more than loincloths.
Alexios ordered his tired and exhausted men to retreat to the steamboat moored at the riverside, their (empty) pistols raised at the enemy. Ioannes and Loukas, both of whom had a rudimentary knowledge of native languages, desperately shouted at the natives to stop.
How did they fall into this trap? he wondered. Well, they made the journey upriver, following native accounts of a white “Lord Dooku” deep in the jungle somewhere. Eventually they found what appeared to be an old hut which was built on top of an elaborate prison-like structure. There were signs of a struggle but no bodies at all. Farther up the river they found the bodies of numerous Cultists, killed by gunshots or stab wounds. And then they came to a native village where Alexios was sure his father was staying. He was stupid enough to fall into the trap the native savages had sprung. Clever men, they were, despite their savagery, he thought.
There was a shout of a white man from the village, and the natives halted their advances. There was a Greek accent to that voice, Alexios realized.
Natives emerged from one of the buildings, carrying an old and frail white man on a stretcher towards them. It was his father, almost unrecognizable now. Somehow he had managed to escape the Cult and come here to the natives.
“Father!” he shouted.
Nikephoros didn’t respond. He was too weak to speak, having used up his energy on the shout. He was also very old now.
The natives set down the stretcher in front of the Lancers and pointed at the steamboat, intending them to leave quickly. Shouting some orders to his men, they carried Alexios’s father back to the ship, where Ioannes floored the throttle in reverse.
The brown current ran swiftly out of the heart of darkness, bearing them down towards the sea with twice the speed of their upward progress; and Nikephoros’s life was running swiftly, too, ebbing, ebbing out of his heart into the sea of inexorable time. Alexios was, so to speak, numbered with the dead. It wqs strange how he accepted this unforeseen partnership, that choice of nightmares forced upon him in the tenebrous land invaded by those mean and greedy phantoms.
Nikephoros discoursed. A voice! a voice! Alexios thought. It rang deep to the very last. It survived his strength to hide in the magnificent folds of eloquence the barren darkness of his heart. Oh, he struggled! he struggled! The wastes of his weary brain were haunted by shadowy images now—images of wealth and fame, the destruction of the Cult, revolving obsequiously round his unextinguishable gift of noble and lofty expression. My son, my station, my career, my ideas—those were the subjects for the occasional utterances of elevated sentiments. The shade of the original Nikephoros, the respected and noble senator, frequented the bedside of the hollow sham, whose fate it was to be buried presently in the mould of primeval earth. But both the diabolic love and the unearthly hate of the mysteries it had penetrated fought for the possession of that soul satiated with primitive emotions, avid of lying fame, of sham distinction, of all the appearances of success and power, of his drive to destroy the Cult with his dying breath. And he had, somewhat; there was a Cult stronghold here in the Kongo, and Nikephoros had managed to escape before he could be sacrificed. He then returned at the head of a native army and destroyed the stronghold, forcing the Cult to flee even farther inland, where nobody, not even the natives of the Kongo, ever went. The interior was even more unknown to the Empire than the Kongo River region.
The days passed. They chugged down the river, past ruined settlements built by both natives and the Empire, past trading posts built by the Kongolese government, and other stuff. And Nikephoros’s condition got worse and worse.
He was an impenetrable darkness. Alexios looked at him as one peers down at a man who is lying at the bottom of a precipice where the sun never shines. But Alexios had not much time to give him, because he was helping the engine–driver Lancer to take to pieces the leaky cylinders, to straighten a bent connecting–rod, and in other such matters, for the steamboat had broken down.
One evening, Alexios was startled to hear him say a little tremulously, “I am lying here in the dark waiting for death.” The light was within a foot of his eyes.

The old and broken senator cried in a whisper at some image, at some vision—he cried out twice, a cry that was no more than a breath:

“The horror! The horror!”

Alexios blew the candles out and left the cabin so that his father could had some peace. The pilgrims were dining in the mess–room, and he took his place opposite Loukas, who lifted his eyes to give Alexios a questioning glance, which he successfully ignored. Loukas leaned back, serene, with that peculiar smile of his sealing the unexpressed depths of his meanness. A continuous shower of small flies streamed upon the lamp, upon the cloth, upon the Lancers’ hands and faces. Suddenly Loukas’s native servant boy put his insolent black head in the doorway, and said in a tone of scathing contempt:

“Mistah Dooku—he dead.”

All of the Lancers rushed out to see. There was a lamp in there—light—and outside it was so beastly, beastly dark. The voice was gone. What else had been there?

Nikephoros Doukas, the Bringer of Victory, the Duke, Doux of Thema Greece, Imperial Senator, was dead.

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