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.

The Empire Strikes Back 92 – The State of the Empire 1860 – 1869

Senators, your presence is requested for a State of the Empire Address at Blachernae Palace on the First of September, 1869.

The following newspapers are considered significant by the archivists.

And the Senate’s world map is being updated.

I cannot wait to visit the excavated cities of Pompeii and Herculaneam. It will truly be a wonder to see how our forefathers lived.

The rise of this “socialism” greatly concerns me. What else could we expect from those American heathens? I am glad to see that Chief Lincoln survived an assassination attempt, however.

These so-called “dinosaurs” intrigue me, particularly the Archaeopteryx.

-Senator Moustakas

Ah, Pompeii! My daughter has spent much of her adult life excavating tombs in Egypt with her husband. I’m sure she and her husband will be delighted to excavate a city of the First Empire.
I’ve met High Chief Lincoln one time. He always had a reputation for being a just and fair man.
Archaeopteryx and Compsognathus…I’ll let my brother know about it. He’s always fascinated in these “dinosaurs.”
So we will finally get that education reform that the Foederatoi has been seeking. The Empire’s youth will flourish!
As for “socialism,” while I do agree with some of their values, I fear that some may take it to the extreme in the long term, capable of posing a threat to the Empire and other monarchies.
I am genuinely worried about the rebellions and revolutions taking place both within and without of our borders. Your Imperial Highness, I am in the process of writing a report detailing rebel activities and any possible sightings of the Cult. Would you mind privately showing me the relevant military reports?

~Senator Doukas, Minister of Security, Doux of Thema Graecia, Head of the Chi Files

It is indeed a majestic creature, from what I have heard, and would look excellent represented on a flag. This Meyer family must be incredibly proud of their discovery.

I have seen the most outrageous sight when travelling through the capital yesterday. There were women riding these strange contraptions called bicycles with their ankles exposed for all to see. Their ankles! The lustful looks on some of the younger men who witnessed this sight were quite disturbing. These women must learn some modesty.

A canal through the Suez? Who would have imagines such a feat of engineering even decades ago. We truly live in enlightened times.

This socialism sounds dangerous. Granting too much power to the common people is just asking for trouble.

– Senator Michelangelo “the Artist” Favero

Perhaps we can use these “bicycles” in the legions of the Empire? Think of it…a portable short-range transportation vehicle, capable of carrying a man and his gear over moderate terrain.
Yes, we must watch these “socialists” carefully, as they have the potential to stir up a lot of trouble.


The socialists are a symptom of the minorities. We must grant the aristocrats more power to combat such revolutionary, plebian tendencies. Let the aristocrats vote in the upper house and we will crush the lower classes. Look at the world, embroiled in war. We must puppet those nations to ensure worldwide peace! Let the Empire become strong!

– Senator Andronikos Palaiologos , Duke of Nicaea

It is quite fortunate that fire brigades have been established in case another catastrophe strikes the capital.

-Senator Moustakas

Senator Palaiologos, sir,
While I do agree with your statement about the socialists, I am not sure how that is related to puppeting the entirety of the world. How would we even accomplish that? I’m sure that the Empire, as the just and honest broker that it surely is, can resolve other nations’ disputes through peaceful diplomacy.

Yes, we won’t have to call in the army every time in that case!


Nikephoros stands up. His servants pass out files to the other senators.

To those of you just joining us, I shall give a brief introduction of what I am about to discuss. Surely you know of the terrorist attack on the Senate on May 9, 1854, in which the Empress and the Ecumenical Patriarch were almost killed. That attack was carried out by a radical savage Russian pagan cult, whose aim is to tear the Empire apart from the inside while also provoking a war with the other Great Power, thereby slaughtering and sacrificing thousands or even millions to their Dark Gods. As the newly appointed Minister of Security, it has been my goal to track down and ultimately defeat this cult, with this file being the latest on the Cult’s activities.

There were small rebellions taking place across the Empire, recently. Several thousand peasants, disgruntled with their state of living, were provoked by a certain Slavic-looking individual wearing an eye-patch into rising up against the Empire. Of course, they were crushed, but the man who orchestrated the whole rebellion managed to escape yet again. Perhaps he is somehow linked to the reactionary revolutions shaking the rest of the world?

In the past, my friend Senator Favero, Minister of Intelligence, found a Cult stronghold in the Philippines which was quickly destroyed. I am pleased to say that I have conclusive evidence that there is a similar Cult stronghold somewhere in eastern Kanata, near the “Great Lakes,” and the members of this branch have been inciting hostilities between the United Cherokee Tribes of America and the Aztec Empire of Mexihco for the last few years. Think about it. Why are the Cherokee settling for random bits of land, creating isolated pockets of Mexihcans and causing incidents in which Imperial cartographers gouged their eyes out, instead of at once taking all of the land as demanded by the “Manifest Destiny” the great Chief Lincoln espoused? There has to be something going on there.

So a few months ago, I personally accompanied a Cherokee expedition into one of these isolated pockets of Mexihco. You can read the mission reports in the file I gave you. Yes, that is a [CLASSIFIED] label at the top, and I had to go through at least a dozen different offices to get all of the [REDACTED] labels removed just for me to read, not to mention release it to the entirety of the Senate. What we found in the isolated land was so gruesome that we ended up censoring most of the report, as evident by the [REDACTED] labels.

While the Cherokee do not generally care about their citizens’ faiths, the Cult was actively working in those isolated pockets to encourage human sacrifice to the Dark Gods, specifically those in pagan Aztec and Russian pantheons. When they discovered us…it was not pretty. They butchered one poor guy right in front of us before we managed to escape, his heart carved out and offered to the Dark God right in front of me. We estimated that probably thousands had already been sacrificed to the Dark Gods by the time we escaped back to Cherokee territory, and it’s still going on right now. Mexihco can’t do anything about it, as they’ve been cut off from the territories in question. I recommend that we take action quickly; destroy the Cult stronghold on the continent and end their suffering.

That is all. Any questions?

~Senator Doukas, Minister of Security

I agree, making the world bow to our direct rule is impractical. Instead, we should set up a tributary system just like in the First Golden Age of the Empire under Justinian. THey will pay homage and give us tribute, providing troops of course as auxiliaries, while we protect them from foreign influence. But if this fails, war is the only option. We will establish friendly nations on countries that border us as a buffer zone. What happens if the Slavic Barbarians invade again? We need to fight wars on foreign soil, not on our sacred land. War destroys our infrastructure.

-Andronikos Palaiologos

I can’t understand your concern about those “socialists”, Senators. Why are we even discussing them? They won’t receive any significant support in future and propably go defunct.

As predicted UTA-Mexico wars go on. We will see how our withdrawal will affect their factions.

It seems like Russians haven’t drawn any conclusions as they are still acting agressive, but as long as it concerns some useless Siberian Wastelands, we shouldn’t intervene.

Finally I have to congratulate our engineers on building Suez Canal, as it is the greatest accomplishment of our times.

– Senator Alexios Damaskinos

Senator, with all due respect have you read the files that I presented to you? I have found conclusive evidence of a Cult stronghold on the continent that has been causing these wars between the UTA and Mexihco. We must act quickly and destroy it before they escape!


I hope that what you are saying is true and we will soon see the end of those endless conflicts. I can’t even imagine the horrors of people living on UTA-Mexico border.

-Alexios Damaskinos

As the border between the UTA and Mexico has apparently been cleaned up, we can probably expect fewer wars between the two. However, The Cult stronghold is still there, and it is likely to start a war between Kanata and the UTA in the near future over the region known as Columbia.


Nikephoros took a stroll in the Senate lawn during the session break. The Empress was busy collecting her papers to read from after the break, and the other senators were busy getting some refreshments to drink.

He did not want to drink; he was getting old, and he felt drinking wasn’t good for the old.

There was a rustling in the bushes near the fountain which caught his attention immediately. He gripped his gun, which he kept on him at all times. Slowly, he stepped towards the bush.

When the rustling intensified, he pulled out his gun and loaded it, pointing it straight at the bush.

However, he was too late.

Several masked men jumped him from all sides, hitting him with a bludgeon and throwing him into a body-sack. His gun was knocked away before he could shoot at them; he resorted to shouting very loudly, attracting the attention of a few servants and senators but no guards yet. Everything went black just as there was another blow to the head.

The Empress appears before the Senate dressed in black.


The light has gone out of my life. On the fourteenth of December 1861, Yevhen died, apparently of typhoid fever.

I am sorry. You are not here to witness my grief, but to hear of the state of the Empire. *ahem*

I think some happier family news might be best first. Princess Alíki married Louis IV, the Grand Duke of Thuringia in 1862, Prince Alvértos married Princess Alexandra of Scandinavia in 1863, and Princess Elena married Prince Christian of Denmark. There are a total of sixteen grandchildren so far, with fifteen surviving. Prince Sigismund died of meningitis after all the German doctors were taken away to focus on the war with Bavaria.

I am sorry. My attempt at happy news ended on a sad note. Nevertheless, here is the state of the Empire.

Shortly after the last State of the Empire Address, We promulgated press reforms allowing for private newspapers, provided they submitted to Imperial censorship. This mollified many who had joined reform movements.

While the navy was of utmost importance, the philosophy department was insistent that if they could clarify the nature of Empiricism and spread the idea, that all research and advancement would be much speedier. So We supported these efforts first.

Meanwhile, We took advantage of the increased ability to supply the legions to increase the amount of artillery for each legion. A proper legion now consists of two hussar cohorts, eight artillery cohorts, two engineer cohorts, and eight infantry cohorts.

Near the end of the year, the United Tribes of America formally created a Socialist political party, campaigning for ‘the rights of the people’. There were the smallest of hints of support for such a party in the Empire, and currently no Senators support the Socialists. However, Socialist sentiments are increasing, so We may need to appoint a Socialist Senator if only to keep abreast of what the Socialists may want.

In May of 1861, when empirical methods had begun to take hold throughout the Empire, We finally tasked the Admiralty with creating designs for iron-armored ships. The philosophy department was far more excited about the new schools of philosophy they either developed or contributed to, but the practical effects of a focus on the measurable was far more useful to Us.

We spent much of this time increasing the defenses on the Bavarian border. XXIII. Legio and XXVII. Legio were split into two groups each and spread across the border further. Two new legions were recruited to finish lining the border this way, XXVIII. Legio and XXIX. Legio. Now if there was again war with Bavaria, there was no part of the border they could cross without battle.

In the middle of 1862, Germany moved the annex Weimar. They were successful, but Bavaria had moved to defend Weimar, and so a much larger war raged. We decided to support Germany financially in the hopes of weakening Bavaria.

Shortly thereafter, Mexihco was completely defeated and gave up much territory to the UTA.

The Admiralty finished developing general principles for Iron Steamers, but still needed time to develop specific designs.

They also pointed out that we would need improved shipyards to build any new designs, and that these shipyards could be used to help Our navies control the sealanes by raiding opposing shipping in times of war. We agreed to help them develop the necessary doctrines and upgrades.

While developing specific plans for upgraded shipyards, they also developed specific ship designs. In the following years, they developed several refinements to these designs.

When this had been completed, We began a massive upgrade of the Empire’s shipyards. The amount of work needed suggested a new industrial improvement: interchangeable parts. If parts were constructed properly, they need not be customized for each use, vastly reducing the labor needed. Of course, We instructed engineers across the Empire to design such parts.

In July of 1863, Germany was finally forced to sign a disastrous peace treaty with Bavaria. Germany had conquered Weimar, but now was forced to release it with extra lands, and gave much land to Bavaria.

Hungary then chose this moment to go to war with Bavaria. This was not as crazy as it seemed: Skotland and Scandinavia came to their aid, while Bavaria only had the support of minor German states. Later in the year, Russia declared war on Iraq for the northeastern-most reaches of Asia.

And March of 1864 saw Bavaria victorious again, taking the Oppeln region from Hungary.

This continued Bavarian expansion worried Us, so when the interchangeable parts designs were advanced enough that individual inventors would continue the work, We asked the army to better learn how to hold a territory, so that Bavaria would not be able to cross the border. If We had known just how far the innovations with interchangeable parts would reach, We would have had them developed far sooner.

With the Empire’s improved technology, a powerful idea became possible: a canal through the Suez, connecting the Red Sea to the Mediterranean. We ordered it be done, and it quickly paid for itself.

Russia, meanwhile, won their war. They not only took the territories they desired, but insisted on Iraq becoming part of their sphere of influence.

When the army had developed better means of controlling supply lines through point defenses, We ordered them to do as the navy had done and develop plans for specific scenarios.

In July of 1865, the United Tribes of America again asked Our assistance against Mexihco. Again We promised it, but saw no need to send any legions. And within months, Mexihco sensibly agreed to give Nebraska to the UTA. The UTA now held all of the lands they had dreamed of just years before.

When the army’s plans were complete, We commissioned designs for improved artillery, this time made of iron.

This was followed by fire control systems systems to help navy ships to fire properly in rolling seas.

At this time, Our upgraded naval docks started to be completed, so We began a program of building ironclad ships to replace the former Man’o’Wars. The East and West fleets would each consist of twenty ironclads. Smaller fleets, but far more powerful.

When the fire control systems were ready, We turned to economics, funding a chair at the University of Constantinople to better understand how our increasing industrialization was changing how the market functioned.

This was followed by learning how to better organize the Empire’s industrial workers. Factories were replacing the old guilds.

And when this was complete, We funded another chair in the growing ‘humanities’ department in the University of Constantinople. This one was for a natural philosopher who thought that functionalism could be expanded with ideas from biology to better explain society.

In early 1868, all naval bases that could be upgraded either were upgraded or were in the process of being upgraded. So We began a program of improving the defensive fortifications along the Empire’s borders.

Our factories were continuing to starve for dye, so in July of 1869, We declared war on Deccan to force them into Our economic sphere. XIX. Legio crossed from Ceylon to attack the south, while XI. Legio attacked the northeast. I. Legio attacked the northeast, and the Eastern Fleet blockaded Deccan’s fleet into port.

In other areas of importance, the innovations from past areas of research continue to pour in, though not all of them are helpful innovations.

Many people seem to think that the activities of the cult of Chernabog were a result of the expedition to Egypt.

Our relations with Ming are excellent.

And the Ethopians have sponsored a contest to find the source of the Nile. We outfitted an expedition, which failed. And so We have sent a second expedition. They have not yet returned.

Do the Senators have any questions or comments?

Alexios runs into the Senate hall, accompanied by Varangians who were more heavily armed than usual.
Senators! The Cult has struck again! My father is missing!
He had…my father had just been going for a walk during the break. I heard him shout suddenly and then go silent as if something had happened to him.
I looked over…and he was gone. His gun was lying on the ground, along with a small note.
He pulls out a piece of paper with Cyrillic script on it.
It reads as follows:

“To the incompetent and arrogant senators and your pitiful Empress with her harem of little Mexihcan boys:

Your dead god will not save you from the wrath of Chernobog. We warned you that there were twelve senators within your ranks serving the Black God. You did not heed our warnings. So, we gave you a better warning.
It was quite easy to steal your Minister of Security, as you call the Duke. That old buffoon never knew what hit him. By the time you read this, he will no longer be in your dying empire’s borders.
Don’t think about offering a monetary ransom; we have no use for your money. Don’t worry, we won’t sacrifice him to the Dark God…yet.
We offer the following terms in exchange for the life of your precious senator:

You will stop persecuting our cult and let us live in peace.
All investigations into our cult will cease immediately.
All members of the Favero and Doukas families (no, not the Imperial House, you traitors) will be stripped of their various titles and barred from public office.

The following will occur should you refuse to meet these terms or if you attempt to send in your army:

We shall trigger a war with Germany, Russia, Bavaria, Mexihco, Iraq, and Hedjaz…all of them at once.
The sleeper agents we have implanted in the Senate will kill all of you and your royal family.
The Ecumenical Patriarch will be assassinated.
We shall fund and lead separatist uprisings in all parts of your empire.
Of course, we shall sacrifice your Minister of Intelligence and Minister of Security to Chernobog.

Do we have a deal? Good.

Hail Chernobog,
Yosef Ignatieff”

What do we do, senators?

~Alexios Doukas

I shall mourn for the loss of poor Yevhen.

I hope that the war with Deccan went well. I heard so little of it from my home in Venice.

I can only hope that we have seen the last war between the UTA and Mexico for now. Their constant warring is quite exhausting.

We do not negotiate with cultists. I will have all the resources of the Ministry of Intelligence put towards finding the Duke. For the moment, I suggest that the Empress and Ecumenical Patriarch be protected at times by only the most loyal of guards. Their safety is paramount.

– Senator Michelangelo “the Artist” Favero

I am sorry for your loss, Empress. The entire empire mourns.

Bavaria’s expansion is quite worrisome. Perhaps we should put those upstarts in their place once more.

The Suez Canal is truly the greatest wonder of our time. Now we can control the east-to-west trade, especially when we are victorious against Deccan.

-Senator Moustakas

Your loss is our, Senators’ and citizens’, loss aswell, Empress.

That note was written by some mad man. He’s acting like a child giving us threats that can’t be accomplished. You won’t really believe that they have the power to make coalition that involves all those countries. Germany and Bavaria attacking us at the same time? I can’t stop laughing. If one of them will be at war with us, the second one would attack our enemy as they are weaker, not us. Separatists in all parts of Empire? Considering that most of our citizens are Greeks I can’t even think about what could make them turn against the Empire. I’m sorry to say that, but I think that Senator Doukas was prepared for such situation and he is more than anyone willing to sacrafice his life for safety of the Empire, and our Empire won’t be safe if we will let those mad murderers live on. With a bit of luck we will be able to rescue Senator Doukas before they will do something terrible to him.

– Senator Alexios Damaskinos

As Alexios shook the hand of the senator who had just arrived, he noticed the hand of another senator dropping into his pocket, as if to draw something…a gun!

Get down!

Shots rang out throughout the senate room. He charged at the gunman before he could target the Empress, but the gunman turned his gun on himself and shot himself in the head.
Outside, they heard numerous explosions coming from downtown.

“Kyrie eleison!” says Kyriakos Angelos angrily. “I’m getting too old for this! Firearms in the Senate, even after the Rus assault on the Chrysotriklinos?? If it wasn’t such an affront to our dignities, I’d motion that all senators are searched before entering the palace!”

As the body of the gunman is taken away for analysis by the Ministry of Intelligence, Alexios speaks up.
Well, actually we did institute harsher security measures after the attack. Somehow this senator–I mean, cult sleeper agent–managed to sneak in an unauthorized firearm.

After what seemed far too long, members of the 1st Constantinople Guard arrived, escorting General Kanaris.

Your majesty.

As we expected, the cult revealed their hand in this session. This has allowed us to track the traitors within the Scholai Palatinae and remove them. Your person and the city should now be secure.

Unfortunately, the cult leaders have escaped with the Senator. We thought we had them trapped in the harbor, but their ship exploded before we could board it, as well as several other ships that had been booby-trapped. And then suddenly they were taunting us from a ship outside the Great Chain. It is unfathomable how they could have slipped the noose.

Centurion Doukas, I task you with rescuing your father. Your century shall go with you. We’ve arranged passage on some merchant ships, Ukraine is sending a Frigate to meet you and continue the chase, and one of the Light Fleet’s commerce raiders is sailing from the Canary Islands to carry you wherever you need. Orders have been telegraphed to every garrison in the Empire to help you to the end of their abilities. With the transatlantic cable, we were even able to send orders to Guayana, and to request assistance from the UTA and England. You can go anywhere in the world and receive assistance.

Your majesty, the world is growing ever smaller, and the cult will have fewer and fewer places to hide. They will not survive much longer.


We apologize for this madness. It was necessary to allow the cult to try again in order to weed out the worst of the traitors. And they have done just as we expected.

Like several of you, We do not believe they can carry out their threats. They are a stinging gnat, not an existential threat. Nevertheless, their escape is surprising.

Senator Moustakas, We agree that Bavaria needs to be put in their place. And after their war with Germany distracted the doctors that could have saved Sigismund, We are their everlasting foe.

Normally, We would give you more time to respond, but We must discuss matters of security with the General, and We expect that many of you are shaken. So yet again, thank you for your time, Senators.

The Empire Strikes Back – Dramatis Personae

Non-Player Characters
Empress Veronica – absolute ruler of the Empire
Prince Yevhen of Ukraine – married to the Empress, died 14 December 1861
Princess Veronica – Born 21 November 1840, married to Frederick, Crown Prince of Germany
Eight children, Six still living​
Prince Alvértos – Born 9 Novemeber 1841, married to Princess Alexandra of Scandinavia
Six children, Five still living​
Princess Alíki (deceased) – Born 25 April 1843, married to Louis IV, the Grand Duke of Thuringia
Seven children, Five still living​
Prince Alfrédos – Born 6 August 1844, married to Grand Duchess Maria of Ukraine
Four children​
Princess Elena – Born 25 May 1846, married to Prince Christian of Denmark
Six children, Four still living​
Princess Louiza – Born 18 March 1848, married to John Tudor, Duke of Kent
Prince Artoúros – Born 1 May 1850, married to Princess Louise Margaret of Germany
Prince Léon – Born 7 April 1853
Princess Veatriki – Born 14 April 1857

Player Characters

Patrikioi Members

Kyriakos Angelos (Arakhor)

Introducing Kyriakos Angelos, a noble of Thessaloniki and proud member of Patrikioi, born 14.10.1804. He’s a good, old-fashioned, ‘benevolent imperialist’; Rhomaion knows best, naturally.

Michelangelo Favero (Michaelangelo)

Introducing Michelangelo Favero, born 9 August 1800 to a rich upper class family in Venezia. He is a member of the Patrikioi and is a strong advocate of expansive imperialism and a powerful military. Michelangelo is slightly at odds with the rest of his party because of his Italian roots, but he speaks Greek and identifies as one as well.
Granted the title of Duke and Governor in Italy for his heroics during the attack on Constantinople.
Kyriarchía Members

Constantine Panaretos (PrincepsAbsolut)

Announcing Constantine Panaretos. Born April 12 1815 a wealthy aristocrat. A member of theKyriarchía he detests the Patrikioi due to their divisive nature. Will do anything to see the empire take its rightful place at the forefront of the world. A military who turned to politics after his discharge due to an injury Constantine is utterly devoted to bringing glory to the Empire.

Mikael Moustakas (Andre Massena)

Introducing Mikael Moustakas, born on April 5, 1818 in Western Thrace. The founder of the house was a Norse commoner named Gunnar who served in the Varangian Guard and rose to become a captain in the year 1650. For his service, he was given a plot of land in Western Thrace and his descendants adopted the name Moustakas. House Moustakas has risen to become one of the most prominent houses in the Empire, though there origins prevent them from achieving a place in the imperial inner circle.

Mikael has followed the family legacy and served as an officer in the Imperial Legions. He is a veteran of both Russian wars but was severely wounded and crippled in the last war. Mikael is a moderate “conservative” and aligns with the Kyriarchía faction. He believes that Greeks are the proper heirs of Augustus and Alexander but, keeping his family’s origins in mind, believes that all ethnicities can consider themselves roman citizens and receive the benefits of imperial rule. Mikael thinks that the only legitimate states are the Empire and the ancient states of the Orient. Because of this, he believes that the whole world, excluding India, China, and Japan, should be brought under Roman rule. He also holds a strong hatred of Russian barbarians.

Andronikos Palaiologos (austrianemporer)

I, Andronikos Palaiologos, wish to join the Senate as a member of the Kyriarchía Party. Born on the 12th of January in the year of our lord, 1817, in Britannia. I wish for the people of the Empire to achieve unity through assimilation, conversion, and tolerance of those who wish to conserve their cultural heritage as part of the Roman Empire, the Phoenix of the East, led by Her Imperial Majesty, Empress Veronica. Those who oppose us must either pay homage or be forced to pay homage!

Foiderátoi Members

Alexios Damaskinos (oskar-kar)

Introducing Alexios Damaskinos, born 10.02.1816, belongs to middle class. He is young and determined in helping Foiderátoi achieve their goals. He is committed to his Empire which glory can be assured with strong military. He seeks to end aristocratic dominance in politics.

Julian Leon (Figus)

Introducing Julian Leon. Born on the 5th of February, 1811, Julian firmly believes in the strength of the empire. but at the same time feels that the aristocracy has too much of a grip. Despite this, he is a loyal man who is willing to serve the empire no matter what. He was born in Barcelona to a Greek mother and a Castilian father and is a member of the Foiderátoi,

Marcos Alexandros (Fish-Of-Fury)

Introducing Marcos Alexandros of the Foiderátoi party. Born to Greek parents in England, joined the Leigon at 15 and served for many years. After the service moved to the capital to try a hand a politics… whether that decision was a good one he has yet to decide.

Alexander Smithereens (strategymad3500)

introducing Alexander smithereens born 1851 to a middle class family in the Levant its a member of the moralist and is an imperialist who wants the empire to have colonies in Asia .Alexander fears for his homeland due to being close to foreign borders he wishes for the empire to expand its hold in the Levant.

Alexios Doukas (zenphoenix)

Name: Alexios Doukas
Birthday: sometime in 1821
Party affiliation: Foederatoi but leaning towards unaffiliated
Biography: Alexios is the eldest son of Imperial Senator Nikephoros Doukas. He joined the Imperial Army after finishing his studies and served from 1840 to 1865, when he took up politics after his father’s death. Notable engagements include operations in the Levant against Iraq and Hedjaz, the Battle of Constantinople during the Cult’s first and deadly attack on the Senate, numerous skirmishes with the Russians, and finally the rescue of his father from a Cult stronghold in the wilds of Africa. He shares many of his father’s core values and is determined to destroy the Cult for good. He is married and has a son named Konstantinos who is in the Imperial Army as well.

Christianikoú Kómmatos Metarrýthmisi̱ (XKM) Members

Heraclius Komnenos (Username1453)

Name: Heraclius Komnenos
Birthdate: September 20th, 1841, in Constantinople
Party Affiliation: Christianikoú Kómmatos Metarrýthmisi̱ (XKM)- Liberal Party
Biography: Born of the son of an influential noble in his townhouse in Constantinople. The Komnenos family traces it’s lineage back over an 800 years in it’s genealogical records and it’s well known that the family traveled with Constantine when he founded Constantinople. Heraclius grew up much like many young nobles. He lived in the city with occasional trips to the countryside and ancestral lands. He was a restless young man, however, constantly traversing the city and engaging with it’s lower classes. He consorted with merchants, blacksmiths, cooks, and others. His experience constantly left him impressed by the intellect that the people showed and the diligence they showed in a cruel life. He entered Constantinople’s University and studied the humanities (One of the few Greeks in the department!) and philosophy. He was impressed by the political and ideological thoughts produced there and became adamant in his support for more liberal political policies. However, he maintained that the Roman Empire held a special place in human affairs. That the government should be reformed with universal suffrage for all people and a political body that reflected the population. However, he believed that the head of state and head of government should be the Doukas Imperial Family. They have restored the empire and have shown judgment and foresight, as well as the benefits of the stability, decisiveness, and swiftness of action that this gives to the government. After his graduation from University, Heraclius joined the military and remained in service progressing through the ranks till a year ago. In the last year, Heraclius has been influential in forming and directing political movements that are demanding a degree of democracy. When his father died, he left to him a position in the Senate which was greatly disputed amongst his siblings. (They didn’t want to be connected to a person they thought of as a radical.) He joined the Christianikoú Kómmatos Metarrýthmisi̱ (XKM) because of their similarities on core values, however, he supports a more interventionist foreign policy than is normal party line.
Basically, a Prussian Constitutionalist who advocates Free Trade, Interventionism, Pluralism, Full Citizenship, Anti-Military. On social reforms, he supports some safety regulations and high education. He may, if he feels the people strongly support it, support a low minimum wage or work hours.

Koinonikistai Members
I Koinotita Members

Στήβεν Γκρέυ (BBBD316)

My I present Στήβεν Γκρέυ, born in 1817 in Ireland and fled Scottish master to Brittany, joining the local chapter of Christianikoú Kómmatos Metarrýthmisi̱ Seeking to open the Empire to the many facets of its loyal citizens, not just the Greeks.

Nicodemo Theodosio (NiccoTesla)

Name: Nicodemo Theodosio
Birthdate: May 3rd, 1839, in Tarragona
Party Affiliation: I Koinotita
Biography: Born the son of a successful businessman in the Catalonian region of Terraconensis, Nicodemo became a successful writer and political theorist in the Spanish-speaking regions of Roman Spain. His theories of the Rise of Imperialism and the State’s role in a society began some of the first Socialist organizations in the Roman Empire. He has been threatened with censorship and imprisonment, but his popular support among the Spanish and advocacy for a continuation of the Roman State in a socialist vein has allayed some worries. He supports the theory of International Revolution and desires the Roman State to either reform towards economic democracy or be toppled by its dissatisfied inhabitants if it refuses. The Empress is a topic he has written multiple essays on, and praises her power as a symbol of International identity of the Roman Empire, and as not entirely the same as the aristocracy, which he does protest, though their powers have been severely limited. Many less developed nations have their own theories of communism in the Juche school, and an absolute hereditary leader is a part of that school of thought. Nicodemo has largely been given this seat as an experiment, and to see what on Earth these Socialists are going on about.

Unaffiliated Characters

Nestorius Septiadis (Damian0358)

Name: Nestorius Septiadis
Birthday: 22nd of June, 1849
Party affiliation: Unaffiliated, leaning towards the Christianikoú Kómmatos Metarrýthmisi̱ and Koinonikistai
Biography: Born in Hadrianopolis, thanks to his father, at a young age, he not only received the chance to travel around the territories of Rome, but also the chance to travel around the rest of Europe and the Middle East. He received greater opportunities to study many things, such as history, linguistics, geography, cartography and more, as he met many non-Greeks as well as Greeks, both within the Empire and outside of it. As such, he is way more sympathetic to non-Greeks than his father. Wanting to follow his father in his footsteps, he decided to join the Senate as an unaffiliated senator, though he leans more to the left. Speaking at least 7 different languages and able to read multiple writing styles, he hopes to help if a translator is needed. Just don’t mention the unfortunate connection between his name and his date of birth.

Columba Comminus (righ na-Alba)

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

(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​

Staff Positions
Foreign minister – Senator Moustakas
Minister of security – Senator Doukas
Minister of intelligence – Senator Favero

Former Player Characters

Potitus Caristanius Gallio (The Crows)

Introducing Potitus Caristanius Gallio, born on November 7th 1796 in Rome. His father was a wealthy Greek trader who made millions off of a multitude of trade posts in hubs across the Empire. He is a short man, never rising above 5’6 with brown hair and brown eyes. He is also not really a looker either with a face most accurately described as squished with his crooked smile being his most defining feature. What he lacked in looks he more than made up for in political prowess and quickly joined the Senate using his fathers money and his own rather Machiavellian ways. He arrived a boy in a mans game but soon found solace with a group of like minded men who called themselves the Patrikioi. While he recognized the Senate was powerless in many aspects, having the dubious distinction of being under an absolute monarchy; but he aimed to change that and strengthen the Senate. It was not however in line with the XKM factions Liberal attitudes but rather one some call outdated. He wanted a restoration of the Senate of the Republic, one that held the ultimate authority over what the Nation did and an abolishment of the so called Emperor’s of Rome.

Basileios Rellis (Attalus)

Introducing Basileios Rellis, born on the 7th of November 1801 in Konstantinopolis. The heir of one of the oldest aristocratic families of the Empire, Basileios sees as his duty to serve in the Senate and advise the Emperor. Having never wandered much outside his great estate of Thrace and the parties organised by the best families of the Imperium he can’t imagine another way of governing : the Emperor at the top, aristocrats beside him and the pleb far below. His recent lectures of Platon and Xenophon only confirmed himself in his belief of being a part of the “good”. As such he decided to join the Patrikioi.

Konstantinos Galatías (Sakura_F)

Introducing Konstantinos Galatías, born September 1, 1796, belongs to middle class. He is a Foideratoi, and is committed to a strong Empire. He has four sons, Andronikos, Ioannes, Andreas and Theodoros.

Ovulur Kishiev (CaterpillarKing)

I introduce Ovulur Kishiev, a direct descendant to several famous Roman generals and born into a wealthy family in Cayenne in Roman Colombia,March 8 1798. Soon after he turned 17, he began to see the world around him for what it really was. He saw the lack of political freedoms and was frankly appalled by it. For 4 years he worked hard to try and bring justice through many means, but failed at each of them. Through his trials though, he had become a master politician and rose up the ranks on the political ladder. Now he resides with the rest of the Senate, supporting the Foiderátoi party, fully supporting the liberalization of Rome, yet also supporting the expansion of its power through military strength.

Nikephoros Doukas (zenphoenix)

Introducing Nikephoros Doukas, born sometime in the 1790s in Athens to a well-to-do middle-class family with ties to the legions (actual birthdate is unknown due to a fire which destroyed most family records). He is a self-made man and has joined the Foideratoi Party to speak on behalf of the common people. He advocates for social reforms to increase the well-being of the people and has ideas for overhauling the Empire’s education system so that we can have the best and brightest men and women serving Your Highness. He is currently neutral on matters regarding the military but slightly learns toward pro-military. He believes that some of the future Great Powers of the world will be in the Far East, and as such the Empire ought to form strong bonds of friendship with nations in Asia. As to the nature of citizenship, he believes that all people living within the Empire can attain citizenship and keep their beliefs and practices, provided they acknowledge the Empress as their sovereign ruler and serve the Empire well.

Damianos Septiadis (Damian0358)

Introducing Damianos Septiadis, born on the 5th of July, 1810 in Dyrrhachion, at a young age, he received the chance to travel around the territories of Mainland Rome, meeting many non-Greeks aswell as Greeks who speak their own regional dialects. As such, he is more sympathetic to non-Greeks. He would spend the next 18 years of his life traveling and studying across the entire Empire. Eventually, he decides that the only way to properly serve the Empire is to go into politics, joining the Christianikoú Kómmatos Metarrýthmisi̱. He is also known to dabble in mapmaking.

Georgios Blenchard (GreatUberGeek)

Introducing Georgios Blenchard, a member of the Christianikoú Kómmatos Metarrýthmisi̱ party, born in 1798 in Paris, France. A Franco-Greek family led to his odd name; he is mainly concerned with the plight of non-Greeks, and wants to fight for their rights. This often puts him at loggerheads with his colleagues. Besides that, he is a normal social reform liberal, strongly against the military, for reform and decentralisation to some degree, and for interventionism.

The Empire Strikes Back 91 – The State of the Empire 1854 – 1860

Senators, your presence is requested for a State of the Empire Address on the First of March, 1860.

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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Michelangelo Favero happily hums a tune played by Piano Cat during his concert in Constantinople.

Senator Doukas reads about a “shadowy cabal of a Prussian, Pole, and Irish-man” sabotaging the news.

It has to be the Cult, infiltrating our news agencies!  Nobody would describe any other group as a “shadowy cabal.”  It would have hurt the Empires reputation if they succeeded.

He looks over his shoulder, a bit paranoid after the rebellion in Athens six years ago.  He is surrounded by at least three bodyguards, but he is still worried.

He returns to reading his book on Ancient Ruthenian pagan mythology, hoping to find anything that could help him find the Cult.

Perhaps the Gujarati ambassador’s death may not be due to a simple robbery…
The expansion of the Ruthenians in the Far East is quite unsettling.  Perhaps we should do something about it…

I would like to see this “Piano Cat” at court.

We should also take measures to prevent another fire from breaking out in the capital.

-Senator Moustakas

The growing importance of Deccan and possibility of creating united Indian country worries me, can we get an update on how much Deccan developed is and do we consider it civilized?

UTA continues to grow and I’m still insisting on our withdrawal from Americas.

I didn’t know that Livonia and Poland were so close. It’s good to see that disputed lands (Lithuania in that case) not always cause conflicts but they’re also uniting nations. As long as they are loyal to us it’s good news. Do we have any information on tensions between Poland-Lithuania and Ukraine?

Next wars between Germany, Bavaria and Hungary shouldn’t bother us. I don’t consider any of them as reliable ally or countries that have common interests with us. Let them bleed in their pity struggles.

– Senator Alexios Damaskinos

you should concentrate on conquering more of Arabia otherwise you might get cut off from your African provinces since you only control a narrow strip of land in the exactly did Mexico end up with provinces surrounded by USA?

– An unknown voice

who agrees that  conquering more of Arabia  its a wise choice because otherwise you might get cut off from your African provinces since you only control a narrow strip of land in the Levant

– Senator Smithereens

Who let this man into the senate building? And who gave him reports that are assigned for senators? Guards! Show this man where are the exit doors!

I say we take Arabia for the Empire. The land is ripe with possibilities, and the black sludge found there is flammable, and may be of use in weaponry.

-Senator Ovulur Kishiev

Good to see new face around here. But I think I did not catch what party are you representing, Senator Alexander Smithereens?

I haven’t heard from you Senator Ovulur Kishiev for a long time. It’s good to see you are active in Empire’s matters again.

I think Senators that expansion in Arabia is worth considering, but are we sure we would be able to control those Islamic heathens? Besides, I’m not sure, but don’t we have a truce with Arabic nations due to our latest conquests in Asia? I’m sure that Empress Victoria would be able to confirm it or deny it.

– Senator Alexios Damaskinos

I say there is no need to conquer the savage deserts of Arabia

-Senator Moustakas

We must act expand our lands to secure these resources before the Arabs use it against us! I see much potential in the future from this, but only if we act now.

-Senator Ovulur Kishiev

I Alexander  smithereens represent the Foiderátoi party who wishes to expand our empire by seizing Arabia or perhaps seizing some land in the new world but we must expand

Senator Alexander  Smithereens

Well I do not.

-Senator Moustakas

Greetings, Senator Smithereens (weird name you got there, is it a Levantine name or something?).  Glad to see the Foederatoi’s recruitment campaigns are paying off.  Also, you are a senator of the Empire now, so please speak like we do or we may not be able to take you seriously.
Senators, I do not believe a major expedition into Arabia would be necessary.  Taking the holy sites of Mecca and Medina would severely damage our relations with the Muslim world and possibly with Muslims living within the Empire.  We could send a few expeditions there to check out the surroundings and possibly seize Syria and the territories near the Mediterranean, but I will not support any far-fetched excursion into a hostile desert.  There’s a reason they call it the Rub al-Khali–the Empty Quarter.  Maybe establish a few outposts to secure control over this “black sludge” you speak of before the Arabs can…


I hope you do not say that I am an intruder. I am the distinguished Ovulur Kishiev, mind you.
If not now, then at some point we must seriously consider this though. Even if it means integrating the region peacefully into the Empire, we must do something before another nations acts.

-Senator Kishiev

My apologies, I was not referring to you as the intruder, Senator Kishiev.  Surely you witnessed the man who burst into the Senate room and clamored for an invasion of Arabia shortly before the arrival of Senator Smithereens?
Yes, Arabia is a strategically important location.  However, rushing headlong into the desert right now, what with a Cult of pagans out to kill us all, would not be the best idea.  I am advocating for a gradual settlement of the region, setting up outposts and protectorates in the area before setting up a full administration.


I see, well let’s hope we can take advantage of it once we have the ability to.

-Senator Kishiev


It seems that despite Our publishing of the facts of the day, much of the public has chosen to believe rumors about the attack on the Senate last session.
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We decided that it were best to develop regulations to create banks focused on lending to businesses, as well as create a few initial state-owned business banks.
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And the legions had already been recovering from the wars of the past few years. They continued to replenish. We also had the Scholai Palatinae expand to include a guard cohort.
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In June to 1854, Khiva was no longer considered among the Great Powers, England now rising to fill that void. At the same time, We began sending diplomatic envoys to the Ming. And soon thereafter, reactionaries actually rose in revolt in Varna, Athens, and La Rochelle. They were swiftly put down by the legions.

The wars and the rebellion had distracted us, and Poland was able to wrest Livonia from the Empire’s influence. They were able to convince them to join in union, forming the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.
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The whole year, We assessed the employment of Our citizens, and began creation of several new factories throughout the Empire. By October, they were ready, the legions had been expanded, and all was at rest. So, though we were still at war with Mexico, We reduced funding to the army and navy and lowered taxes.
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In early 1855, Mexico tried to claim bankruptcy. But We could not stand for this, and so added the repayment of debts to Our list of demands for peace. By February, they sent an emissary agreeing to this demand, as well as all of the UTA’s demands for land, and so We agreed to this peace. As for the reasoning behind the UTA’s particular demands, we have no idea what they were thinking. Perhaps they intended to isolate Mexihcan lands? Perhaps they anticipated returning to war soon and seized the richest of the lands they ultimately intended to take?
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In addition to the UTA’s expansion, England had expanded their influence into the Amazon.
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And Hungary had expanded at Germany’s expense.
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In more peaceful uses of diplomacy, We made moves to solve our constant dye supply problems by courting Ceylon, and in 1855 We were able to add them to Our sphere of influence.

As well, Persia rose as a Great Power, replacing Germany.

And Our banking regulations were completed. We followed these up be asking Our best writers how to inspire both nationalism and imperialism in Our citizens, as needed.

When we sought to continue expanding the Empire’s influence in the eastern islands, well, Senator Favero, would you share your report?

Senator Michelangelo “the Artist” Favero, Duke and Governor of Italy:

I am certain that many of you remember back to that fatal day that Constantinople was attacked? The group responsible, the so-called Cult of Chernobog or whatever they may call themselves, has been causing mayhem across the Empire ever since their first attack. We do not know why they do this other than that they wish to cause war, violence, and chaos throughout the Empire and the world. These pagans are clearly mad, but that does not mean they are not clever.

Recently, at the behest of the Empress, a group of diplomatic advisors and generals met to draft up plans for a potential war with Hedjaz over the northern Philippines. We had verified information that the Cult of Chernobog had set up a large base within Hedjaz’s land there to use to harass the Empire with impunity. This meeting was of the utmost secrecy, yet within a week of convening, the plans drafted at that meeting were leaked to the Hedjazi authorities in the Philippines. This is an embarrassment to the Empire. Even our best diplomats had not been briefed on these plans yet and were thus unable to stem the backlash we faced from this debacle. Our reputation has been tarnished because of this incident, yet the circumstances surrounding it are much more sinister.

The Empress requested that I look into the incident, since it was suspected that cultist activity was involved. I had my best men investigate any leads, and after much searching were able to root out a lair of this Cult of Chernobog in one of our holdings in Southeast Asia. It had long since been abandoned, most likely because they knew we were coming beforehand, but they left behind a couple documents linked to the original plans for the war with Hedjaz. It is clear that these pagans are still within our ranks, stealing our best kept secrets and ready to use them against us. Who knows when they’ll strike again?

It is unfortunate that the cultists were not caught red-handed, for it made the eventual declaration of war more damning. Hedjaz knew we were coming and any explanation we gave for war only sounded faulty to the world. The Cult of Chernobog has made us look like war-hungry fools, even as we move to destroy them. I can only hope that one day we root out this foul pagan group once and for all so that the Empire can continue on in peace.

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While this was happening, the Empire of Mexico experienced a revolution, thrusting a liberal party into power. The UTA took advantage of this to declare a war for Arizona. They asked us to join, and We agreed. However, as Mexico still had no army, We sent no legions.

By late December of 1856, the Empire was prepared again for war with Hedjaz. XI. Legio began the usual sea circuit, defeating an army in Tacloban.
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Meanwhile, I. Legio and XIX. Legio made the usual invasion of Hedjaz proper, with XIX. Legio diverting to defeat an army attacking Beersheba. Enthusiasm for war was high. But this was a short war, with Hedjaz agreeing to peace in March of 1857.
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With the end of this war, We learned better how to manipulate both Nationalist and Imperialist notions to demonstrate the superiority of the Empire and of its citizens.
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We further sought to better understand the past glory of the Empire by sending archaeological expeditions to Egypt.
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The philosophers of the University of Constantinople claimed that society had discoverable laws as in natural philosophy, so We funded created chairs for several new philosophers to seek these laws.
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Late in the year, we added Bastar to Our sphere of influence, securing even more dye for our factories.

The philosophers had not been able to find simple laws governing the way society operated.
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However, other philosophers proposed that society could be described as a series of overlapping functions. So chairs were funded for them.
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In the beginning of 1858, Russia declared war on Iraq, claiming more eastern Siberian land as theirs. They eventually won the war, also giving Persia some of Iraq’s land as prize for assistance in that theater.

And we faced another rebellion. This time Jacobins, who rose in Aurillac. We raised funding to the legions so they would be put down with minimal harm. This increased funding to the army proved well when Bavaria insulted one of Our ambassadors.
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Bavaria had recently won wars against Germany and Hungary and had expanded at their expense. We decided it was well to put them in their place. Bavaria’s armies flooded across the Alps, and XXVII. Legio sought to stem the tide. Meanwhile, XXIII. Legio swept in from the east, chasing a Bavarian army before finally confronting and completely defeating them in the province XXIII. Legio had first been occupying. And X. Legio stuck against Bavaria’s allies in Thuringia in the west. The fierceness of the Imperial attack stunned Bavaria, and they soon surrendered.
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When corruption in the state industrial departments was shown, We began investigating, eventually ending subsidies to the worst factories. As expected, other factories were able to provide jobs to the displaced workers.
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The philosophic investigations into the functions comprising society were completed, and while useful still did not provide a complete picture of society.
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However, the recent wars had hurt the Legions. Not from the fighting, but again from disease, harsh weather, and the like. So We again sought for natural philosophers to seek solutions to these problems by finding better materials for uniforms, gunpowders, and other supplies.
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As they did so, We continued slowly closing clipper factories, always ensuring that the displaced workers had new jobs, even encouraging new industries better fitted for their regions. With the closing of many clipper factories, We thought it prudent to have the navy develop design for steamers to replace the Empire’s old Man-‘O-War ships.
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Finally, there seems to be sufficient support to make political reforms in the Empire. Though We are firmly of the opinion that elections are not needed. We are able to correctly select the best Senators to advise Us.
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Is there ever a time that the UTA is not at war with the Mexicans over this land or that land?  It is frankly exhausting hearing about them and their repetitious efforts to conquer the continent.

I trust your judgment implicitly, Your Majesty.  There is no need to consult the people when you always have their best interests at heart.  It would only limit your ability to perform your duties.

– Senator Michelangelo “the Artist” Favero

It’s good to hear that Your Majesty considered our suggestion of not involving Legions in UTA’s wars, but I’m afraid that our reaction was to slow, as we can see, with Mexico having no armies, UTA is now capable of expanding into the rest of continent without our help. Let’s just hope that they won’t turn against us in the future.

Also, after recent events of terrorist attacks our citizens seem to want political reform, especially Free press, that would, in their opinion, ensure them thruthful informations about the state of Empire and the World. I suggest creating some sort of illusion, let non-state press function, but only after our approval, thus making sure that our citizens will be free from dangerous and radical ideologies. That should also satisfy their need of political reform, thus avoiding radical changes like elections.

– Senator Alexios Damaskinos

Elections…the very word reeks of the liberal menace!

-Senator Doukas

I see no harm in letting the people have greater control over the press, if we censor anything that could harm the Empire.  It is surely better than the nonsense that is elections.  We haven’t needed them for centuries, so why start now?

– Senator Michelangelo “the Artist” Favero

Another glorious victory for the Imperium!

I believe we should consider terminating the alliance with the Tribes so we do not keep getting dragged into their endless wars.

Furthermore, I propose that we create a commission that would study the effects and viability of a press run by the populace. It may reduce discontentment from non-Greek peoples if they are allowed to express their grievances in print. However, the press should be carefully monitored, of course.

I would be curious to see how our statisticians in the Diplomatic Corps rank the Great Powers of the world.

Nikephoros motions to a servant, who hands him a thick file with the double-headed eagle seal of the Imperial House Doukas and the letter “X” stamped on it.

I almost forgot, Her Imperial Highness has directed me to give a report regarding the details of major rebel activities since 1854, which have been gathered into this file.  I shall refer to this file and all subsequent files as the “Chi Files.”

Servants hand out copies to the other senators.

You may be wondering…why am I tasked with documenting small and isolated rebellions?  Well, the answer is that they’re not so isolated after all, as I found out personally.

When the first rebellion broke out in Athens, my house was burned down, with my wife and servants all brutally murdered and dismembered; the local tagmata managed to help me escape but could not return in time to save my wife or servants.  Leading the mob of so-called reactionaries was a Slavic-looking man with an eye-patch, promising to bring down the Empress for her crimes against tradition.  When I found my wife’s body, a sign was nailed into her head, with the following written in blood: “The Cult Remembers.”

Yes – the Cult, the same one that almost killed the Empress, is behind this.

In the next few years, as rebellions broke out in France, Varna (nearly killing my son), Egypt, and Southern Hispania, with their ideologies ranging from Jacobin to reactionary, all of them shared a defining characteristic: a Slavic-looking man with an eye-patch led them and managed to escape the tagmatas sent to crush the rebellions every single time.  We know this man as Iosef Ignatieff, the leader of a savage pagan cult practicing abominable human sacrifice to their Dark Gods and bent on the destruction of the Empire.  He came very close to doing that in 1854.

A couple days ago, I found this letter in the mail.  Let me close by reading it out to you:

“To the Duke who is now a duke and the Doukas who is not emperor:

Your Empire’s efforts at crushing rebels are in vain.  The Cult is many-headed.  Sever one head, and two more shall take its place.  Soon we shall succeed – the Empire shall fall, and Chernobog shall feast on humanity.  It is even better if you die; my seers tell me that the death of the Duke and the Artist shall being about the death of the Empress and the House of Doukas, and they are never wrong.  We’ve sent men to Venice to handle the Artist already.

As for you in your city of Constantinople?  We don’t need to send anybody.  We have men there right now, in the Senate itself.  I can tell you, there are twelve worshippers of Chernobog among the ranks of your “loyal senators” as you read this.

Have fun.

Iosef Ignatieff”

That’s all I have.  Any questions?

~Senator Doukas

You are wrong senator Damaskinos. Give them an once of liberty and then they will ask for more. Let the reforms come when the Empire is ready. No need to listen to the demands of the rabble!

I wonder if this Polish-Lithuanian “union” will last. Often dual-sytems end up dismantled because there can be only one ruler in an ideal state. Do they claim Imperial or Ukrainian territory ?

Also I hope we’ll get to know more about the wonders of Egypt. Such civilization needs to be understood better!

-Basileios Rellis

With no action, the people will grow restless. It is wrong to assume the people do not already want some form of change. There was a popular saying where I come from. “Sometimes, the hardest time to notice something is when it’s most obvious”. We can keep putting off change, and we can keep ignoring the populace. For how long though? A year? A decade? A century? Eventually the people will grow restless with no change. I am not in support of a rebellion or immediate change, but I do want these words to be heeded.

-Senator Kishiev

the status of our navy should be updated

senator smithereens

Has anybody bothered to read the files I passed it just now?  May I remind you that there are twelve traitors within our ranks as we speak?


what files?

senator smithereens

do you have proof about this accusations or any links between the government and this traitors?have you authenticated the letter and how did they get the letter through your guards perhaps you should clean house first

senator smithereens

If you had attended the previous Senate session, you would have found that a traitor had been exposed while the Senate was in session.  He confessed to working with the Cult.

If you had taken a closer look at the files I passed out, you would have found that the leader of the Cult sent me a letter proclaiming that there are twelve traitors within the Senate.  Claiming that the Cult poses no threat to the Empire would be a very bad idea.


can you authenticate the letter and as for the exposed traitor are you sure its part of the cult or just confessed  because it  wants to start a witch hunt and destabilize the government making it hard to trust our fellow senators ?

senator smithereens

The letter is written in the Cyrillic script, with handwriting that has been identified to be that of the Cult leader.  I am merely doing my duty for the Empire, and I want to get rid of these traitors as much as the rest of us do.
As for the traitor, upon an investigation of his house we found that he had been conducting human sacrifices, complete with an altar and a book on Slavic paganism.  There were also letters from the Cult leader found, and they have been compared to the letter I have received.  The handwritings are the same.


have you found any information on the traitor senator so we can remove them the longer we take to unmask them the harder it will be to remove them from their position and have you check if there any links between the cult and the royal family there might be some member there if they are so widespread as you said.

senator smithereens

I’m afraid that if you want more information on the traitor, you’ll have to ask the Intelligence Division; I don’t know what they have found and if I did I would not have the authority to tell you.
I am not sure about the royal family…an investigation shall be recommended to Her Imperial Highness at once.


head of the Intelligence Division
im writing in regard to the traitor who you recently apprehended in the senate im wondering have you found any links between the cult and the imperial family im worried they may attempt to seize power if a member of the family is willing to support them. i have my suspicions of someone in the imperial family because of his trips to Russia  informer has tip me off that something happen on his trip  but we are not sure exactly what here an image my informer manage to get to me before he disappear.

senator smithereens

Alexios Damaskinos whispers to Senator Doukas.

I know that being witness of such terrible events can change a man and I’m sorry I was in Riga and not in Constantinople back then, but you have to listen to me my friend. This letter is not a proof. Maybe one of Senators from other party wrote it to provoke you. You can’t say such things in public. You do realize that you accused over half of the Senate of being traitors? You really want to make yourself enemies, after all those years of cooperation between Senators? Listen to my friendly advice and reconsider it.

perhaps you are right but it comes from doukas if we cannot trust him who should we trust?

senator smithereens

call the guard to protect the senate in the future

senator smithereens

Sir, my apologies.  I did not mean to offend anybody.  I was trying to do good in the name of the Empire.  I shall retract my claims and instead send out copies to other senators so that they can decide for themselves the nature of the potential threat.


I apologize to my fellow senator for saying that there were traitors among us i suggest that we follow doukas example and make our own judgement before accusing anyone.

senator smithereens

anyone in the intelligence division get my report?

senator smithereens

The wars between the UTA and Mexihco seem tiresome, but they make sense. Mexihco and the UTA both easily expanded among peoples similar to themselves, and eventually Mexihco also expanded into western America, which is sparsely settled and loosely-controlled. The UTA only contends for this area, not for the Mexihcan heartland. Nevertheless, it seems unnecessary to aid them in these wars.

With your suggestions, We believe that the state newspapers can be augmented with privately-run newspapers. Provided, of course, that these private newspapers are willing to allow for state oversight, to ensure they do not publish material harmful to the Empire.

As for Poland-Lithuania, We shall see how they fair. They claim no Imperial nor Ukrainian territory, and seem more focused on expansion in the Indochina peninsula.

Senator Smithereens, We agree regarding the navy. Once designs for better heavy ships are made, then We shall begin a mass building project for the navy, ensuring Imperial superiority.

We have no further information regarding the cult beyond what senator Doukas has been able to offer. We shall have Our agents continue to investigate.

But in happier news, We have borne yet another child, princess Veatriki. As well, princess Veronica has married Prince Frederick of Germany. We truly are blessed.

Do the Senators have any other questions or comments?

Congratulations on the birth of another child, my Empress.  My she live a happy and healthy life.

– Senator Michelangelo “the Artist” Favero

Congratulations on the new baby and the marriage, Your Highness. God bless the imperial family!

-Senator Moustakas

Your Imperial Highness,

Congratulations on the new daughter and son-in-law!  I hope this leads to peaceful relations with the Germans in the future!  As for the Cult, I shall continue searching for clues to their whereabouts.  They shall not rest while I am still alive!

~Senator Doukas, Minister of Security


As always, thank you for your time and your advice. This session of the Senate is now concluded.

The Empire Strikes Back 90 – The State of the Empire 1849-1854


Summoning the Senate

Senators, your presence is requested for a State of the Empire Address on the Ninth of May, 1854.

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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Waiting for the address

The senators were gathered in their hall, waiting for the Empress to arrive and give her address.

Senator Michelangelo began the per-address discussion among the Patrikioi, “I don’t particularly like the idea of Germany being on good terms with Russia. At least Poland has expanded at their expense. The papers are overflowing with news of Imperial expansion. Truly these are the golden days of the Empire!”

Senator Alexios Damaskinos spoke to his own circle of Foiderátoi Senators, “We shouldn’t bother with German-Hungarian war, as, in my opinion, it was inspired by oppressed majority of German people in Austria, and not any kind of imperialism. I insist again on claiming Taiwan, as it may help us in future interventions considering last expansion of Ming dynasty. I suggest to consider invasion of Ceylon to support future interventions in India. We should also look closer to growing importance of Deccan in that region. Also, I again insist on breaking any relations with Poland, as this might lead us to war within our Sphere, and I must say that in my opinion, in case of Livonia-Poland war, we should give what we can to support Livonia, armies or subsidies (if we will be in another war at the same time).”

Senator Nikephoros Doukas also spoke to the Foiderátoi. “Germany’s relations with Russia are unsettling. We should be careful in dealing with them. Remember, the First Empire was destroyed by the Germans when they were uncivilized brutes—Alemanii, they called themselves at the time. They can do it again. Perhaps we can enlist the help of the Poles? If they were willing to fight Russia over Lithuanian territory, they can surely help us against any German treachery.
I fully agree with an invasion of Taiwan. We must deprive Russia of any colonies and truly take our place in the sun! Ming is growing quite strong, and is on good terms with the Koreans. They could be a useful ally against Russia in a future war.
I do not recommend an invasion of India. There are so many people there, and their cultures and traditions are so foreign from our own that integrating them into Roman society would have more costs than benefits. We should instead increase our sphere of influence in the region and build up friendly relations and trade agreements with native rulers, especially the Deccans. We can have the benefits of trade goods from India and an ally in the region, as well as an effective foothold in the subcontinent without the costs of maintenance and providing for millions of new Imperial subjects.”

“Also, the Empress would consider a diplomatic mission to China itself, I would recommend myself as ambassador. I am close friends with the Celestial Empire’s foreign minister, Lin Zexu, and am fluent in the local languages and traditions.

Senator Στήβεν Γκρέυ had been speaking with the XKM, but overhead part of the conversation and joined in. “Whilst I agree with my fellow senators with the Germany and Hungarian war, I am concerned with the Polish invasion of Russia. What is the likelihood of Poland managing to at least white peace with the Bear?

With the Indians perhaps they would better serve us as loyal puppets than us taking their land directly, at least this way we control their destiny.”

An unknown voice spoke clearly and loudly in the hall, “The Third Rome needs to punish the Second Rome!”

“Heresy,” muttered Doukas.

“Never heard of Third Rome. Is it some kind of capital of our Australian colonies?” asked Damaskinos of the senators near him.

“Russia was often called Third Rome,” claimed Senator Basileios Rellis.

Doukas took this as an opportunity to speculate, “This discussion about a hypothetical “Third” Empire—which ought to never exist, as doing so would mean that our current Empire be destroyed; it is treason to suggest a rebellion against the Empire—has got me thinking…if the Empire is Roman, why is the capital in Constantinople? We can’t have a Roman Empire without a capital in Rome.”

He paused for a moment, then frowned, “Also, how did that guy get into the Senate room? He’s not a senator! Somebody call in the Varangian Guard! The Empress is under attack!”

That done, he turned back to Rellis, “Senator Rellis, why do you refer to the Russian menace as a “Third Rome,” implying that the Slavic peoples can be as cultured and civilized as the Romans on the level that they are the successors of the Empire? By explicitly saying that Russia is the Third Rome, instead of our Empire, I get the feeling you wish to overthrow the Empress and install the Slavic Tsar as the Imperator. Such talk is treasonous, at best.

When no-one else responded after some time, and no Varangians showed, he continued, “But fellow senators, as we wait for Her Imperial Highness to give her address, what should we do about the trespassers who somehow manage to get into the Palace and speak vile heresies?”

Favero finally spoke, “Surely they should be detained and interrogated. They could be spies for Russia. The audacity of them to claim Russia to be some third Rome. There is only the Empire and no others.”

Doukas replied, “Yes, there can only be one Empire, but what Ruthenian spy would be idiotic to the point that he walks into the Senate, of all places, and foolishly proclaim that Ruthenia is the Third Rome, knowing that he would be immediately arrested? There must be something going on here, or the Ruthenians are just playing us. It could be a trap, and they distracted our attention while…”, he looked outside “…oh.”

Suddenly, an explosion ripped through the Senate’s chamber.

Michelangelo was blown clear across the room and slammed against the wall. He tried to rise to his feet, but lost his balance. Blood slowly oozed from a gash on his head. Managing only to get to his knees, Michelangelo spat out some blood between his teeth. He wiped his face with his senator’s robe as he regained his senses. “What in the name of the Empress was that? Do the Russians have artillery outside Constantinople?”

Doukas was sprawled on the floor. He was lying in a pool of blood from the senator next to him but was himself largely unharmed. “Seems to have been a bomb,” he groaned, “the Ruthenians can’t possibly have gotten artillery this close to Constantinople.” He looked over and saw that the Varangians assigned to guard the Senators were either dead or unconscious. The front door was blasted open, and the windows were broken. Doukas realized that the Empress was in grave danger. “The Empress is under attack! Save her!” He grabbed a sword from a dead Varangian just as a man in Ruthenian clothing appears in the doorway, pistol raised to fire at anyone. “You all get the Empress out of here! I’ll take care of the attackers!”

Doukas charged at the Ruthenian, who calmly fires three times while exclaiming “For Mother Russia!”

Michelangelo cowered behind a tipped-over bench as shots fired through the room. The knowledge that not only his life but the Empress’ as well were at stake spurred him into action. He quickly crawled on his hands and knees, sneaking out a side door while the terrorist was distracted. He slowly rose to his feet once outside the room and nearly toppled over from dizziness. He placed a hand against the wall to maintain his balance and started working his way through the palace. “The Empress…must find the Empress…”

Doukas ran the terrorist through with his sword just as he felt three bullets strike him in the chest and left arm. The pain was unbearable, but he knew he must do his duty for the people and Senate of Rome.

The Ruthenian spat blood in Doukas’s face and snarled, “It is too late, Greek scum! Soon Mother Russia will be the mother of all.”

Doukas nearly shouted, “Who sent you?! What are your orders? Are there others?”

The Ruthenian laughed evilly “Soon the Germanic barbarians will sack Rome again.” He then died.

The pain overwhelmed Doukas, and he collapsed to the floor. Before he lost consciousness, he heard more explosions – this time from the direction of downtown. Blachernae may have been among the targets, but he didn’t know. “God have mercy on our souls!” he whispered.

Michelangelo kept wandering through the palace, looking for anyone at all who could warn the Empress. He was in no condition to make the trip to Blachernae, but someone had to. All the hallways looked the same. In fact, maybe he’d already been down this one, judging by the blood drops on the floor. Had he gotten turned around? Michelangelo tried to clear his head, but a dizzy spell overcame him. He’d been losing too much blood.

Explosions sounded off in the distance. Was Constantinople under attack? Michelangelo had no idea. He just wanted to get out of here and get the Empress to safety. Maybe she was already safe and he was wasting his time. Regardless, he had a duty to perform, or at least the duty to get some beneath his station to fulfill the role while he tried not to succumb to his wounds.

The sound of heavy footsteps drew Michelangelo’s attention, so he rounded a corner and pushed himself up against the wall to hide. Two burly men speaking in Russian ran down the other hallway. Michelangelo remained silent as they left, but then the footsteps stopped and started drawing closer. That’s when he noticed the blood drops all over the floor. They knew he was there.
Michelangelo scurried down the empty hallway, only to run into a dead end as he rounded the corner. There were two ceremonial poleaxes mounted on the wall, so he lifted one from its bracing and steadied himself. He only had one shot. As the Russians rounded the corner, Michelangelo let out an angry yell and charged them. Before they could react, he impaled the first one on the end of his poleaxe, piercing him right through the gut. The dying man spewed out blood from his mouth and pushed himself off the weapon, only for more blood to pour from his wound. He slipped to the floor as life escaped him. The second man drew a pistol and Michelangelo dove to the floor. The bullet shattered a nearby window, which was much better than shattering Michelangelo’s head. Before the man could fire another shot, Michelangelo picked back up the poleaxe and swung it at his assailant. The blade sliced through the man’s forearm, forcing him to drop the gun. Before the Russian could draw his own blade, Michelangelo stabbed the poleaxe’s end into his neck. Blood sprayed everywhere as the man slumped to the floor. The two Russians were dead.

Michelangelo dropped the poleaxe in horror and vomited all over the palace floor. He had never killed a man before in his life. He suddenly had a much deeper appreciation for the soldiers in the Imperial Army. When was this horrid event going to end? Looking out the broken window and seeing smoke spiraling into the air didn’t give him the answer he wanted. Slumping to the floor, he took in several deep breaths. The Empress would have to wait, at least until he didn’t feel like he was dying inside. Surely even the Empress would grant him that reprieve.

Doukas saw images flashing by his eyes. He saw his childhood in Athens, his time at the Imperial University, his wedding, his son before heading off to war in the Holy Land… He thought to himself, “Seriously? A flashback of my life at this time? I don’t need to see this again, I already know this.”

His perspective changed, and he was looking down on all of Eurasia. The Empire in all of its majesty stretched from the Atlantic to the Black Sea, but to the north lay Germania and Ruthenia, the patchwork of barbarians which brought down the First Empire. Even now, centuries after the deposition of the last ruler of the First Empire, Rome was still threatened. The Germans had done what Rome couldn’t and united into one main polity. They were on friendly terms with the Empire now, but Doukas remembered what the Ruthenian had told him. To the east laid the once-mighty and isolationist Celestial Empire, or Serica as some called it. If an alliance could be secured, the Ruthenians could face a two-front war should conflict break out. Their almost unlimited manpower could mean the difference between victory and defeat.

There was the sound of disparate voices behind him, but he couldn’t turn around. Then he realized the voices were in German and Ruthenian.

He opened his eyes. Three foreign men stood in the middle of the Senate room. One of them spoke German, which Doukas was competent at.

“Too bad they’re all dead or unconscious, I would have loved to hear them scream.”
A Ruthenian replied, “Why don’t you kill them now?”
“It’s not fun.” answered the German
A second Ruthenian joined in, “Men, focus! Our forces have incapacitated the government of the Roman scum–”
The first Ruthenian interrupted him, “I hate to remind you, but the Empress holds all of the power.”
The second snapped back angrily, “Shut up! As we speak, a small force of Germans is advancing into Blachernae, and another force of Russians has seized Hagia Sophia. Soon Rome will be brought to its knees.”
The German finally spoke again, “And then they’ll blame the Tsar and the Kaiser instead of us! It’s perfect.”
“Exactly,” concluded the first Ruthenian.

Doukas couldn’t believe what he had heard. A secret conspiracy to drag the Empire to war with the Germans and Ruthenians? He silently reached over to the body of the man he had stabbed earlier and took the still-loaded gun.

The second Ruthenian was speaking, “Is everybody accounted for?”
The German answered, “We’re missing one of the senators, an Italian. I heard something in the corridors, and two of our men are missing.”
The first Ruthenian spoke again, “It must be the Artist. If he gets out of the building our plan will be foiled. Go get him!”

The German and the second Ruthenian left the room. Doukas inferred that the “Artist” was Senator Favero, apparently the only other senator to maintain consciousness. Perhaps they could still save the Empress… He accidentally knocked over some rubble.

“Who was that?!” exclaimed the one remaining Ruthenian.

With quick thinking, Doukas brought up the gun, wrapped it in his toga, and fired at the enemy. The shot was muffled, so the others couldn’t possibly have heard it. The Ruthenian keeled over dead before he could shout. Doukas got to his feet painfully. He knew he had to get out of here and reach Blachernae. So he limped out through the giant hole in the wall of the room.

The sound of another explosion made Michelangelo snap his head up. He was laying down on the floor, although he didn’t remember lying down. Hadn’t he just been sitting down to catch his breath? How much time had passed? He glanced out the window, trying to judge the time by where the sun was. He couldn’t figure out how much time had passed since he didn’t remember when the attack had begun in the first place. Damn his aging mind! Maybe he would retire after this incident and take up painting. That sounded a lot less stressful.

Michelangelo tried to get up, but slipped in a puddle of blood from the two corpses lying nearby. He nearly threw up again at the sight of them, their cold lifeless eyes staring up at the ceiling. He needed to get away from here before someone came to investigate. He went to round the corner when he heard voices arguing. They were drawing nearer, too close for him to escape the dead end in time. He went to pick up the poleaxe again, but slipped on the blood again. He got back up to his feet, only for someone to shout at him in German behind him. Why was there a German in the palace?

“Turn around slowly, you filthy Italian, and show me your hands.”

Michelangelo slowly obeyed the orders and faced the German. He had another man with him. Both were armed, their pistols aimed at him. He warily took a step back, brushing up against the window sill of the broken window. “What do you want with me?” Michelangelo asked. “You won’t get away with this attack. The Empress will have your eyes and tongues cut out for this.”

“She’ll be dealt with soon enough. Now follow me.”

Michelangelo went to follow, only to slip in the blood for a third time and fall backward. He put his hands behind him and stopped his fall by grabbing the window sill. He winced as one finger grasped some broken glass from the window.

“Watch your step, old man. Make too many sudden movements and you might not make it back to the Senate alive.” The two men laughed together. Michelangelo had a feeling he might not make it back to the Senate even if he obeyed. He needed to escape these thugs. Before he could consider the consequences of his actions, he pushed off the window sill with his hands and rolled backwards out the window. The German shot at him, but the shot missed Michelangelo’s head by a few inches. The next thing he knew, Michelangelo was falling out the window. Now that he thought about it, he had probably been on the second or third floor. He closed his eyes and hoped that the impact would either kill him immediately or spare him further pain. “Forgive me, Empress.”

Doukas heard a splash next to him. Did somebody just fall into the fountain he had helped fund last year? Then he noticed it was Senator Favero. “You! You’re alive! You won’t believe what I overheard in the Senate room. Did you find anyone else?”

There were shouts from above. Doukas looked up and saw the German and his Ruthenian accomplice looking down on them from a broken window. ”It’s him! The Duke!” the German shouted.

Doukas hoped his arm was still good enough to shoot at them. He aimed and pulled the trigger twice. “God help me.”

It was sure cold in Heaven. And wet. A bit too wet for Michelangelo’s tastes. In fact, he had trouble breathing. Wait, if he was dead, why did he need to breath?

Michelangelo’s eyes snapped open and he pushed his head up out of the fountain water, gasping for air. He’d survived, and relatively unscathed too. He vaguely heard a voice as he dragged himself out of the fountain. Two shots followed and a figure fell down into the fountain next to Michelangelo, splashing water all over him. By the way that the water was quickly turning red, he probably wasn’t getting out of that fountain.

As Michelangelo regained his sense, he realized that Senator Doukas was standing nearby. He remembered the senator asking a question as he rose from the fountain. “I haven’t seen a soul other than the Russians I ran into and that German who tried to shoot me. Oh good God, I killed them, the Russians. I had no choice.”

Michelangelo shivered involuntarily, still uncomfortable with the idea of taking another man’s life. Then he realized that there may be more of them nearby and that the Empress could be in danger. “We need to find the Empress. Her life is in danger.”

“Don’t worry, fellow Senator,” answered Senator Doukas. “You did what you had to do for the Empress, for the Senate and people of Rome. I heard that these Ruthenians…they’re not working for the government in Moscow or Berlin; they’re trying to trick us into a war against Ruthenia and Germania, one we possibly can’t win at this point without losing much. We must alert the Empress to this plot. If she hears of the attack on the Senate she will definitely push for war with the Germans and Ruthenians. That is, if she survives today, of course.”

“A ruse to lure us into war? Ingenious of them, since we would have bitten that bait with ease with all the hatred of Russia in the Empire. We must make for Blachernae at all haste before it is too late!” Before Michelangelo could say any more, a bullet whizzed past his head and struck the ground. Apparently the second man had not be dealt with like the one in the fountain. Thinking on his feet, he grabbed Senator Doukas and dragged him behind a large bush. “We need to get out of here immediately. Who knows how many of them are roaming the palace.”

“I must have missed,” replied Doukas, and then coughed up blood. “Do you know a safe way to the palace? I overheard that downtown is filled with them. We might need to call in the army to deal with them. Also, I don’t really remember how far away is the palace.” He heard voices getting nearer and nearer…

Kyriakos Angelos came to amidst the rubble in one of the corridors of the Chrysotriklinos and somewhat unsteadily picked himself up. “I say,” he said to himself in an offended tone, after noticing the fallen bodies of senators and Varangians alike, “this really is not chariot racing.”

Picking up a sword and a firearm from the fallen guards’ bodies, he began to make his way out of the palace.

Doukas shot the Ruthenian passing by the bush. The man gave a shout before falling over. “Well, that was easier than I expected, don’t you think?”

He took the Ruthenian’s ammunition and sword while also putting on the Ruthenian outfit. “Why don’t you disguise yourself as well, Favero? That way they probably won’t kill us immediately. And are you sure you couldn’t find any other senators? I may have seen movement in one of the windows.”

“It may have been more Russians,” replied Michelangelo. “I didn’t get much of a chance to see if any other senators were alive when I was forced to flee.” Michelangelo went back to the fountain and pulled out the body. He quickly put on the man’s clothes and casually walked away. The outfit was soaked, but he’d already been in the fountain before anyway. “How are we ever going to get to Blachernae in time? Who knows how many of these men there are and where they are? They could be roaming the streets for all we know.”

“They are roaming the streets. They have even occupied Hagia Sophia itself and have taken the Ecumenical Patriarch himself hostage! Which means we’re going to have to find some horses. I think the stables are in another part of the building?”

“They may have some horses stabled near the Hippodrome for chariot racing. That’s our best chance of finding some. I’d love to know how these men got into Constantinople without anyone noticing. Those responsible should be drawn and quartered for the mess they’ve caused.”

“There must have been traitors within the Senate and Varangian Guard helping them! Alright, then, let’s go to the Hippodrome.”

The two Senators started walking.

The Hippodrome was empty when they arrived, with no guards or intruders. It apparently had not been a focus of the attack, probably because there were no races planned. There weren’t even any stable boys attending to the horses when they entered the stables.

“Did everyone just run away when they heard explosions? I certainly hope they weren’t all in on the attacks,” wondered Michelangelo. He wandered past all the horses, looking for a horse that fit his taste. If he was going to ride through the city to save the Empress, he may as well do it in style. As he approached the end of the row, the stable door opened and a man stuck his head in. His features were clearly Slavic and the fact he yelled at Michelangelo in Russian confirmed that the man was an enemy. Michelangelo dove into an empty stable as the man fired his pistol. The Russian burst into the stables to pursue, but Michelangelo grabbed a shovel and swung it at the man’s face. It collided with a dull thud, softened by the manure that had been stuck to it. When the Russian didn’t topple over from the first hit, Michelangelo swatted him again in the head and brought him low. “Maybe in Russia they should focus on breeding strong minds instead of strong heads.”

Doukas took the Ruthenian’s gun and tossed it to Favero. “Take this, and I hope you’re a good shot with it.” He got on the nearest horse. “Alright, let’s go save the Empress in style!”

Michelangelo caught the gun and briefly examined it before stuffing it in his robes. He’d never wielded a firearm before, but he’d need it now. “I was always more partial towards the sword when practicing dueling. The gun was always too dangerous for sport.”

As he looked up, Michelangelo spotted a white stallion of the purest breed. That was definitely the type of horse he wanted. He hopped up on the horse and followed Doukas out of the stables and into the city. A few Russians, or maybe even Germans, took shots at them as they rushed through the gates, but the horses easily outdistanced the enemy. They were free to make their way to the Empress, that is if no one was waiting for them on the way.

Doukas thought to himself as the two senators left the stables. “Maybe we should have taken swords, just like the cavalry. But oh well, not everyone can be a Mongol, right?”

They charged straight through downtown, and peasants and merchants screamed and jumped out of the way as the two senators charged through the central market. “Make way! The Empress is in danger!”

But then Doukas remembered that the Ecumenical Patriarch is also a hostage. “Wait, we need to free the patriarch first! If they have him hostage, they have the entirety of Christianity hostage as well!”

Michelangelo slowed down his horse for a moment, considering whether or not to backtrack. The Empress or the Ecumenical Patriarch? “If we go back for him, we may be too late to save the Empress. But we can’t let him be taken either. Damn those Russians to the fires of hell! Perhaps if we split up we may be able to save them both.”

“I’ll go after the Empress, you get the Patriarch.”

Michelangelo gave a nod before turning around to race towards the Hagia Sophia. If the two of them were fast enough, they could save the two most powerful people in the Empire. He wished he could have gone to save the Empress, but Doukas seemed much more capable with a firearm than him. It would be better this way. Michelangelo only hoped that whoever was holding the Patriarch hostage could be dealt with. He wasn’t exactly the most capable of fighters.

As Michelangelo rounded a street corner, an explosion blew out the windows of a shop across the street. His horse reared up and nearly threw him off. Fortunately he was well-trained with a horse and kept his grip on the reins and saddle. A man in Russian garb ran out of an alley with a grin on his face and some sort of make-shift explosive in his hand. He tossed it into the street where people were screaming in terror and it exploded in a shower of rubble. Two bodies lay on the ground, killed by the explosion. Remembering that he had a pistol, Michelangelo pulled it from his robes and fired a shot. The Russian man collapsed to the ground, a bleeding hole in his chest. The people in the street all turned in his direction. The image of a senator in blood-stained Ruthenian clothes holding a pistol while riding a white stallion must have been an impressive sight. Michelangelo decided to use it to his advantage.

“People of Constantinople, I beseech you. We are beset by foreign spies who wish to sow discord within this most splendid of cities. They put not only your lives, but those of the Empress and Patriarch in danger. As for the latter, he has been taken hostage by these foul men. Alone I cannot save him, but together we may. Join with me to take back the jewel of the Empire and save the Patriarch from those who would do us harm.”

The street was unusually silent for a moment, but soon cheers erupted from the crowd. The people of Constantinople would follow him. They picked up whatever makeshift weapons they could find or make. One woman even offered him a sword, although he had no idea where she had come upon it. The blade felt much more comfortable in his hands than the pistol. He let a grin spread across his face as he rode off to the Hagia Sophia with a band of armed citizens.

Doukas heard an explosion behind him, but he didn’t look back, as he was getting close to Blachernae and had to watch for any Ruthenians. Just as he reached the front gates, which were blasted wide open as if by a bomb, he heard a cheer behind him. Were the peasants also on the Ruthenians’ side?

There was a shout from his right. Looking in that direction, he saw two horsemen charging straight at him, one apparently a Mongol armed with a bow and the other a Hungarian armed with a sword. “Seriously? Are we repeating the Hunnic invasions of the First Empire and the Mongol invasions during the Second Empire?”

He aimed and fired twice, and both riders toppled from their mounts.

Doukas arrived at the main door leading inside. “Here goes nothing.”

He slipped inside.

Michelangelo reached the Hagia Sophia later than he had hoped, since he had to slow down for the citizens to keep up. He knew time was of the essence, but he couldn’t save the Patriarch alone. When they reached the grand building, Michelangelo came to a halt. Guards stood outside the open doors. They didn’t notice him at first, but the sound of the approaching mob drew their attention. Not delaying any longer, Michelangelo charged at them. He closed the gap rapidly on his horse as the men drew their pistols. They both fired and Michelangelo felt a burning in his shoulder. He ignored it and drew his sword. He cut across as the first guard as he passed and swept the sword overheard as he slashed the second on the other side. The two men fell back in pain as the mob approached. Not slowing down a bit, Michelangelo lowered himself in the saddle and galloped straight into the Hagia Sophia. Several men stood within the building and scattered as he dashed through them. His horse trampled at least one of them and he got in a few blows with his sword as he passed by. Before the men could retaliate in kind, the mob burst into the building and swarmed over them. He kept on through the holy site, looking for the Patriarch.

It didn’t take long to find the Patriarch. He was being held hostage near the alter by several burly men. He guessed they were all Slavic until one of them started speaking some form of Scottish or Gaelic. Exactly who was involved in this conspiracy? As the men took note of his approach, he jumped off the horse. Speed would not aid him here.

“Release the Patriarch immediately!”

“Or what?” demanded one of the Scots.

The mob made its way into the large room and started to spread out around Michelangelo. The men holding the Patriarch hostage were noticeably nervous. Michelangelo smirked. That smirk was quickly wiped off his face as the Scot grabbed the Patriarch’s head and held a blade to his throat. It was time for some negotiations.

Before Michelangelo could utter a word, a shot rang through the air. The Scot collapsed to the ground, releasing the knife. Everyone looked around stunned. Before the enemy could react and harm the Patriarch, Michelangelo let out a battle cry and charged with his sword held high. The mob followed. The enemy stood no chance. They tried to flee, but were run down by the citizens of Constantinople. Michelangelo let them release their anger while he approached the Patriarch. “Are you hurt, your holiness?”

“I am fine, Senator Favero,” replied the Patriarch. “God has seen it fit to spare me this day and punish these heretics. But what of the Empress? Is she safe?”

“Senator Doukas has gone after her. I am certain he will keep her from harm. For now, let us get you to safety before more intruders arrive.”

Michelangelo went to guide the Patriarch out of the building when he lost his step and fell to his knees. He tried to rise but a dizzy spell overtook him.

“Senator, you are hurt!”

Michelangelo finally noticed the wound in his shoulder. The bullet had gone straight through and his outfit was soaked with blood. So that was what that pain was from before. He tried to regain his feet again and collapsed to the ground. The Patriarch and several citizens gathered around him to help. He slowly slipped from consciousness, content that he had at least done his duty and saved the Patriarch in time.

Doukas advanced through the halls of the Imperial Palace. Servants and Varangians were strewn all over the floor, and the blood had stained the priceless Anatolian carpets. On the walls were portraits of former Emperors and Empresses, and Doukas felt unworthy to be looking directly at them.
A large man rounded the corner in front of him. Before he could react, Doukas drew a dagger and stabbed him, muffling his screams for help. Moving along, he arrived at what appeared to be the Empress’s private quarters. They were empty, but there was a trail of blood leading out from the doors to another part of the palace.

Doukas felt sick to be looking at imperial blood being spilled so callously. But he must look and follow the trail. He slowly stepped through the deserted palace, the blood trail leading him towards one of the old pagan temples which had been refurbished as part of the palace. As he got closer and closer to the temple, he heard an ominous chanting in some language that was not quite Ruthenian. He rounded a corner, and the temple came into full view. He was on a balcony, overseeing the horrifying rites going on below.

There were at least a dozen men gathered below in front of a Ruthenian in pagan robes. As he watched, the Ruthenian priest carried a wooden sculpture of Christ on the cross and dropped it into a bonfire. Behind him, strapped to an altar, were the Empress and her husband, the Prince-Consort, themselves. “Praise be to the Black God, Chernobog, who smiles upon us as we offer Him this offering to feast upon.”

“Seriously?” Doukas thought. “First a conspiracy to drag Ruthenia and the Empire to war, and now a conspiracy of pagan cannibal Ruthenians? I must be going mad.”

The Prince-Consort’s voice came through the chanting, “God will have you burn in hell for eternity, heathen!”

“Oh, but it is you who is mistaken,” said the priest with a laugh. “Your god has abandoned you to our clutches. Chernobog is victorious! Soon, war will break out, and He will feast upon all of the souls taken in the fighting. But first, both of you will be His first meal.”

“Not if I can help it,” exclaimed Doukas.

Everyone looks up and saw him.

The priest spoke again, “Ah, the Duke who is not actually a duke. We meet at last. I am Iosef Ignatieff, servant of Chernobog, and you really expect me to tell you my evil plan at this moment?”

“No. I already know your plan.” He emptied his guns into the procession below, each bullet sending a cultist to Hell for eternity. Finally, he was out of bullets, and the High Priest was still alive. Doukas walked downstairs, took his dagger, and ran the pagan through. “The name’s Nikephoros Doukas. Not just ‘the Duke,’ but the bringer of Victory as well. Senatus Populesque Romanus.”

With that Ignatieff departed to hell with the rest of the cultists. As Doukas set to work freeing the unconscious Empress and her conscious but badly wounded husband from the altar, he wondered if Favero had saved the Patriarch.

The Prince-Consort pointed at Doukas’s chest. “You’re bleeding.”

Doukas looked down. He had forgotten about his wounds from earlier. He collapsed on the altar and blacked out.

Back near the senate hall, a freshly awakened Konstantinos Galatias beheaded a Ruthenian with one swipe of his family sword. He muttered several curses in French.

In the city of Riga, Alexios Damaskinos went to his apartment. He finally had time to rest after many conversations with Livonian Order’s representatives and diplomats. He was admiring views of Riga. “It is indeed beautiful city. I’m curious if my fellow senators are having as tough day as I am.”

Doukas, for the first time in his life, felt completely at peace. He knew he had done his duty and saved the Empire from destruction. He hoped Favero had also been successful. He couldn’t feel the rest of his body, but his mind was free to roam around. He saw a world where he was born as a knight in one of the Oriental kingdoms, named Sakamoto. In that world, there was no Roman Empire. The true rulers of the world were the Anglo-Saxon barbarians, horrifyingly.

He saw images of what may be. Mankind making larger and larger leaps in technology, exploring the unknown parts of the world, discovering secrets that only God should have known. Wars growing even more deadly and widespread. Mankind taking its deadly violence to the skies, raining fire and brimstone upon millions of innocents…the Empire could not hope to survive in this deadly age with such a mindset. They had to adapt, to prepare…

In the East, two empires emerged to shake the world. The Celestial Empire and the Land of the Rising Sun, tipping the balance of power, would either challenge the Empire or join forces with it, ushering in either an age of war or peace.

He wondered when he was going to wake.

During the time of the terrorist strike on the Senate, Septiadis was sitting the farthest away from the explosion. While he got hit by flying debris, he was largely unscathed. He ran for cover as soon as he could. In his many years of travel, he had learned many things from many people. This included many forms swordsmanship. He grabbed a sword from one of the dead Varangians and started hiding in the debris. He killed a few terrorists before overhearing a conversation between two of them, mentioning a conspiracy that would lead to war. He recalled hearing of a multicultural neo-paganist terrorist group a few months back, but he had dismissed it as a silly rumor.

Eventually, he made his way outside, seeing some other senators. He was relieved that the other senators were alive. He saw Senators Doukas and Favero running into the city. He realized that practically no one was helping the unconscious senators beneath the debris and decided to help them instead. By the time he finished helping the remaining senators up, everything was already over. He wondered where the other awake senators were.

Doukas awoke in one of the undamaged rooms of the palace which had been conveyed into a makeshift hospital. He found that his wounds had been bandaged and hardly hurt. The improved scientific technology really had paid off.

He asked one of the doctors, “What of the Empress? Is she okay?”

The doctor told him that Her Majesty was being treated in another part of the palace, surrounded by a detachment of heavily armed surviving Varangians. Doukas sighed. At least she was safe.

He got up and left the palace, as he was no longer seriously injured. He found his horse grazing on the lawn outside and rode to the Hagia Sophia. He found the Patriarch safe and surrounded by a crowd of civilians.

“Where is Senator Favero?” he asked the Patriarch

“He’s safe and alive, but it’ll take some time for him to recover,” was the answer.

With that, Doukas headed off for the Senate building. He was sure that some senators had woken up. He had to tell them what had happened.

Michelangelo awoke on a cot in a candlelit room. The sound of chanting could be heard nearby, a prayer to God most likely. He went to get up, but groaned as pain spiked in his shoulder. A nun shuffled into the room and gently pushed him back down on the cot. “You are still injured, Senator. Your wound may be infected and you’re already running a fever. You must rest.”

The nun wiped his forehead with a damp cloth, making Michelangelo realize just how warm he was. Sweat poured from his skin and he felt as though he was on fire. She pulled out a vial of what he assumed was medicine and carefully poured it between his lips. It was bitter, but what medicine wasn’t. He reluctantly gulped it down. Then he remembered the circumstances that had brought him to this points. “The Empress, has she been harmed? And what of the Patriarch? Is the attack over?”

The nun smiled down at him. “I have been told that they will both be fine. Now rest.”

Michelangelo stretched out on the cot to get comfortable, letting his eyes slowly close. He felt unusually drowsy and soon sleep overcame him. He didn’t notice the shine of metal sticking out from between the nun’s robe as she left the room, a mischievous look on her face.

Doukas heard a scream behind him. It was the Patriarch. Something was happening at the Hagia Sophia. He turned around and rode back into the church, only to find dozens of civilians incapacitated and a nun holding a knife to the Patriarch’s throat. Blood trickled down from a gash in his shoulder, which the nun lapped up happily.

Doukas sighed. “Here we go again…”

He raised his gun and pulled the trigger.

CLICK. Nothing.

He noticed movement behind him. He dodged the knife blow from the cultist sneaking up behind him, seeing something glint on the blade as it passed him. Poison.

Doukas tackled the cultist, knocking the blade out of the cultist’s hand. With his foot he kicked a nearby sword into his hand and stabbed the cultist.

“Stop! Or your Patriarch will be fed to Chernobog!” screamed the nun.

“If only he still had some ammunition,” thought Doukas.

In another part of the church, there was chanting in that same not quite Ruthenian language. A group of cultists filed into the main atrium, dragging the body of senator Favero towards an altar they had constructed around the Patriarch’s chair and a large mound of paintings and idols to Christ.

“Who will you save, Duke?” The nun smiled. “The Artist or the Patriarch?”

With that they tied both the Patriarch and Favero to the altar and set the whole thing on fire. The cultists drew knives and advanced as one menacingly on Doukas. He was surrounded. There was no escape.

Michelangelo slowly returned to consciousness. He felt incredibly warm. His fever must have been getting worse. As he opened his eyes, he realized it wasn’t the fever. Flames licked around him and were starting to singe his robes. Behind him he could hear the screams of another man. He tried to turn his head, but it flopped to the side uselessly. Had he been drugged? He could make out a group of people across the room wearing strange clothing. Cultists, perhaps? He had no idea what they were doing here or what was going on. The fire was slowly burning closer to him. He needed to get away from the flames.

Michelangelo tried to move, but found himself bound down. He could just barely shift his body with ropes binding him to the altar behind him. He wiggled back and forth to try to loosen the ropes, but to no avail. Something fell out of his pocket and onto the floor. Flopping his head forward, he could make out the shape of a gun by his feet. It must have been the pistol Doukas had given him earlier. He tried to nudge it closer with his foot, but accidentally kicked it into the flames in his drugged stupor. Well that didn’t go as planned.

A loud bang sounded near Michelangelo and one cultist attacking Doukas dropped over dead. The flames must have heated up the gunpowder and fired the gun. Well that was the best help he could provide. The flames licked at his skin now and the altar was now burning behind him. He hissed in pain as his skin was scorched by the hot flames. Just when he thought it unbearable, the rope snapped after being burned through by the fire and he fell forward onto the floor. Michelangelo flopped out of the flames and rolled away from the altar. He was no longer in danger of burning, but he was still too drugged to get to his feet and help. All he could do was watch the Patriarch stumble away from the altar and run out a side door in terror. Well at least he was safe if somewhat of a coward.

Doukas heard a bang from the altar, and one of the cultists in front of him screamed and dropped on the floor, dead. As all of the cultists turned to see Favero and the Patriarch break free of their bindings, with the Patriarch running out of the room and Favero collapsing on the floor in a drugged stupor, Doukas lashed out with his sword, cutting down at least five of the cultists before he was restrained by the rest.

Surprisingly, they didn’t kill them immediately. A man in the robes of the High Priest of Chernobog entered the room, and the cultists bowed to him.

“Ah, the Artist who is not an artist and the Duke who is not a duke,”said Iosef Ignatieff, “It is nice to see you again.”

“Iosef Ignatieff!” exclaimed Doukas.“I killed you myself back at Blachernae!”

Ignatieff smiled.“Chernobog works in mysterious ways. I am his chosen one, his champion!”

He strolled over to the bonfire, where priceless relics dating back from the days of the Great Schism and the Iconoclast Controversy were burning and melting.

“You hate this, don’t you?”Ignatieff smiled.“Once word gets out about this, everyone will hate Mother Russia and Germania. Then, only then, will Chernobog be pleased by the sacrifices made to Him in the ensuing war!”

“Yada, yada, yada,” Doukas said, “Yeah, I heard this before. Why don’t we skip the boasting and trash talking and get to the part where you explain your evil plan? Oh wait, you already did so!”

“I am getting sick of your talk, boy,” Ignatieff said. To his cultists, he ordered,“Kill them!”

The pagans resumed advancing on Doukas. Looking around, he saw Favero stirring ever so slightly, but nobody paid attention to him, thinking he was dead already of his burns.

Ignatieff raised his arms skyward let out a large, diabolical laugh that could only have been given to him by Satan or whatever god he served.“WAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Nobody can stop us now! Praise the Black God! The Cult of the Black Hand is victorious!”

At that moment, the doors of the church burst open, and with a fanfare of trumpets, gunfire—from military rifles used by the Imperial Army, not the pistols the Ruthenians carried—rang out throughout the room. Cultists screamed as they were cut down by the relentless volley and sent to eternal torment.

“Get down!”shouted an Imperial soldier.

A second salvo rang out, and the bullets struck the nun and what cultists were stupid enough to remain standing and not run away.

There was the sound of hoof beats, and Doukas turned to see the Athenian Lancers, the renowned light cavalry brigade, charge into the room, blaring their bugles and drawing their sabers, cutting down cultists with every strike.

Ignatieff’s smile turned to shock. He glared at Doukas.“This isn’t over yet, House Doukas. The Cult is patient, and it will return to exact vengeance! Chernobog isn’t finished with any of you just yet!”

With that he disappeared into the shadows as quickly as he had arrived, the surviving cultists following him as quickly as they could.

It was over. It was finally over, Doukas thought. He felt relieved that the nightmare was finally over. Hopefully there would be no more attacks.

One of the cavalry officers dismounted and approached him. Doukas’s eyes widened as he recognized his own son, Alexios, whom he had not seen in years. He was in a colonel’s uniform and wore a couple medals—was that the Nike Medal, Order of the Empire, and the Veronica Cross? What had he done in the Holy Land in the name of the Empire?

“Is that you?” Doukas asked.

“Yes, father, it is me, Alexios,” replied the lancer officer, “After the bombing of the Senate this morning, General Savopoulos received a rushed order from Blachernae for partial mobilization of all troops around the capital before communications were cut off. With the Varangian Guard out of the picture, the Athenian Lancers were the only brigade in the area fully prepared for battle at the time—we were here for training—so they sent us into the city to root out any suspects. You should have seen the battle downtown!”

Doukas hugged his son and cried. He couldn’t take any more of this.“Thank you so much, son. You saved us all.”

“No, father, you did. You saved the Empress herself, for crying out loud! Her Majesty is safe from the clutches of the cannibals and heathens thanks to you. God knows what would have happened if you had decided to accept that job offer at the University of Constantinople instead of the appointment to the Senate.”

Some soldiers brought in water and put out the bonfire, saving most of the relics, while others helped Favero to his feet and put him on a horse.

“We’re heading to the Senate now, you might want to come with us, as it’s safer traveling with us, Father. The Cult has you two—and your families, by extension—as targets. They’re going to seek vengeance at all costs, for whatever reason. Only God knows why the Doukoi and Favero families are so important.”

May 10, 1854
A pale but imperious Veronica prepares to address the Senate in an appropriate hall in Blachernae, as the Imperial complex is damaged and in need of refurbishment.


Yesterday was a dramatic and terrible day. Thankfully the Senate proved that they are the men I had thought them to be, and the loss of life was less than one would have thought. Senators Doukas’ and Favero’s efforts in particular stood out. Thanks to them, the terrorists were held at bay until the Scholai Palatinae could arrive.

Senators Doukas and Favero are henceforth elevated to the aristocratic rank, and will be given lands according to their new station. When they are recovered, they will also be placed as governors within Greece and Italy.

To replenish the now-thinned ranks of senators, We ask that the Kyriarchía faction among the Senators train new senatorial candidates in proper etiquette for the Senate.[1]

Finally, if there are no objections, the Scholai Palatinae will add a guard regiment that will be stationed in the Blachernae palace complex.

[1] (( I’m editing in the ‘Harassment’ political party reform. We’ll assume the other parties quickly organize and attempt to draw new Senators into their sphere. ))

This message to Blachernae was delivered by Colonel Alexios Doukas, son of Doux Nikephoros Doukas and Commander of the Athenian Lancers:

Your Highness, I accept your gracious offer. I will serve you loyally as both doux and governor of Thema Graecia.

To my fellow senators:
So I guess all of that is over now. Her Majesty is safe, His Holiness is safe, the Empire is safe…for now. We cannot forget the terrible things that happened on May 9, which for the sake of the records I shall refer to as 5/9. We must move forward together. If there’s anything that the perpetrators of 5/9 have taught us, it is that we are easily driven to war. Had some of us not discovered the machinations of the Cult of the Black Hand working behind the Ruthenian terrorists, we would have played right into their hands and sent the legions into Germania and Ruthenia, sacrificing millions of innocents to their Black God, Chernobog they called him. Let us remind them that we are Romans, and we serve the Empire with honor and rationality. Let us remind them that we are the civilized ones. Let us remind them that before we decide on any course of action, we weigh the benefits and costs first, whether within the Senate or the court at Blachernae. For we are the Roman Empire, and unlike the Old Empire we will not fall and submit to Germanic and Slavic barbarians! They will submit to us, as we are the center of Western civilization! Let it be known that we hold our heads high! We shall not give in to the bloody demands of terrorists or cultists! Long live the Empress! May the Empire last ten thousand years!

PS: I strongly urge my fellow senators in the Foederatoi Party to recruit new senators sympathetic to our cause; we are going to need them moving forward. Check their backgrounds and make sure none have criminal backgrounds. I’d recommend setting up civil service exams in each town in order to make the best use of Roman talent.

~Doux Nikephoros Doukas, Governor of Greece, from his villa in Athens, May 10, in the year of our Lord 1854

Mikael Moustakas rushes back to Constantinople

“By Christ, what has happened here? Those perfidious Russians!”

Your Majesty, you are most gracious. I humbly accept the gifts you grant me for my undying service to you. I will carry out all the responsibilities of my new rank and position with great honour and wisdom. Italy will prosper under my guidance.

– Duke Michelangelo “the Artist” Favero

Alexios responds to Mikael on behalf of Nikephoros:

Honored Senator, this may sound like the words of a madman, but it is the truth, as I was there to see the end of it. A cult of pagan cannibals, which my father told me was that of the Black Hand, attacked the capital city yesterday, targeting Blachernae, the Senate Palace, and Hagia Sophia, killing numerous senators and taking the Empress and the Ecumenical Patriarch hostage, with the aim of sacrificing both to their heathen god and in doing so provoking the Empire to war with the Germans and Ruthenians so that the casualties would please their god. Due to the intervention of my father and Senator Favero, both the Empress and the Patriarch are safe, and the plot has been foiled. As we speak, the Scholai Palatinae is launching an investigation into how such a cult could have penetrated the Empire all the way to Blachernae. I hope you understand what we have been through.

~Alexios Doukas, Commander in the Athenian Lancers

Senator Γκρέυ, walks in after weeks of touring the best brothels the Empire has to offer.

Γκρέυ: It is flithy in here and the city is in ruins, I go away for a few weeks R&R and this happens. The Kyriarchía should be banned as a party for this failure!

Kyriakos Angelos, who was present during the attack, openly laughs at Stephen’s comments. “I knew liberalism was a mental disease, but clearly the natives ofIrlandiado not even have the saving grace of a proper Hellenic upbringing. Such is the curse of the immigrants and the lower classes, I see.”

Alexios sighs. He whispers something in the ear of the Athenian Lancer soldier next to him, who promptly leaves the room.
You are correct in that the Hibernians do not have the proper Hellenic upbringing. However, they can become proper Romans given enough education (or re-education, for that matter) and time. The other Senator is not inherently corrupted–he was corrupted by theimmoral businesessof the capital. Wickedness must be stamped out.
Immigrants give us fresh minds, new ideas, for continued inovation, so that the Empire can adapt in these changing times. And the lower classes…remember to keep them happy, or they will rebel and upset the natural order of things.
But enough of this talk of petty matters. I was sent here to discuss more serious issues, such as 5/9. I’ll make this as blunt and straightforward as possible:
There are traitors within the Senate.
Of course, you’re all thinking, “Preposterous. Traitors? In my Senate?!” But that is the truth. How else could the cult have penetrated into the Senate and planted the bomb? Remember that the whole incident began when a Ruthenian agent walked into the middle of the Senate and declared that Russia was the Third Rome (clearly not the case). How could they have gotten past the dozens of heavily armed Varangians and Scholai Palatinae forces without raising the alarm? And how could the bomb have been so deadly to senators and Varangians alike? There had to have been somebody working with them.
I bet they’re right here right now, listening to us as we speak.

~Alexios Doukas

The idea that the Ruthenian agent from earlier was brought into the Senate thanks to a traitor frightened Senator Septiadis.

“If what you say is true, surely we should have the entire building, nay, the entire city searched! If there is such a traitor, or a group of traitors, running amok among our ranks, we should stop them posthaste!”, Septiadis said.

For an attack of such magnitude to occur without warning in the heart of the Empire would require some inside assistance. Whether or not that inside assistance is a senator or two is yet to be determined. I think it would be best if all senators remain in Constantinople for a time until any possible traitors can be found. Perhaps we should start with those who were involved in the “Third Rome” incident.

– Duke Michelangelo “the Artist” Favero

That would be most wise. However, my father is in Athens right now, so that may complicate things a little bit. As for the rest of us, I have ordered the Athenian Lancers to guard the Senate room and watch for any suspicious activities.


Well I think it is safe to assume that your father is not involved in conspiracy after saving the Empress’ life. It may be prudent to recall him to Constantinople though, as well as any senators not in the city. Their absence during the attack is suspicious enough.

– Duke Michelangelo “the Artist” Favero

My father is in Athens to recover; he is in no shape to travel back to the capital. Do not worry, the Doukas family villa is heavily guarded by loyal soldiers.
I do agree that the senators who were not present at the time of the attack seem suspicious. After all, they suffered the least.



Let Us tell you of the wars of the past few years.

Heeding the Senate’s desire for expansion in the Far East, and noting the difficulties the Empire’s factories were having in procuring dye, We set some agents to work on Sulawesi, where they documented the local population’s desire to be a part of the Empire instead of part of Hedjaz. When the agents’ efforts came to world attention, this was viewed negatively.
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While this was under way, Poland requested Our help in reclaiming lands of theirs that were occupied by Bavaria. Not only seeking to keep an ally, but also seeing a chance to weaken Bavaria, We agreed.
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XXVII. Legio moved into the Alps to block Bavarian incursion, while XXIII. Legio moved through German lands to strike the Bavarian east. When Thuringia agreed to help Bavaria, X. Legio moved to occupy their small territory.
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XXVII. Legio was never able to force a battle, but they frightened several Bavarian forces away from occupying alpine territories. XXIII. Legio captured Brno. X. Legio completed occupied Thuringia and scattered their miniscule army. This was enough for Bavaria to agree to the Polish claims.
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The attack on Hedjaz was slightly delayed as the upgrades of the border fortifications had been using up the supply of artillery, leaving the legions under-supplied. But provisions were redistributed, and the legions were ready in August of 1849.

In the east, XI. Legio moved island to island.
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In the west, I. Legio and XIX. Legio both attacked the Hedjaz homeland.
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By November, Hedjaz was ready for peace.
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Agents were then sent to the Iraqi holdings in the Philippines. Iraq, suspicious of us after the war with Hedjaz, found our agents nearly immediately. But this did not deter Us in the least.
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It was October 1850 before the legions were recovered and in position.

But in September of that year, the UTA had declared war on the Empire of Mexico, as they now claimed that the central part of North America from ocean to ocean was theirs by right. We could not abandon our ally, even though this also brought us into wars with Biru, Colombia, and New England.
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XV. Legio marched along the Colombian coast, pacifying the lands it marched through. Though it did not capture much before beginning to repel Colombian armies from both Imperial territory and captured territory. Once defeating the entirety of the Colombian armies, they again moved along the coast, and then marched inland towards the Colombian capital of Bogota. Eventually, in November of 1851 Colombia agreed to a simple peace with no concessions.
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IX. Legio initially assisted against New England by defeating their armies. Again, occupying their territories would be left to the UTA.
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XII. Legio had set sail towards Biru’s capital. In their eagerness to fight, they convinced Admiral Theodoros Mavrocordatos to sail at top speed, leaving the western fleet behind. At the Antofagasta coast, they were intercepted by the Biruvian navy. Fortunately Biru’s ships were, if not yet obsolete, badly out of date and our transport fleet was able to withdraw in good order with the loss of only one ship. Even better, that ship was carrying supplies and not soldiers. Unfortunately, the nearest port was the Falklands, so XII. Legio would not soon be attacking Biru.
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In that time, IX. Legio had arrived in Texas to begin repelling Mexican armies. After it did so, it began occupying Mexican territory. They spent the rest of the war doing so. Once nearly all of central Mexico was occupied, they returned to Lisboa.
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By October 1851, a new ship had been built, and XII. Legio again struck at Biru. This time the West Fleet was keeping the Biruvian fleet in their port. XII. Legio proceeded to occupy much of Biru, additionally driving their fleet from their port into the guns of the West Fleet. But the stubborn Biruvians did not agree to peace until July of 1852.
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Meanwhile, XV. Legio had been shipped from Colombia to the southernmost regions of Mexico to occupy their lands. When they had occupied the whole South of Mexico, they returned home to Georgetown.
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In August of 1842, New England finally agreed to annexation. The UTA had a secure northeastern territory.
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XII. Legio had been shipped north to Oregon, where they defeated one of the last Mexican armies and then moved to free American towns from Mexican occupation. Once this was complete, they headed home to Tangier.
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The war with Mexico did not dissuade us from war with Iraq. This war was declared on October 4th 1450. XI. Legio did its usual work of occupying the island of Southeast Asia.
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And I. Legio occupied the Iraqi heartland.
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And those small occupations were all it took for Iraq to surrender on the 11th of November, 1450. Γιώργος Γκρέυ, son of Senator Στήβεν Γκρέυ, was made governor of this new colony.
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Before the Mexican war had yet ended, Poland asked for Our help in freeing Lietuva from Russian domination. We could not refuse them.
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As in former wars, XXIV. Legio marched to occupy Moscow, while II. Legio cut off Russian access to the sea.
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XXIII. Legio moved against Hungary when they decided to help Russia. I. Legio moved against Persia when they did the same. Both X. Legio and XVII. Legio moved to defeat Hungarian armies in western Germany.

XXIV. Legio was then intercepted at Kursk on their march to Moscow. They won the ensuing battle, but need to turn back in order to recuperate. When they were attacked again as they withdrew, they were routed and forced back to Moldavia.
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Fortunately, enough damage was done on enough fronts that Russia surrendered in June of 1853.
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However the Mexican-American war still went on, as We waited for the Americans to declare enough terms to give Mexico a harsh peace.

After an intermission, We shall tell you of domestic affairs during this time.

Praise be the mighty legions of Rome! No country can hope to stop us.

The Russians got what they deserved for their attack in our capital. If only we could have burnt Moscow to the ground!

Perhaps we should consider working with Bavaria to contain German ambitions. Germany could prove to be a deadly foe in the future.

-Senator Mikael Moustakas

Well, the cult failed in their plan to incite war with the Ruthenians, but I guess was against the Slavic barbarians was inevitable anyways, given the geopolitical situation of Poland. Luckily this war wasn’t that bloody.
In other matters, the Doukoi fully support the war in the Americas. May the legions carry the Empire to victory!

I shall be heading off to the front if the war will not end in the next month, so my father will be returning, perhaps as soon as the next session. He’s recovered enough and would like to help root out the traitors within our ranks…


Speaking of war in the Americas, should we continue to eternally support the United Tribes in their desire to subdue the American continent?

-Senator Mikael Moustakas

Yes, until they fix the borders that have been giving me and the cartographers heart attacks.


I do so enjoy seeing the Russians suffer. Seeing them lose that pocket on the Baltic just brightens my day. To the glory of the Empire!

– Duke Michelangelo “the Artist” Favero

Successful repelling of Russian threat to Europe is once again great news. Although I am concerned about our interventions in Americas. It seems like the burden of UTA’s expansionism rests on our shoulders. Alliance should be beneficial for both sides and I can’t see any benefit for us in this agreement, thus I suggest ending it, or at least being more passive in America’s wars. Let them bleed in their petty wars if they want, but we shouldn’t support creation of so called Great Power on the American continent, as after defeating Mexicans, UTA can turn against us in the future. I suggest maintaining the balance of power in Americas by more passive military actions in the region.

– Senator Alexios Damaskinos

If the United Tribes manage to achieve the status of a “Great Power,” they will most certainly abandon their alliance with us. Perhaps we can play them off against Kanata to prevent this from happening?


Who would have ever thought the Russian could win a battle at Kursk, seems like the Emperess is allowing her advisors to siphon funds to line their own pockets.

Given our legions dominance on all other fronts I demand an investigation into this regions Katepanō and Stratēgos, I believe Senator Damaskinos’ kin are invovled and his attempt to place issue on our continual alliance with the UTA is a disgusting attempt to dirty the name of a loyal and valuable ally.

SenatorΣτήβεν Γκρέυ

Take that back!

Senator, give me one reason why we should continually back the tribes till the end of time? And how are they a valuable and loyal ally when they have never helped us?

-Mikael Moustakas

Senator Στήβεν Γκρέυ, that’s just empty words, give us evidence of their loyalty.

My words are substantiated. That’s not the first war in which UTA is using our military strenght to achieve it’s goals. We don’t even have common enemy. Our withdrawal from Americas meant that we are no longer interested in the affairs of these continents, or at most we should be interested in achieving Balance of Power in Americas.

What do you, senator, have to back your words? Name one war in which Empire’s interests were threatened and in which UTA came to help us. Prove me wrong and I’ll consider changing my mind.

– Senator Alexios Damaskinos


Let Us open this part of the address by speaking of technology and learning.

The previous research into the State and Government paid yet more dividends, as we developed yet more means of controlling different groups. Most importantly, We learned to inspire colonists to move to more difficult lands.
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As you no doubt noticed on the updated map, with this new found colonial enthusiasm, We were able to establish colonies in the Egyptian desert, on South Georgia Island, in North Angola, in South Angola, on Christmas Island, on Cocos Island, and in the Northern Territory of Australia.

Near the end of 1849, Our improved railroad designs were ready for full-scale production. Between both Our investment and capitalist investment, these improved railroads are being built in every possible location in the Empire, including much hilly terrain that was formerly impassible to railroads.
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After the war against Hedjaz, We commanded the navy to learn to better estimate what supplies they would need. They took advantage of the statistical mathematics being developed at the University of Constantinople, applying them to more than just the supply situation.
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Not only did this enable the navy to reach further, but they better understood how to strike at the enemy, both at a tactical and a strategic level. Furthermore, the navy began adding plans for night attacks to their repertoire.
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At this point, We turned Our attention to the economy. With the continuing expansion of businesses everywhere, We sought regulations that would better manage the market as a whole.
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By the beginning of 1853, a legal framework for these regulations had been developed, and specific regulations for the financial markets promulgated.
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At this point, the experiences of the Mexican-American war were leading to applications of the new technologies of recent years.
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They were also demonstrating the need for an improved rifle for the legions. Preferably one that did not need to be loaded from the muzzle.
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Sadly, the rifles were not yet ready for the disastrous battle of Kursk. Nearly a year later, they were finally deployed.

And with that, We are uncertain where to direct the researchers and inventors of the Empire. Perhaps the Senate has some recommendations?
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On the societal side, the Empire faced a dangerous escaped convict, militant clergymen, blighted crops, nationalist martyrs, investigative reporters, ‘disloyal regiments’, money laundering banks, and requests for prison reform.
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Those may sound as if we had great difficulties, but consider instead Persia’s violent overthrow of the Persian Patriarch, who replaced by a monk from an ascetic monastery.
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Finally, in more personal news, We bore Our seventh and eighth children. Surely God is bringing restoration to the Doukas family.

I propose we eliminate these investigative reporters, disloyal regiments, and money laundering banks.

Congratulations, Basilissa, for another pair of lovely children. The Lord shies his favor upon you.

-Senator Moustakas

This issue regarding a disloyal regiment is particularly disturbing after the incident we experienced here in Constantinople. Perhaps an investigation should be conducted of the armed forces to determine where the loyalty of each regiments lies. Speaking of that, has any evidence been found that may reveal who was the spy within Constantinople or even within the Senate? I would hate to think that whoever is guilty of such a crime is still loose and able to potentially harm others or even Your Majesty.

My most sincere blessings upon your newborn children. May they live long and prosperous lives.

– Duke Michelangelo “the Artist” Favero

Nikephoros is escorted into the Senate, propped up by two members of the Athenian Lancers.

Ah, it’s so nice to see you all again. Your Imperial Highness, I hope you are doing well after the events of 5/9 and giving birth. I have quite a few things that I would like to discuss.

He motions to Alexios, who leaves the room.

While we’re waiting for my son to return, I would like to talk about the issue with the Imperial prison system. First and foremost, we need reform. I believe that some of the people we have incarcerated can be rehabilitated, and we need to make sure those people don’t end up like those sentenced to execution.

Second, the blight. How did we allow this to happen? The peasants were starving to death by the thousands! I did my best to remedy the problem in Greece, but the government needs to really care for the common people! Think about it…less people, less taxes, less subjects! It’s that simple!

Alexios returns, leading a man in chains behind him.

Ah, right on schedule. Senators, this man you see before you was Senator Antonios Tsoukalos, a man who sat among us the session before the dreadful attack. He was Senator Antonios Tsoukalos, because now he is not. He is a member of the Cult of the Black Hand, one who partook in their gruesome displays of cannibalism and satanic rituals! He forsook his god, his all-caring god, in favor of this demonic bloodthirsty heathen spirit! Now, Dmitri “The Sword of Baba Yaga,” this traitor, has been shamelessly feeding the Cult information on all of us–our families, ages, properties, backgrounds, cultures, and even political standing! This man is the reason the Cult managed to pentrated deep into the capital! However, we have him in our clutches, and although there are possibly still more traitors lurking in our midst, we can make an example of this man. How shall we deal with him?

But first, I have other news for you.
The Cult is at it again.
Yes, you may argue “Where’s your evidence,” but I feel the evidence just provided is enough. How else did criminals, convicted killers, escape our maximum security prison? In Lyon, New Guinea, and Tlemcen, there have been reports of people trying to incite the local populations against our rule. It has to be the Cult, sowing discontent among the people, or maybe I’m getting old and paranoid. How else could preachers and farmer banks be so influential? The incident in New Guinea will only be the first of such cases, unless we root out the disloyal elements within the military. This being said, I recommend to Your Imperial Highness that we spend more money on improving the administration and the education system, in order to make our bureaucracy more efficient and our people more assimilated in Roman society.

Also, we should direct the University to begin researching the concept of Nationalism and Imperialism, because I feel we are going to need it in the near future.

That’s all I have to say. Does anyone have any questions as to what I said? I will be more than happy to clarify on my points.

~Doux Nikephoros of Thema Graecia

A traitor revealed at last! Senator Antonios Tsoukalos must be punished, but first we must extract all information we can from him about this cult of his. If he is unwilling to give us such information, he should be executed. Someone must be punished for all the bloodshed that cult caused.

What you suggest, Doux Doukas, is most disturbing. If indeed this cult is behind all those events, it suggests that they not only have a large following, but also have agents in even the farthest corners of the Empire. I fear for the Empire in the coming days.

– Duke Michelangelo “the Artist” Favero

Your Most Imperial Magnifinence, blessing on your House and your most Revered Personage! You are truly an inspiration to the thousands of loyal citizens and millions of subjects.

Senator Moustakas once again rears his head as one of the triumvirate of corrupt and greedy senators imposing their will over the Kyriarchía and Foiderátoi parties, of course he wants the suppression of newspapers, when those same newspapers expose the degenerate world in which he and his ilk bring this house to its kneew. Surely despite their protests we see now how the leading parties use women, wine and gold to bribe those around them to follow in their corrupt footsteps. Not since Marcus Licinius Crassus has the Empire or the Republic of its birth been so abused by the wealth and power accumulated by so few!

I believe we must begin to bring about regulations to the banking sector, this sector is dominated by this unholy Triumvirate, Duke Favero, Seantors Moustakas and Damaskinos! We must research and allow Business Banks that will be regulated and separate entities so that the ordinary merchants can develop their businesses without the usurious rates charged by this cabal of evil!

Now we have another Foiderátoi party member arresting Senators without trial, yet asking for mercy for others! Doux Nikephoros claims to have the interests of the Empire at heart, the Empire, really? Again fools and crooks trying to sway your Imperial Majesty. The sooner you appoint the XKM to power the sooner we can begin to dismantle this system of cronyism and kickbacks that have lead to these blights, criminals and scandals.

I am afraid I must put forward a vote of no confidence our current leaders.

Senator Στήβεν Γκρέυ

I do not appreciate being referred to as a member of a “cabal of evil”, Senator Στήβεν Γκρέυ. My home of Venice has always been a city of wealth and merchants. Just because my family has resorted to successful business practices for generations does not mean that I some satanic figure bent on the destitution of the common merchant.

And what is this vote nonsense? The Empress’s word is law. We, as senators, are merely here to guide Her Highness. If she deems the words of a certain party more important than the rest, then so be it.

– Duke Michelangelo “the Artist” Favero

Take that back now!
I do have evidence that Senator Tsoukalos here belongs to the Cult. When the Scholai Palatinae “inspected” his house on the grounds of suspicious activity in the weeks and days leading up to the attack (including swearing in Russian, becoming incredibly secretive, and checking out books on the Ruthenian pagan pantheon and associated rituals from the University), they found numerous satanic imagery, incantations written in blood in Old Ruthenian, and, most importantly, an altar much like the ones found in Blachernae and Hagia Sofia, which was stained with fresh blood. Further investigations revealed a dismembered body with the heart removed buried under the floorboards (the heart was found partially eaten next to the altar). In addition to all of this class condemning evidence, the man himself confessed to aiding the Cult and directly communicating with the Cult leader! Now, I agree we must put him on trial, as is the civilized way, but is this evidence not enough to condemn him to death? Senator Στήβεν Γκρέυ, I have the relevant files with me right now. Read them and reconsider your words.
Your Imperial Highness, I truly do serve the Empire above all else, despite what others say. Do you not remember how during the attacks, I saved your life and fought the cult’s leader? If I was but a simple crook, would I care for your life? Would I even consider saving you?

The Cult is dividing us, driving is apart, exploiting out fears, rivalries, weaknesses. A house divided against itself cannot stand.

~Doux Nikephoros

To respond to the previous messages to Blachernae, before the recent madness:

Senator Favero, as far as We can determine, there is no great love between Germany and Russia. We believe that a reporter for the newspapers mistook a minor diplomatic mission as meaning more than it did.

Senator Damaskinos, Doukas and Γκρέυ , We will continue to look to the east, both China and India, in the future. Not war, necessarily, but perhaps a continuing extension of so-called ‘soft power’? As you suggest. Though if need be, war is also a tool to use. But We would prefer stripping Iraq, Hedjaz, and Persia of their colonies for now.

And to respond to the comments during the address:

Several Senators are concerned at the level of support We give our allies in the Americas and Germany, and even suggest trying to turn on them. We are hopeful that they will be able to support themselves soon enough, and remain convinced they will not so easily turn on the Empire once they are self-sufficient. We will continue to send diplomatic missions to ensure this is so.

As well, the loss at Kursk was after XXIV. Legio had already defeated a much larger army mere days before, and was seeking to return to Imperial lands to recover and reorganize. They were ambushed on this journey. You can note on the after-action report from the battle that they were at one quarter strength, purely by manpower numbers alone. Perhaps the legions could learn from the navy and develop per-prepared plans so that they are ready for these situations in the future.

We would also point out that any investigative reporters are either working for the Imperial Newspaper or already illegal, the bank was shut down, the so-called ‘disloyal regiment’ was merely responding to poor officers, that the prison system is being reformed even now, and that personal charity met the needs of those hurt by the famine.

We will direct investment in both better banking laws, if only to demonstrate a lack of corruption, and an understanding of nationalist and imperialist thought.

Senator Doukas—We will note in passing that being a Senator is a higher honor than being a Doux, thus the honorific Senator instead of Doux—excellent work on the investigation. The Scholai Palatinae will interrogate Senator Tsoukalos and continue the investigation in Constantinople. If you would direct the investigation into the cult elsewhere in the Empire, We would be quite thankful.

Finally, We thank you all for your congratulations on Our children. A healthy Imperial family leads to a healthy Empire.

Are there any further questions or comments before We close the session?

Your Imperial Highness, thank you for your gracious opinion on the investigation.  The Cult may be as secretive as the Hashashin of old were, but ultimately the Empire will defeat them.

Moving on, I do believe that we should send an ambassador to the Celestial Empire, or Serica as it is referred to in the ancient texts.  They possess vast amounts of resources that we need, and they are interested in some of our technology.  Perhaps we could sign a trade agreement with them?  Didn’t one of their fleets show up on the Arabian coast three hundred years ago?  An alliance with the Middle Kingdom would allow the Empire to better project its military and economic power into Asia and the Pacific, where we all know that the Ruthenians have some colonies we would like…
I am glad to hear about the resolutions regarding the banks, reporters, soldiers, famine, etc.  After all, we are civilized people, right?
On personal matters, would it be impolite to ask the gender of the newborn children and perhaps suggest some names?

~Senator Doukas of Athens

I believe new senatorships should be created and handed to loyal men from prestigious families outside of our Greek-speaking territories. This would tie more people into the life of the Empire and create a loyal citizenry committed to the Basilissa.

-Senator Moustakas

*The glorious Imperial capital, City of Men’s Desire, the centre of the world. At its heart, though slightly to the North East, the τὸ ἐν Βλαχέρναις Παλάτιον renovated and opulent stands a monument of the glory, wealth and power of the Empire. Zoom in to see the stunning artworks and frescos adorning the walls, up a bit past the gilded towers, to a small ornate garden, seemingly empty…no not quite. Pacing around the edge muttering to himself, is a man dressed plaining but with clear expense put into his dress.  His hair was clearly styled, but as he paces he grabs and pulls at it forming crazy shapes.*

Damn their oily hides, those snakes! The Kyriarchía and Foiderátoi no nothing but how to fill their own pockets. Satan’s elongated poker, the damn Patrikioi at least have a vision for the Empire! Those inbred fools look down on me and the rest of us as usurping provincials, only enough true Imperial blood allows you to join their little game. Ha! I know their secrets, I have found out their weaknesses, but the Empress continues to have them by her side, letting their poison seep into her mind, maybe her very soul.

Oh but not into my soul, oh I know they long to cut me down, yes. Arrest and detain, slay the voice of reason and logic, a true senator in the vein of Cicero. I should be leading the Senate, maybe even be the husband of the Empress, hhehehe. Not that I wouldn’t be worthy, but these fools try to spoil things. Nasty Senators! Take away all the things from me, nasty filthy senators! Γκόλουμ Γκόλουμ Γκόλουμ. Must make them understands that the world should be in twain the Tribes in the New World, the Empire to rule the Old. Then the prophecy will be try, Γκόλουμ, thenwill know, yes πολύτιμό μου.

*The Senator continues this rambling diatribe, sometimes pacing other times rocking all the while cradling something in his hands. Sometimes it appears he is speaking to whatever he holds, others it seems to be someone only he can see. Whilst this continues a figure in stylish yet armoured apparel moves from the shadows, his face covered only dark piercing eyes are visible. He approaches the Senator his steps seeming not to make a sound hand on a dagger by his side, has the end come for Στήβεν? Rounding on the back of the Senator the man seems to hesitate, yet then decides to speak and his hand leaves the dagger*

Senator? I have been sent to assist you, our goals have aligned and our time approaches, would you care to take a walk?

*  We spiral back into the sky as the man and Senator begin to talk, the Senator appears to relax and regain his composure as the man speaks. What new intrigue is brewing? Who is this man? What does all the Greek mean? Join us again same Imperial Time, same Imperial Channel*

Senator Doukas, We will certainly send an ambassador to the Ming. Though We fear their legendary insularness will prevent any trade treaties

As for Our children, they are named Veronica, Alvértos, Alíki, Alfrédos, Elena, Louiza, Artoúros, and Léon.

Senator Moustakas, We will certainly raise any worthy men of the Empire to Senatorial rank. But it is for the political parties to bring them to Our attention.

Thank you Senators. This State of the Empire address is now closed.

The Empire Strikes Back 89 – The State of the Empire 1846-1849

Senators, your presence is requested for a State of the Empire Address on the First of January, 1849.

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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All hail the Empire and the Empress who have brought us such glory against the Russian barbarians! The Imperial Army has more than proven its worth. I am also glad to see Ukraine on the Imperial map once more, and this time we will ensure they stay there.

– Michelangelo Favero

All hail the Empire and you, our glorious Empress ! Your name shall be remembered by the Ukrainian people for the centuries to come ! We must always reenforce the border with our armies for I fear the bear will come back after licking his wounds and who knows what his fury could do ?
I expect that your husband surely rejoiced at the outcome of the war !

Empress, the map reveals us something : everywhere in the world, there is a center of Roman civilization spreading our way of life and ensuring bases for potential campaigns. Everywhere except one area that appears to be weak and ripe to take : East Asia. I think it is in the interest of the Empire to secure a port on China proper. The news of their weakness are public and I think we could take treaty ports where we could force them to trade on the terms we dictate ! However we have to refrain from taking too much land from them : the hordes of Asiatic will not be handled too easily.

Other than this case, I think the Empire is fine as it is and shall continue as such. Don’t listen to the whispers of sedition : the only way to act with these so-called “liberals” is to force them to bow before you !

-Basileios Rellis

I congradulate you to the greatest extent on the recent war with Russia. We have finally put those damned Ró̱soi* back in their place. I hope this also sends a message to the world. Rome will not be tame for much longer. Now we must strike North and defeat the last vestiges to Pax Europa, the Germanoí**.

– Pontitus Caristanius Galilo


I must say that those are great news for our Empire, the balance of power and peace have been again restored, however I have to say that agressive expansion of Russia was very dangerous for not only their weaker neighbors but also our Great Empire. We must make sure that our response time in future will be faster to prevent such dangers. With this in mind, I strongly support proposition made by Basileios Rellis.

-Alexios Damaskinos

Punish the Castilians and Chagatai for their insults! They do not respect our people and our glorious empire! They will pay for their insolence!
-Nikephoros Doukas

We were determined to go to war with Russia. It may have been most sensible to wait, but Russia was also at war with Germany and Scandinavia. Russia had declared war on Scandinavia for the Kola peninsula, and Germany had come to Scandinavia’s aid. Somehow, Germany and Russia’s armies had marched past each other. Germany had occupied much of Ukraine, while Russia and Persia had in turn occupied much of Germany.
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In the east, XXIV. Legio began to occupy any Ukrainian territory. II. Legio sought to cut off Russian access to the sea: first the Sea, then the Caspian Sea. IV. Legio boldly marched straight for Moscow.

In the West, X. Legio sought to free German lands occupied by Russia and to defeat any Russian forces they could find in Germany. VI. Legio marched from La Rochelle to support them. Not shown on the map, XXIII. Legio moved form Dalmatia to free the eastern German lands.
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Persia defended Russia, so I. Legio marched for Tabriz.
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During the war, the new business regulations were finalized and passed into law. So We again looked to the University of Constantinople, seeking to learn how We might better govern the Empire.
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Of course, previous research continued to pay off.
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On the 6 of October, Russia signed a white peace with Germany. While this prevented Russian expansion, it also meant that Russia could focus on the Empire.
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X. Legio began a long march for Lieutva, while VI. Legio marched for Rovne. XXIII. Legio hunted down a Russian army in eastern Germany. IV. Legio had occupied the Moscow area and was marching for Ingria to block Russian access to the Baltic. Meanwhile XXIV. Legio, II. Legio, and I. Legio continued their tasks.
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In December, We were informed that Poland’s former truce with Russia had expired. They accepted the resulting call to arms, eager for revenge.
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An advantage of denying Russia access to the Baltic was that their main fleet was forced into the Gulf of Finland, where the West Fleet waited for them. Their fleet was completely destroyed.
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That same strategy was then applied to Persia’s fleet.
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Once the surrounding lands were occupied and We were certain we were not leading an ally to certain doom, We had Livonia join the war as well.
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In November of 1847, Russia sent a peace offer freeing the Ukraine. But We were not satisfied with this. Instead, we planned to foil their plans in Scandinavia before forcing a peace. We were not able to do so to Our complete satisfaction, but on December 2, a peace was made that included only Russia’s claims, and not Persia’s demands to form an independent Norway.
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And so We agreed to peace with Russia.
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While the legions were marching home (to be met with fresh cohorts to replace any losses), advancements in the nature of the State and Government were figured out.
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The war had demonstrated how a well-equipped army could easily circumvent the fortresses such as we had, so We had the Army Corps of Engineers research mobility on the strategic level, both how to use it to our advantage, and how to prevent our enemy’s movement.
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While we were rebuilding and recovering, Bavaria fought against Hungary to reclaim Germanic lands. Despite Scotland’s assistance, Bavaria won, and Hungary no longer held lands that were primarily German.
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Likewise, Japan had been fighting Iraq for control of Outer Manchuria for quite some time, and in December of 1848 Iraq ceded the territory.
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Simultaneously, the research into Strategic Mobility was completed.
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We began upgrading the border forts throughout the Empire, and tasked engineers throughout the Empire to develop railroads that could reliably provide long-distance transport.
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By the end of the year, We had eighteen fully equipped legions, as well as the Scholai Palatinae.
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During the war, the more extreme elements within the Empire finally stopped supporting the idea of rebellion as a political tool, and so the Empire was much calmer. Which left the question, what to do now?
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Thank you for your kind words on our victories, Senators Favero, Rellis, Galilo, Damaskinos, .

Senator Rellis, your proposal actually hints at something We wished to propose. We have had our eye on Southeast Asia for some time. There are lands held by Persia, Hedjaz, and Iraq that could be taken for the Empire. But your proposal to seize some ports in Ming lands also is worth considering. What does the Senate think of this? Here are some maps showing the three countries respective territories:
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Senator Galilo, We are afraid that while Germany would be easily defeated, they would be more than we could take in surrender, and more than we could administrate.

Senator Doukas, attacking the Castillians and Chagatai is a unique proposal. We are not sure what the aims might be though. Castille is a minor island nation with a small African colony, and Chagatai is isolated in central Asia. Would you expound on what the Empire would gain from such an adventure? Here are maps showing Castille’s territory, and Chagatai’s territory alongside that of its allies.
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Senators, what would you consider to be worthy goals of the Empire?

Would not our recent conflict with Persia in the Russian war involve a truce with that nation? It would be unwise to attack them again so soon so as to not invoke the ire of the international community. Both Hedjaz and Iraq possess desirable land in the Indies. The territory in the Philippines and Taiwan could be beneficial to the Empire in particular. Either seems a fine target, which I will leave at your discretion, Empress.

– Michelangelo Favero

My heartiest congratulations to you, noble Basilissa, on the great victory over the Rus and the establishment of a Slavic border state between our two powers. Domination of the spice trade would seem like an excellent next step and would perhaps check the growing power of the East Asian blocs.

~ Kyriakos Angelos

While our most recent conflict was a major success I recommend that we re-organize the legions before we engage in another conflict. Perhaps it is time to return to the old system of 10. For the moment we can use 4 infantry, 4 cavalry, 1 engineer, and one dragoon. This method of combined arms ensures that the legions are always prepared. As always I am your humble servant Basiliia and seek to help where I can.
– Constantine Panaretos

I do think we should expand Roman power into the Far East. Russian lands in New Guinea are a tempting target, but I also do support taking some Ming ports.

– Pontitus Caristanius Galilo

As I said before, I’m strongly supporting idea of expanding our Empire in the Far East. I recommend claiming Taiwan as it is the closest territory to asian mainland (especially China) without going to war with so called Celestial “Empire”. Also, if that is not to much to ask, I would like to see some of Empire’s cartographers maps regarding core territories of Poland, Ukraine and Livonian Order to ensure that there should not be any conflict or crisis within our Sphere?

– Alexios Damaskinos

First off, apologies for ranting about the Castilians and Chagatai. I haven’t seen maps of the Empire in a while.
While I also support expansion into Eastern Asia, I must say that we should be careful with our actions taken there. Taking Ming ports would not be a good idea. Although we would gain footholds in the East and potentially gain new resources, we would have to spend many more resources managing the new colonies. The Chinese do not take kindly to being under foreign rule, and it would take ages to educate all of them in Roman ways and effectively assimilate them into the Empire. If Your Highness still wishes to invade China, though, I recommend going after the gold mines of Caozhou.
That being said, we should seize the Russian possessions in the Pacific, especially Taiwan and the Philippines. They would weaken our enemy and also serve the same purpose as footholds in China, only easier to manage and without Chinese cores to provoke the Celestial Empire.
Perhaps we could seek out a trading agreement or an alliance with the Celestial Empire? The original Empire under the Caesars established friendly trading relations with the Han Empire thousands of years ago. They would be a useful ally against the Russians, and if we help them to “westernize,” a Sino-Roman alliance will be unstoppable. That is just my opinion though, Basilissa. The choice is yours.
– Nikephoros Doukas

Glory to the Empire!

I agree with my fellow senators great Empress, those lands in the Phillippines would seem to be a great addition to the Empire. In fact I am sure my son Γιώργος would be an able adiminstrator of any lands that were to come into our possession from such a venture.
– Στήβεν Γκρέυ

My Empress, whilst the victory over Russia and the restoration of the Borderlands is worth celebrating, we must remember that the region of Lithuania is still under the control of the Russians. We must find a way to diplomatically return these lands to the Borderlands as soon as we can. I agree with my fellow senators in regards of expanding into Southeast Asia.

I would also like to re-suggest the idea of uniting the Germans. If we assist Germany in bringing Bavaria under its fold, I have no doubt that they would want to remain our allies. Denmark, on the other hand, should regain the territory of Jutland, thus allowing its German territories to be taken by Germany.
– Damianos Septiadis

Excellent idea, uniting the Germans. Isn’t their empire called Germany for a reason?
Anything that weakens the Russians will benefit us at this point
– Nikephoros Doukas

I’m afraid senator Nikephoros Doukas, that I can’t agree with you. I would say that uniting the Germans will weaken us more than the Russians. After making alliance with Poland and Livonia, and making Ukraine independent, I think that Germany has no reason to go to war with Russia. Further more, if we let Germans unite, Germany would go after us, taking into account that they consider some of our lands their cores. I will say more, this could even strengthen Russia because of possible Anti-Roman coalition led by Germany and Russia.

– Alexios Damaskinos

Clerks rush in, providing the maps that Senator Damaskinos had requested.
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As we can see on the map, both Livonia and Poland consider Lithuania as their core provinces. It would be better to let Russia keep it in future, if we let one of them take it, then we might face war between countries in our Sphere. Poland and Livonia are too weak to declare their own war for Lithuania against Russia, so it is up to us, to not make mistake in future by forgetting this issue.

– Alexios Damaskinos

Why does it look like Ukraine has cores on all of Russia?

-Senator Doukas

We can’t let Russians have such a gate to the west :
The best option would be to free an independent Lithuania if such thing is possible. Otherwise I would advise to give the remaining territories to the Livonian Order ; we can’t help Poland anymore

-Basileios Rellis

Independent Lithuania would mean that Poland or Livonia will invade it, so it is useless. But one thing must be said: We needed Poland to defend Europe from Russian barbarians, now we should concentrate on Ukraine-Russia border, in fact, Poland is of no use to us anymore and it can cause trouble in future (disputed territory with Livonia).

– Alexios Damaskinos

I hope that Roman might would prove sufficient to repel barbarians Senator Damaskinos, should they decide to go against our will
-Basileios Rellis

If we were to go to war with Russia some time in the future to take their Baltic territory, I would favour handing it over to Livonia over Poland. They consider the entire region theirs, while Poland does not. It would also put them on more equal footing. I also agree with Senator Damaskinos on that Poland’s importance as a buffer against Russia is no longer an issue, so it would serve better to aid Livonia first. However, Poland is not completely useless to us. Their mere existence keeps the German states from growing too strong. If anything, we can use them to weaken states like Bavaria, who even holds land Poland claims.

– Michelangelo Favero

Senator Favero, you are correct that there is a truce with Persia. We would not be able to move against them immediately.

Senators Angelos, Galilo, Doukas, and Γκρέυ, We thank you for the encouragement for expansion in the far East. Senator Γκρέυ, We shall strongly consider your son as a governor of any new territories.

Senator Panaretos, We fear that splitting the current legions into more legions would not be helpful. A single of these smaller legions would be unable to stand against enemy armies by itself, so two would have to fight together at any given time, which is no different than matters as they are. However, We realize the We did not specify the composition of the Legions before. They currently consist of eight infantry cohorts, four artillery cohorts, two engineer cohorts, and two hussar cohorts. If We can improve the Empire’s capability to support troops in one location, We will increase the Legions to eight cohorts of artillery. And the legions are using Hussars instead of Dragoons for their superior maneuverability and reconnaissance. But nevertheless, We thank you for your interest in the legions.

Senator Damaskinos, the suggestion to take Taiwan is an interesting one. We shall take it under consideration.

Senator Doukas, the idea of a trade treaty with Ming is curious. We shall see if such a matter is possible with the famously insular Ming.

Senator Septiadis, thank you for the reminder that there is still work to be done against Russia. Sadly, though, Germany has grown bombastic about the Burgundian peoples, insisting that they should be united into a Greater Germany, and thus refuses alliance with us. Pan-nationalist rebels in the north have greatly expanded them at the cost of minor nations and Denmark. Who knows, maybe they will eventually be able to stand against Bavaria on their own? Certainly they are no threat to the Empire, though.

In regards to Poland and Livonia, We will keep all of your suggestions in mind. But it seems unlikely that that land will be free from Russian control without intervention from the Empire.

The Empire Strikes Back 88 – The State of The Empire 1843 – 1846


Your presence is requested for a State of the Empire Address on 18 February, 1846.

Any requests for information should be sent in advance to the Blachernae palace.

The following newspapers were considered significant by the archivists.
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As well, the Senate’s world map is being updated even now.
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Russia’s aggression knows no bounds. It is obvious at this time that war with them is inevitable. We cannot let these barbarians threaten Europe for much longer.

– Michelangelo Favero

I concurr with Senator Favero. Russia is continuing is unprovoked aggression against Pax Romana and her interests, that is why I would fully support War between us and Russia. The sooner the better.”

– Potitus Caristanius Gallio


Based on your recommendations, We formed an alliance with Poland immediately after the last address.
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Scandinavia was disinclined to sign an alliance, as they had already signed one with Germany. This proved ill for them when Russia declared war on them for the Kola peninsula.
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As well, We set to publish anonymous papers demonstrating that the Spice Islands would be better under Imperial control than under Iraqi control. These papers were traced to Blachernae within a few months, mildly damaging Our reputation.
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As research into different forms of ideological thought became firmly established, We sought to make up for the lack of admirals by having the Admiralty develop a set of naval plans for various scenarios.
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In October of 1843, UTA declared war on new England and requested our aid. Mexihco, who now sought to be called ‘The Empire of Mexico’ had come to New England’s aid. We accepted the call from our allies.
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It was at this time that our propaganda had swayed the world enough for Us to declare war on Iraq. Not wishing to miss the opportunity, We did so, claiming Dili for the Empire. Khiva came to their defense.
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The Iraqi was opened with Iraq’s 2nd Army assaulting the border province of Hakkari. I. Legio frightened them back over the border, then chased them to Arbil and Kirkuk, completely destroying them. They then chased down and defeated another Iraqi force who had fled as far as Homs, and then defeated any remaining forces that had crossed the border before besieging the Iraqi homeland, driving for the Persian Gulf.
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In the north, II. Legio defeated a Khivan force assaulting Stavropol, proving to themselves that they could defend the border there. They then marched on Khiva itself.
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In the east, XI. Legio captured island after island, fighting a few small battles on the way.
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This was far more than was needed for the eventual peace, but it provided good training for the legions and weakened Iraq.
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In Hungary, reactionary rebels were able to impose their will on the nation.
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During this war, We waited for the fleets to organize themselves before intervening in the UTA’s war. This was unwise, as Mexihco used the opportunity to begin a mass invasion. When XV. Legio arrived in Texas, they were defeated at Dallas and forced to retreat to Houston. This defeat was startling, as on paper the legion should have been able to smash the Mexican forces. It was surely the abilities of the Mexican general that turned the tide. Once XV. Legio recovered, they began assisting American lands under Mexican occupation, avoiding the Mexican armies.

Meanwhile, VI. Legio was transported to New England, where they completely destroyed the New English army that had been causing the American 1st Army to hesitate. They then boarded their transports and sailed for the gulf coast. The UTA would be left to recapture their lands and occupy New England.
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IX. Legio was more bold, and had set sail for Veracruz, intending to march on Mexico City. And once VI. Legio landed in Houston, both they and XV. Legio marched north to sweep the Mexicans from American lands. Before long, XV. Legio had revenged themselves on the Mexicans, and VI. Legio proved they were to be feared.
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Once Mexihco was thoroughly beaten and We were sure the UTA were unlikely to demand more for the war, we agreed to one of Mexihco’s desperate pleas for peace.
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Once the naval plans were completed, We directed the bureaucracy to draft better legislation for the small businesses springing up throughout the Empire in the hopes that more resources could be extracted for the factories.
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And of course, past research continued to give the Empire further developments.
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While the legions returned over the Atlantic, we commissioned a new legion (XV. Legio) and prepared Our justifications for war against Russia. Before long, the justifications were ready, if the legions still needed a little time to prepare. Do you still agree that war with Russia is desirable?
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Domestically, We could pass reforms in the Empire. We are strongly disinclined to allow greater political rights, but We would welcome your insight, especially as there are various movements organizing in the Empire.
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Once the army is ready, we must make all haste to cripple the Russian beast before it strikes down another European nation.

I see no need for political reform when the Empire is led by Your Empress. The Empire thrives, as it is, under Your benevolent rule.

– Michelangelo Favero

Your Emperess, it is surely heresy to even suggest that we should allow other inferiors to challenge your divine right to rule. However it has always been the Empires way to improve the lot of our subjects and any trinkets we can bring to the mob binds them closer to us.

I would be of the opinion that forcing the release of a full nation would be the best course of action, assuming the war goes as we expect we can look to add our cores as a war goal later.

All hail the might of the Empire and it’s Emperess!

– Senator Γκρέυ

Senators Favero and Γκρέυ, We are pleased that we are in agreement regarding both Russia and reforms. Do any other Senators have concerns or thoughts?

Very well, Senators. We thank you for your time.

The Empire Strikes Back 87 – The State of the Empire 1839-1843

Summoning the Senate


Your presence is requested for a State of the Empire Address on 24 May, 1843.

Any requests for information should be sent in advance to the Blachernae palace.

The following newspapers were considered significant by the archivists.
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Messages to the Palace

Empress I assume our staunch ally in Germany has not called us into they petty feud with the vile Bavarian?

I also agree we should invade and destroy Delhi as per their fears.

Whoever writes these papers should be drawn and quartered. Either they called Empress Veronica a mere queen and gave the wrong name for her husband, or they are referring to some foreign queen named Victoria and used our Empress’ name for the title. And who are these mysterious X06_conservatives who took power in Werle? What a strange name for a group.

It would seem that the Scandinavians look upon us quite favourably. Perhaps they could be of some use against the Russians. An alliance should be considered if possible.

– Michelangelo Favero

My dearest Empress, what is the current colonial situation of Africa at the moment? I wish our Empire and its soldiers all the best in its fight against Mataram.

-Ovular Kishiev

The State of the Empire


After the last address, the Scholai Palatinae escorted the royal family to Blachernae, which had begun refurbishment. Likewise, funds had been allocated for the restoration of the Grand Palace under your direction and for your use.
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We immediately sent diplomats to Poland and Hungary to assess their feelings towards the Empire and to draw them closer to us, if possible. Poland was wary of any alliances due to fears of being part of grand coalitions, though our diplomat was yet able to increase our relations. Our diplomat to Hungary reported anger at our possession of lands they considered theirs. Of course, We soon found the real reason was that they had formed an alliance with Russia. Soon after, Hungary declared war on Poland for the bit of Slovakia under Polish rule, and Russia joined in their aggression.
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Across the ocean, Mexihco agreed to peace with the UTA, giving up what parts of Tejas they had previously possessed.
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And in March of 1840, Germany declared war on Bavaria for Franken.
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Meanwhile, We continued the process of upgrading naval bases and fortifying the Empire’s borders.

In April of 1840, Senator Galatias’ defense of non-Greek citizens was shown to be good when Henri-Gustave Delvigne, François Tamisier, and Louis-Étienne de Thouvenin all developed major improvements to the existing muskets used by the legions. Thus Our call for improved weapons for the Legions was answered. Simultaneously, the Imperial Corps of Engineers declared they would better function as engineering cohorts than as embedded in infantry cohorts, so We began the process of organizing two engineering cohorts per legion. Later a Parisian, Claude-Étienne Minié, improved on the firearms even more, creating a ball for the rifles that has been named after him.
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Beyond this were the continuing advances in medicine: a Hungarian in Transdanubia discovered the principles of antiseptics, a Burgundian discovered the principles of heredity, an Englishman developed a useful thermometer, a Breton created the stethoscope, and a Southern German developed chambers for thorax surgery.
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Thereafter the philosophy department of the University of Constantinople insisted on more funding, and that their works would increase innovation throughout the Empire. We were skeptical of the practicality of philosophy, but recognized that it would at least increase our prestige. So the philosophy department was expanded and given room to recruit new professors.
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We spent this time increasing our influence in Ethiopia, and by 1841 we could consider them firmly in our sphere of influence.
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Not long after, Iraq’s war with Hedjaz, Persia, and Russia ended with them giving the Trans-Baikal region to Russia. Russia now held uninterrupted lands stretching from the Baltic to the Pacific.
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And then Russia made peace with Poland: Hungary got the Slovakian lands they wanted, and Russia took Lieutva from Poland. It was fitting that Poland did not keep the lands they and taken from Livonia, but worrisome that those lands went to Russia.
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We began countering this influence by beginning to bring Japan into our sphere of influence.
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As the final shipyards and fortresses were planned, We began expanding the railroad network that had begun to form in the Empire. It was during this time that the philosophers began to expound about idealism. We asked them to apply these principles to better inspire the peoples of the Empire.
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When Russia insulted an ambassador, We considered using this as a reason to go to war. But We preferred to ensure the Legions could be fully supplied from our own factories first.
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As the wars between major powers drew down, a crisis arose in the province in Sichuan. The area was controlled by the Ming, but Tibet claimed it should be a part of their nation. And indeed the people of Sichuan were more Tibetan than Chinese. Nevertheless, when Ming asked for our aid in the crisis, We agreed to assist them. Russia supported Tibet, further demonstrating their hostility to the Empire. But they quickly agreed to a peace, even as the legions only began to mobilize.
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In the wake of this crisis, Castille’s arts no longer sufficed to promote them as a Great Power. Iraq instead was seen as a rising star.
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In February of 1843, Mataram claimed our merchants were purposefully violating the local laws in favor of trade. By April, their interference with our traders was to the point that We declared war to protect our traders.
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Before the month was over, Mataram surrendered, bringing the last of the island of Java under Imperial governance.
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Meanwhile, Germany abandoned their war on Bavaria, being unable to defeat them, and strangely unwilling to ask the Empire for help.
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When we held a parade in Constantinople for our victories, We invited dignitaries from all major nations.
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Finally, having upgraded all transport fleets to use steamer ships, We began production of commerce raiders to supplement and upgrade the Light Fleet guarding the Mediterranean.

Replies to the Senate’s Messages

Now, to reply to your messages to Blachernae:

Senator Γκρέυ, would a diplomatic solution, bringing them into our sphere of influence, suffice?
Senator Favero, We can assure you that those responsible have been sacked. The state newspapers cannot allow such lax standards. As well, We shall look toward forming an alliance with Scandinavia. However, Russia considers the Kola region theirs, so such an alliance may be yet another potential source of conflict.
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Senator Kishiev, the only region of interest in Africa right now is in the west, where a few nations formed small colonies during the collapse of order in the region. Scotland has come to control the Gambia River, England the Casamance River, and Castille the Geba river. Former slaves have formed the nation of Leberia, bordered to the north by another English colony. And the former Gold Coast is home to colonies from Scotland, Germany, England, and Denmark. Inland, Sokoto and Benin have begun to show some level of political organization, though in a more primitive form than when those lands swore fealty to the Empire.
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If instead you meant to ask about the Empire’s ability to form colonies, it seems that not enough people can be found willing to overcome the hardships at this time. Expansion in Africa is closed to us.

The Senate Speaks and the Empress Replies

Empress I congratulate our legions on defeating Mataram, it was a great way to show the World the Legions and Rome are not to be messed with. I would like to advocate for an Hungarian or Polish alliance at this time, they would be useful when we inevitably move against Russia.

– Potitus Caristanius Gallio

I am curious if the imperial archives contain a list of all nations that claim Roman land in Europe as rightfully theirs, as I see our ally Germany may make such claims. It would be quite informative for considering potential alliances in the future.

While I understand the desire to not get dragged into conflict unprepared, if we do not stand up against these Russian brutes, they will roll across Europe. If the Russians truly want Scandinavian land, I say we let Scandinavia know that Russia will have to fight the Roman Empire as well to take it.

– Michelangelo Favero

I call for the annexation or allegiance of the minor powers in Europe – Germany, Bavaria, Denmark, Poland and Hungary. If they cannot handle their own affairs, they should cede that responsibility to mighty Rhoma, before the Rus take it themselves.

~ Kyriakos Angelos

A punitive war is the only way to deal with Russia and keep the Pontos Euxinos safe. The sooner, the better since we allow them currently to reenforce and break the balance of the countries north of the limes. Using the Barbarians from Japan could be a nice distratction given the size of their pesky empire.
If your Highness doesn’t approve that expedition, I would advise to continue bringing the Spice islands under our control. Java might be the richest and most populous but the others deserve civilization too.

– Basileios Rellis

Senator Gallio, We shall seek such an alliance. As you point out, more allies bordering Russia will be quite useful.

Senator Favero, Hungary claims parts of Transdanubia and Karnten-Steiermark; Bavaria claims part of the Mainz region; Thuringia also claims part of the Mainz region; Denmark claims the Mainz region and Nordrhein; Russia claims part of Ekaterinodar; and Germany claims all lands with a plurality of German peoples, including Burgundians.

Senator Angelos, We fear that such an endeavor is beyond the Empire’s means at this time. Yet We shall continue to form alliances to hem Russia in.

Senator Rellis, the Spice Islands are certainly within our means. Meanwhile, We can continue to build our industry so that the Legions are prepared for Russia.

Thank you for your time, Senators. Until the next address!

A Late Message

I know this session of the senate to be closed, however I thought I should back up a few of my colleagues.

Potitus Caristanius Gallio is correct in that we should bring the Poles closer to our Empire, however the Hungarians are only worthly of licking the dog mess from our boot heels. Their alliance with Russia must be nullifed.

Michelangelo Favero and Basileios Rellis are correct we must take action against Russia, any nation that may lose land or be attacked by Russia must be brought into our ranks, together we will humble this monster and bring it to heel. Sweden should have trust in our Legions to protect them and bring them more worthless tundra if they so wish.

– Senator Γκρέυ,

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