1 July 1916


This has been a year of recovery for the Empire.

With the end of the wars, We were able to bring the legions home and then focus on domestic issues. In November, We expanded pensions to include the disabled. The legions had already offered some basic pensions, and this new system largely replaced their system while also providing for civilians.

We also enacted a plan to give more opportunities for education throughout the Empire. Each province will now have at least one university. All students at these universities will not be charged for tuition nor for books. All private universities and church universities will be left alone, though We are also creating a system of accreditation that will confirm any given college is properly educating its students. Any student attending an accredited university can receive additional grants and loans to pay for their education.

The arts continue to flourish throughout the Empire, and the sense of Romanitas grows yet greater, even in the colonies.

The team for the sixth Olympic games draws from several colonial regions, in fact.

We have also worked closely with the navy to strengthen them further. The navy had devised plans to mitigate risk, so We asked them to develop methods of planning for the future. We do not wish them to be as unprepared as they were for these last wars.

When the navy had developed means of ensuring it would remain prepared, it asked for resources to develop methods of training non-commissioned officers. We were happy to grant these resources.

As well, We continued the expansion of naval bases throughout the Empire. All bases have been given the resources they need to support the navy of the future, and they are in the process of further construction and upgrades.

Internationally, the world is as chaotic as ever. Ironically, the Northern Alliance fell to bickering, as Germany sought to reclaim the territory it had given Poland-Lithuania in order to secure their cooperation. Germany quickly won this war.

The post war period has also seen Persia now taken over by communists. They join Ukraine, Poland-Lithuania, Iraq, France, Denmark, Castille, and Brittany in this new system of governance.

This explains Our eagerness to sign an alliance with Scandinavia. We were able to send XV. Legio to put down a communist revolution there, sustaining the Constitutional Monarchy.

We are happy to announce that with the full funding of the naval base program and an increasing post-war prosperity, We are able to decrease taxes throughout the Empire. The general announcement will go out after this address is ended.

Finally, for the first time in many years, the archivists have considered a newspaper noteworthy.

And of course, the Senate’s world maps will be updated.

Senate Responses

The red menace spreads ever around the world! We must be sure they do not take control of a major power, or the world will be doomed! It is the job of the Empire to uphold the freedoms of people around the world from godless land reform!
- Senator Theodora Doukas

Following last year’s session, Kyrene and Nestorius quickly got to work, getting the HQ ready for the big move to Aeteorea. A private party was held for those leaving for Aeteorea in September before they went on their way, leaving Franco Lazaratos and those working with him at the Thaddai estate as Aeteorea’s representatives to the Empire and the Senate. By the end of the year, the Aeteorean governorship-turned-autonomous had arrived at the islands, swiftly establishing themselves in the capital to cheers from those living there.


1 July 1916

Franco arrived at the Senate, nervous over the thought of embarrassing himself and possibly Aeteorea in turn. He truly wished Nestorius had chosen someone else as the head representative, such as one of the Cecil Sisters, or perhaps someone new altogether. However, now he had an obligation, and he was going to try his best to fulfill it.

He is seen noting down everything being said, with the intent of passing it on to Nestorius, not knowing that things like this are sent to senators who are unable to attend sessions for any reason. The sound of impressionist literature and expressionist art will be music to the ears of the Thaddai, and the greater sense of Romanitas would definitely bring joy to their faces, along with the advancements of pensions and education. The Olympics will be a sight to behold, and the decrease of taxes will make the poor very happy. The one thing that did make him nervous however, was the communist revolution in Persia, or how they were calling it, Iran. He still has nightmares of the attack on Constantinople, mostly ones where everyone succumbed to the gas while they were hiding.

He grabbed a newspaper to read, hoping no one would draw attention to him.

Donatello Favero grabbed some purple ink and drew over the green Italy on his copy of the world map. One day the official map would look like that too.

“These communists are proving themselves a threat, how they manage to topple governments and destroy the natural order. You would think that they would learn from the example of the Empire and realize that the people are best served by undying loyalty to their benevolent monarch. I suppose not everyone can be so lucky to be blessed with such a generous monarch as our emperor.”

- Senator Donatello Favero

“COMMUNISTS!” Julius shakes his fist
“We should have them shot by firing squad!”

1 July 1917


This year, We reorganized the legions. We decided that a twenty regiment legion would strike a good balance between military strength and manpower use. We were able to move regiments from well-manned legions to legions in need, and then to recruit more regiments. By the end of this month, the legions should be fully manned.

The navy continued to develop the recent ideas they had introduced while they developed a Non-Commissioned Officer training program.

After the navy had developed their training program, they asked for resources to research some of their more experimental ideas for ships. We gave them those resources.

When the naval devices were at the prototype stage, We gave the navy the resources to develop the prototype of a new class of ship: the Dreadnought.

In civilian affairs, We expanded the health care system in the Empire. In addition to covering emergencies and regular checkups, the Empire will now cover medications for her citizens.

In May We tightened the safety regulations throughout the Empire.

This year also saw the Varangian Guard developing an opposing model to socialism and creating new trade unions to support this model. Rumors that they are behind capitalist resistance to socialist trade unions are unconfirmed.

During this time, a Temperance League sought Our support. We knew that while the goal of reducing drunkenness was good, any attempt to fight it by restricting alcohol would have dangerous and far-reaching side effects.

Musical innovation continues to abound in the Empire.

And Our team in the Olympics did a marvelous job.

Outside the Empire, in March, Japan declared war on Russia to claim the Pogobi region. That war is still ongoing.

Burgundy and Italy had also fought a fierce war against France and Brittany. They eventually won it, and Burgundy took the Champaign region for itself. In the wake of this loss, France is suffering rebellions from Jacobins and Walloon nationalists.

Ming is fending off several rebellions.

And Adal put the truth to their claims of liberalism and allowed women to vote.

The Senate’s world maps are being updated.

Senate Responses

Rome stands strong against foreign aggression! I am glad of the advances in the navy, we shall be able to project our power world wide and …influence nations around the globe.
- Senator Manuel Palaiologos

Oooh! Maybe we could build a ship Idea I have!
- Senator Julius Marco

Roma invicta! Soon we shall destroy the last of the rebel scum and reclaim our rightful place at the center of civilization! All of the other nations shall bow before the glory and might that is Rome, and if they refuse, we shall force them to their knees!

What are the rebellions plaguing the Chinese? We should send the government some aid if the rebels seek to overthrow the monarchy, especially if they seek to install a communist state in its place.

Anybody attend the recent Olympics? I hear Michael Phokas won a record ten gold medals in swimming! He would make a good role model for our youth!
- Senator Theodora Doukas

Franco did as he did last session, noting down everything being said, despite being told that senators are sent this info. He didn’t want to just awkwardly sit and whistle in Nestorius’ senatorial spot, after all.


Things have been going quite swell in Aeteorea. In Komnenion, Kyrene continued her work in raising the feeling of Romanitas throughout the islands, with restoration and construction plans using the newest architectural developments from the mainland. In Oturehua on South Island, Nestorius, Onobanjo, and Epimonopoulos were touring the region of Central Otago, acquainting themselves with the area from which Kyrene came from. Nestorius even stopped by to see his in-laws, who were very surprised to meet him unannounced. In the nearby Alexandria Matau, local variations of the mainlander music are starting to pop up, including Aeteorean Jazz, intertwining it with local Maori folk music. In the meanwhile, the national republican politics of the autonomous state were slowly developing, along with local terms - for example, despite it not being her official title, Kyrene is called the Governess, while Nestorius was being called Ol’ Ness.

We are aware of four different rebels groups in Ming.

Relations between our nations are poor right now, and they would consider assistance from the Empire to be unthinkable. We could focus on improving relations with Ming, but it would take more than a year to do so, and even then they might prefer falling to rebels to assistance. Fortunately, Nanjing is not at immediate risk, so We may have time to pursue that course of action, if the Senate wishes it.

Senator Marco, We could task you with interacting with the navy if you would like. Senator Smithereens went missing during the Great War, and has not resurfaced. We understand the innovations planned for this new prototype ship are replicating those in Great Britain’s HMS Dreadnought, also replicated in Aquitaine, Brittany, Baluchistan, France, Germany, Kanata, Italy, Persia, Russia, and the UTA. Aoteorea has pioneered many of the innovations with the steam turbines that will drive the ship, and We are informed that this class of ships will have one size of guns, but only thirty or so of them.

Who cares about the rebels over in some backwater Asian nation far from the Empire. There are rebels right in our backyard, laying claim to our lands in Western Europe. We should be focusing on their annihilation before even considering trying to intervene against some rebellion on the other side of the world. Italy, France, Burgundy, Aquitaine, Brittany, “Great” Britain: all will obey the Emperor once more or be utterly destroyed.

- Senator Donatello Favero

I say that we as a nation must punish Ming and fund the Wun and Oirat Horde nationalists. They may prove invaluable allies in the future. However, we must prevent the radicals in Ming from taking over as they might set a bad example for those in our Empire.
- Senator Manuel Palaiologos

Yes, NO. Besides, China has more civilised history than any other nation on the planet. Back when Rome was a mere fishing village on the tiber, china was already discussing astronomy, the nature and right of man, and were making revolutionary philosophy. I suggest you read a chinese book senator.
- Senator Julius Marco

“You can have a long history of eminent civilisation and still be a political or geographical backwater. Those pagan Chinese are just one more example.”
- Senator Alexios Angelos

“It is better to have a rival monarchy ruling in Nanjing than a godless communist regime,” said Theodora, “What I suggest is sending one or two legions to deal with the communists and fascists and leave the separatist rebels alone. Such an intervention would show that the Empire is the master of the world while keeping the Chinese in their place until they can become truly civilized.”

Who cares if they are civilized or not. They are not Romans, and that puts them below everyone in this Empire. As far as I am concerned, the Chinese emperor is inferior to even a Roman prostitute simply because she is Roman and he is not. Wasting resources on propping up some foreign monarch when we literally have rebel states holding our lands and becoming entrenched with every passing year is a waste of resources. Our focus should be on restoring the Empire, not sending men to die in China for a cause no average Roman citizen would care about.

- Senator Donatello Favero

“Would you rather leave them to be conquered by godless communists? Godless communists that could then launch an invasion of Russia and India and install more godless communists there? More godless communists that could threaten the Empire itself? The Chinese are a reasonable people for non-Romans, but the communists are below them. The communists are barbarians, savages, servants of Satan, and we must oppose them at every turn!”
- Senator Theodora Doukas

We have communists controlling parts of Gaul, rightful Roman lands, and yet these Chinese ones who haven’t even set up a stable government are apparently more of a threat. Perhaps we should purge the Roman communists who defy the Emperor before going off on some misguided expedition to eradicating communists on the other side of the world. I agree that these communists are a danger, but the priority should always be the Empire, and the domestic threats have not been removed.

- Senator Donatello Favero

Fair enough, but still.

Okay, then. How about preventing communism and fascism?

I am glad to see someone has sense!
- Senator Julius Marco

Then again, the communists haven’t gained that much ground in China, so I suppose we don’t need to intervene just yet. We’ll focus first on the rebel scum next door.
- Senator Theodora Doukas

1 July 1918

Senators, this has been another year of recovery.

Last November, We expanded the pension program in the Empire. And then in May, We made further improvements to the school system. The various polytechnic and normal schools can now offer four-year degrees, and a system of junior or community colleges has been created to offer both two-year degrees and studies in practical trades. The existing universities can now specialize on research and upper-level degrees. And there is generous student funding for all levels of education.

We also constructed cruisers to replace those lost in the Great Wars and continued fortifying the borders.

By the time the navy was ready to construct a prototype dreadnought-class ship, there were many new innovations to include. We immediately began a program to upgrade all the fleets with these new ships. After all, any older battleship was now obsolete. The first batch will be ready in four days.

Internationally, We focused on improving relations with Ming. We still are not decided regarding military intervention against their rebels, but We want to allow for the possibility if We so decide.

And We added Korea into Our sphere of influence, giving us a base of operations if We do intervene in Ming.

Otherwise internationally, Iran’s government fell to anarcho-liberals, who despite their claims of liberty instituted a dictatorship, albeit one friendly to businesses.

The various small wars have not changed much in the last year.

And no world borders have changed, so there is no need for the Senate’s world maps to be updated.

Senate Responses

Summer of 1918

The cathedral built on the burned down remnants of the late King Lombardi’s palace outside Venice was finally complete. When the gunpowder reserves under the palace had mysteriously gone up in flames and taken the king with them, people had avoided the site as cursed. The Pope thought differently. Perhaps to appease the Italians, the Pope ordered a grand cathedral built on the estate, right where Lombardi had met his end. The grand building towered over the flat landscape covered with vineyards, now worked by priests and laymen. Now all those men were gathered in the cathedral, admiring the finished product. Not a single soul there even remembered what the site had been before Lombardi had taken it for his own.

The priests and honoured guests sat in the freshly polished pews, admiring the stained glass windows and exquisite art depicting various religious scenes important to the Catholic Church. The pulpit remained empty, for His Holiness himself was said to be arriving soon to bless the cathedral with his presence. A shadowy figure lurking just out of sight had no intention of allowing the Pope to ever set foot in the cathedral. As the guests all gathered in the cathedral, the figure sneaked away to begin the first part of his scheme.

As the guests took their seats, a loud ruckus erupted. The sound of clanging metal filled the air and the doors slammed shut with a loud thud. The windows rattled as though the wind had picked up suddenly. People muttered to each other, unsure of what was happening. Some brave soul went to open the door, only to find that it was barred from the outside. As word spread that they were trapped, panic started to set in. Time for the second phase.

A burst of flame erupted from behind the pulpit. People screamed in shock, and then screamed again as a figure emerged from the smoke to stand before them. He wore the finest vestments and a golden crown. His skin was ghostly pale and covered in soot. He glared down at the people in attendance and shouted, “Fear me, mortals, for your king has returned and he finds you wanting. You built this site of God upon my grave, but know this, people of Italy, that there is only one man worth your veneration and that is me, your glorious king, the Great Lombardi!”

A woman fainted and people scurried to the door, trying to ram it open. They hurried even more when another burst of flame erupted from behind Lombardi’s ghost. The ghost cackled wickedly, his voice echoing through the cathedral. Time for phase three.

“You dare flee from your king!” Lombardi screeched. “Witness my power and know that you have made a grave mistake.” The ghost raised his hand to the ceiling, pointing the the chandelier suspended above. It immediately started to sway and dropped ever so slightly. Lombardi swept his other hand up in a grand gesture. The chandelier suddenly broke free and plummeted to the floor. It crashed amongst the pews, now unoccupied as people gathered around the blocked doorway, the bang reverberating throughout the room.

Lombardi was not quite done yet. He waved his hand towards a painting hanging on the wall. It showed Christ at the Last Supper, but the Pope had been put in the place of Jesus. What was with these rulers of Italy and their vanity? As Lombardi waved his hand that way, flames burst from the floor, engulfing the painting. The frame cracked and the painted parchment crinkled up into blackened ash. Lombardi laughed and pointed to another painting. More flames burst forth to burn the painting away. The crowd was screaming in fear and beating against the door to get out. Now for the finale.

“Know that your king is gracious and willing to release you from this prison in exchange for your undying loyalty. But let it be known that there will be no false rulers. There is but one king, and that is me. The Pope shall never reign over my kingdom.” Raising his hands to the heavens, Lombardi let out a long cackle. A piercing sound filled the air, forcing everyone to cover their ears. Then the grandest of the stained glass windows, one depicting the Pope in all his self-obsessed glory, shattered in a million pieces. The people screamed as glass fell down upon them.

The people seemed on verge of entering a frenzy, nearly trampling each other to get at the door. As they rushed it again, it suddenly swung open and the crowd rushed into the open. They fled one by one into the countryside, getting as far from the haunted cathedral as possible. As the last of them left, Lombardi grinned and stepped down from the pulpit.

“Well, men, I believe you more than earned your pay with that display.” Lombardi grabbed his sleeve and wiped the face paint and fake soot from his face, revealing the features of Donatello Favero. Some hidden staircases opened on the walls as men in overalls stepped into the cathedral, grins on their faces. They gathered around Donatello, slapping each other on the back. Donatello eyed them all in turn. “The pyro effects were fantastic. I had no idea you could control fire like that.”

“Well with the proper amount of explosives in a contained environment,” one worker said, “you can pull off some amazing things.”

“I nearly lost my composure when that chandelier fell,” Donatello said with a smirk.

“I doubt you’d be laughing if it fell on your head though when I cut that rope,” another worker said.

Donatello turned to a worker wearing glasses. “Good job with the stained glass. I almost feared it wouldn’t shatter.”

“Well with the right frequency of noise adjusted for the consistency of the glass, you can manage such a thing with ease.”

Donatello shook hands with all of them one by one. These men had all been part of the crew that built the cathedral, and he’d paid them quite handsomely for their part in his scheme, much more than the cheapskate Pope was willing to pay them for their honest labour. They had been the ones to set up the traps, building hidden staircases and a secret room under the cathedral from where they could erupt the flames and control the other fake haunting phenomena. They certainly had more fun under his employ. But there was still one last thing to do.

“Well, men, it’s been a pleasure,” Donatello said as a couple more workers entered the cathedral with barrels of gunpowder. They placed them strategically around the room and laid a trail of powder right to the door. The workers followed the Senator to the door, where he pulled out a match and lit the trail. He closed the door behind him. “Shall we?”

They immediately scattered to the vineyards, not stopping their run until they heard the first explosion. Fortunately, they were far enough away when the barrels exploded. The remaining windows shattered as flames erupted from every opening. Smoke billowed from inside the cathedral. The freshly lacquered pews surely provided more than enough fuel to keep the flames going. As Donatello fled to the countryside, he was pleased to see the smoke spiralling higher and higher as the cathedral burned to the ground.

Donatello was well on his way to Venice and from then on to Constantinople when the Pope finally arrived at the cathedral. He had seen the smoke from afar and quickened the pace of his caravan. When he arrived, he found his new cathedral up in flames. A terrified priest rushed towards him and screamed, “It was the ghost of Lombardi! He’s returned to seek vengeance!”

The Pope rolled his eyes and ordered his caravan to turn back around. There was nothing for him here now. It was better that he leave this accursed estate alone. Nothing good ever happened there anyway.

By 1918, the reconstruction of Constantinople was nearly complete. Not just the reconstruction from the sack of 1911, but a reconstruction that had been under way since the 1858 industrial reforms. The flood of job seekers into Constantinople from the countryside had led to a city unable to meet the needs of its residents. Their dwellings were little more than hovels, the streets often only a few meters wide. Sunlight rarely reached them, and air barely circulated. There was insufficient water to meet the needs of the growing city, and the less said of the Golden Horn where the city’s waste was dumped, the better.

It was clear that something must be done. Empress Veronica had recognized the need and appointed Georges-Eugène Haussmann to fix the city. He began a program of reconstruction, demolishing many of the worst neighborhoods, building wide boulevards, sidewalks, train stations, parks, and fountains.

He also had immediately begun construction of new waterworks, bringing plenty of fresh water into the city. And as the streets were expanded, so were the sewers beneath them. These sewers were large enough for men to work in while standing upright, and had the capacity to carry away human waste, industrial waste, storm water, and the water used to wash the streets.

The demolished neighborhoods were replaced with the now-iconic Haussmann apartments. The workers of the city (at least, those that could afford to live in them) found they loved the increased light, airflow, and space they provided. Sanitation increased, and so did health.

Outlying areas of the city were brought into the city proper. The Chorigía Bridge and Galata bridge were reconstructed across the Golden Horn, making Galata more connected to the city center. Villages outside the Theodisian walls were legally incorporated into The City (much to the dismay of their residents).

The sack of Constantinople seemed as if it might be the end of these construction efforts. But the fire in the sack’s wake cleared the upper-class neighborhoods that had stood in the way of modernization. The Hagia Sophia was repaired and made more robust against the earthquakes in the region. The Great Palace was rebuilt, the Hippodrome modernized, the parks and gardens even more magnificent. With the later economic reforms, even the lowliest of workers could now afford one of the apartments.

Constantinople of 1918 was a modern, healthy, busy city, again living to its title: The City of Man’s Desire.

Truly the City of the World’s Desire! We can again boast that Constantinople is the greatest city in the world and that its citizens are among the best cared for in the world!
- Senator Theodora Doukas

Donatello Favero rents one of the new apartments in Constantinople, knowing that he will likely not be returning to the remains of his estates in Italy any time soon.

Julius was reading the local newspaper when he noticed an odd column.
Cathedral set on fire by vengeful spirit!
Sighing, “Senator Donatello, I am sorry for your loss of your estates, but isn’t this a bit much?”

What is a bit much? I have no control over the vengeful spirits of dead imposter kings. Perhaps His Unholiness should have performed an exorcism before creating a cathedral on a site that has seen such death. I certainly intend to make use of several skilled priests to cleanse my estates once they are back in my possession. You would think a leader of such a large Church would know better, but I suppose that is a bit much to expect from a heretic.
- Senator Donatello Favero

Eh, Nevermind. I do know a guy though that can clean your estates of heresy in half the time.
- Senator Julius Marco

Do tell us. He would make a great addition to the Ministry of Religious Affairs.
- Senator Theodora Doukas

Markos Angelos is from Berlin but came to the reach in the pursuit of the true faith. He is extremely pious and is a respected religious community member.
- Senator Julius Marco

Unfortunately, I believe you are mistaken. Markos Angelos was neither extremely pious nor respected. Plus he died during the attempted communist coup a few years ago. The man you are talking about is most likely a fraud.
- Senator Theodora Doukas

It didn’t say that on his card…
- Senator Julius Marco

Are you sure you’re not confusing him with Markos Angelos the Plumber? I had him fix a leaky pipe last week in my new apartment. He definitely overcharged me though, so I don’t recommend making use of his services.
- Senator Donatello Favero

July 1919


This was another year of recovery. In late December, We increased the unemployment subsidies yet again. No citizen would lack for their daily needs simply because work was lacking.

And when a mine accident happened, We chose to review mine safety throughout the Empire, though this lowered the mine output for a short time.

In June, We increased old age pensions yet again. Old age would not mean lack any more than a lack of work would.

We heard rumors of paramilitary organizations organizing, but restrained from cracking down in the hopes that in the absence of persecution they would fade away. Likewise when labor unions expanded aggressively.

When the new year came, We asked the legions to review their basic combat doctrines in light of all the advances in recent years. We expect their new combat manuals by the end of August.

And just this morning, We received a report that the legions are ready to deploy permanent aviation units. We have given orders for the creation of squadrons all throughout the Empire. The sack of Constantinople will never happen again.

In international news, Japan finally brought their war to Russia to a close, acquiring the Pogobi Region.

Hedjaz’s government fell when the Fascist Faction marched on their capital.

Germany is taking advantage of peace to focus on intellectual activities.

France was forced to free Walloonia, and is facing rebellions from both Anarcho-Liberals who hope to solidify their mob rule and Communists who wish to undo it.

Fortunately, the Olympic games should give a chance for peace to prevail.

Senators, We ask your advice regarding the navy. We have modernized the current fleets, and have the following ones, each consisting of five dreadnoughts and ten cruisers:
Gibraltar Fleet – stationed in Gibraltar
Red Sea Fleet – stationed in the Red Sea
West Mediterranean Fleet- stationed in Tunis
North Sea Fleet – stationed in the Netherlands
West Africa Fleet – stationed in the Ivory Coast
Guayana Fleet – stationed in Guayana
Indonesia Fleet – stationed in Java
Oceania Fleet – stationed in New Guinea
East Mediterranean Fleet – stationed in Crete
Black Sea Fleet – stationed in the Black Sea

We can easily afford many times this number of fleets. Should We build more? If so, what should their composition be? And where should they be stationed?

And as always, the Senate’s world maps will be updated.

Senate Responses

“We should build as many fleets as the budget will allow,” said Theodora, “In order to crush the rebel scum in the west we need to restore our Mare Nostrum, our control over the Mediterranean. They will help boost our war efforts and transport troops right into the rebel heartlands. Then they will be crushed, and we can reunite Rome.”

Theodora also invites all senators in attendance to a social gathering at her estate in Athens.

The Emperor makes plans to attend the social gathering, but in a non-official, perhaps even anonymous manner.

I concur that the Mediterranean fleets must be expanded, for Mare Nostrum is at risk. Also, with the sheer number of islands we possess in Asia, it might be wise to ensure we have more than enough ships available to patrol the area.

My heartiest congratulations to the Japanese for dealing a blow to the perfidious Russians. It seems that the Russians are not much of a threat anymore if a minor Asian nation can defeat them.

- Senator Donatello Favero

Franco continued doing what he did as usual, but today he decided to do something different. He was going to try and speak on Nestorius’ behalf! After a bit of hesitation, he decided to speak up.

“A-As long as we have enemies in the Mediterranean, w-we shouldn’t risk being caught by surprise! I w-would imagine that ol’ Ness would agree with me.

“And like S-Senator Favero, I would imagine that Nestor would congratulate the J-Japanese for managing to fend off the Russians. Hopefully they won’t be a threat in the r-region!” he nervously stated, before glancing over at Theodora after she invited everyone. He wasn’t sure if he was invited as well, and just gave her an awkward smile.


Meanwhile, in Aeteorea, things have continued on as normal. Nestorius had celebrated his 70th birthday a few weeks prior, which the Thaddai celebrated at their Komnenion estate in a modest manner, though this didn’t stop some newspapers writing how “ol’ Ness is the Omicron” in a humorous way. Timon, who was now 7 years of age and would reach his 8th year in December, had begun his compulsory education a while ago, which had fortunately been improved as a result of his mother making sure that whatever progressive reforms the Empire had adopted were also adopted on the island. Speaking of her, Kyrene had done much to make sure the islands were continuing their steady pace.

While the war had left Kyrene slightly nervous in regards to Asiatic relations, with the recent victory the Japanese gained over the Russians, she decided to see if anything could be done to keep relations with the Japanese as steady as possible. However, along with the Mesazon, work had begun to improve the island-state’s navy in case it was forced to enter a sea war.

Senator Donatello Favero shows up at his fellow senator’s party in Athens mildly intoxicated and quickly annoys most of the guests with his rants about Italy. Within ten minutes of arriving, everyone is made fully aware that the Italian rebel state is the source of all evil and the Pope is the Antichrist.

After telling the folks at the Constantinopolitan Thaddai estate about Senator Theodora’s invitation, the Cecil Sisters, Heraklides and Alexidas encouraged Lazaratos to go to the social gathering, even if he wasn’t a senator himself. He hesitated at first, but after a hardy push from Lavigne, he left for the estate in Athens.

He felt awkward the entire time there.

Alexios Angelos also turns up at the party, but spends most of his time ensuring that Donatello does not get into any duels or suchlike. He presumably considers it a duty to the longstanding friendship between their houses.

“And therefore, Italia delenda est,” said Donatello.

Everybody laughed again. Theodora noticed Alexios sighing and leading Donatello away. The whole idea of ending every single of his speeches with “Italy must be destroyed” was getting on her nerves.

There were the folks from the Thaddai estate in the corner, debating on the correctness of various words for head of government. Apparently “mesazon” was the most popular. However, not much else was happening. Most senators were just walking around aimlessly, not chatting with each other. She had arranged this gathering to solve the problem of boring senate sessions, but it had itself become as boring.

She couldn’t even talk to anybody. None of the other senators wanted to talk with her, while her family members (her brother, husband, and children among them) were on “vacation” in Paphlagonia. She was stuck here, with a bunch of bored guests. It said something about the party that the only “entertainment” came from a raving anti-Italian senator channeling Cato and from senators debating word choices.

Suddenly, a servant rushed into the room and made a beeline straight for her. All conversation in the room stopped as everybody turned towards her.

“There’s an uninvited individual at the door,” the servant whispered, “She wants to speak with you.”

“Tell her she’ll have to wait,” said Theodora.

“She says it’s urgent,” said the servant.

“Then inform her that I’ll send an Athanatos to help her out,” said Theodora.

“She wants to speak to you in person,” said the servant, “And she has information on the Cult.”

“The Cult?” Theodora said. “They haven’t done anything since they showed up during that coup attempt in the capital.”

She said that too loud, for some other senators started murmuring.

“Apparently they’re up to something,” said the servant, “And she can help.”

“Send her in,” said Theodora.

The servant nodded and rushed out of the room.

“Sorry everybody, there’s been a change of plans,” she told her guests, “My friend Mara here will oversee the dinner preparations.”

She left the room and went to one of her small meeting rooms, where a disheveled young Iranian woman wearing torn days awaited her. Her face was youthful, but her eyes looked like they had seen years upon years of events.

“Who are you?” Theodora asked.

“Call me Kira, Theodora Anna Sophia Doukas,” said the woman.

“How do you know my full name?” Theodora demanded. “I never told anybody my name.”

“That’s not important,” said Kira, “What’s important is that you trust me. I defected from the Cult, and I can tell you how they work and where their main bases are.”

“Suppose you’re telling the truth,” said Theodora, “What do you want me to do?”

“I need your protection,” said Kira, “They’ll be looking for me.”

“I’ll tell the Athanatoi to send a detail,” said Theodora.

“There’s no time for that,” said Kira, “We have to move fast, before they–”

Gunshots rang out from elsewhere in the house, followed by shouts from senators and cultists.

“They’re here,” said Kira.

Michael Doukas, Emperor, was attending the party at the Doukas (a cadet branch, but still bearing the same name) estate. He had hoped that showing up informally might give him a chance to interact with the Senators in a different manner, but the party itself seemed boring. The mask he wore indicating his informal status provided a few moments of conversation, but that quickly panned out. Donatello Favero’s speech was good for a few laughs, especially the off-topic reference to Italy’s future destruction. Of course, that joke would grow old quickly. Well, beyond the fact that it was a reference over two thousand years old. The discussion of words for heads of government was more lively, but he had little to contribute.

When some visitors spoke with Theodora, he overheard her mention the cult shortly before she left the room. He considered following, but decided to trust the minister of security. He was distracted thereafter, as Mara began seating people for the dinner. He couldn’t stop remembering the horrors of the sack of Constantinople. The cult wasn’t directly responsible, but they had sent events in motion that led to the sack. His dark memories were interrupted suddenly with the sound of a gunshot, screams, and shouts.

While the other senators were partying, Julius was simply looking at a Map of the Empire, or the Empire before the revolution and after the revolution.
“We’ll need to navally invade England, and France will be tough for our mechanised forces…. Though I do suppose we will have to invade Italy first…. It’ll shut up Donatello……
While murmuring strategies to himself about how to beat the Secessionist states, he heard a loud gunshot, and some small arms fire.
“Ah, shit!” Said Julius as he grabbed his Modified Imperial Rifle and ran back inside.

By the time the sound of gunshots were heard, Donatello Favero had consumed copious amounts of alcohol and was utterly drunk. He wasn’t quite as shocked as the other guests, for it took him some time to comprehend what was going on. His mind was still focused on Italy. As his thoughts intermingled, he came to the only logical conclusion the drunk senator could arrive at: the Italians were attacking the party in an attempt to assassinate him.

“You will never take me alive, you blasted Italian separatists!” Donatello yelled, pulling a pistol out of his trousers to the surprise of everyone around him. He ran towards the door, waving his pistol. Quite inebriated, he misjudged where the door was and ran right into the doorjamb. His collision made him accidentally pull the trigger, firing off a shot towards the roof. The bullet went right through the bracing holding up an exquisite chandelier, sending it crashing down towards the floor. It shattered on impact, sending bits of glass and crystal across the room. Fortunately no one had been underneath it, so no one was harmed.

Donatello spun around at the crash behind him, nearly tipping over in the process. He glanced once at the broken chandelier and let out a triumphant yell. “Aha! Their assassination attempt has failed. Italy shall be returned to the Empire!”

Spinning back around with the grace of a drunken man, Donatello sped back towards the door. He misjudged its position again and ran into the doorjamb a second time. This time he hit his head and collapsed to the floor, knocked out cold. Many guests let out a sigh of relief that there would be no more drunken ravings.

Cultists, identified by their pure black outfits, entered the dining room and surrounded the senators inside. One of them pulled Michael Doukas’s mask off and gasped.

“It’s the Emperor!” the man exclaimed.

“He will be quite useful for our cause,” said the leader of the Cultists.

Julius ran inside and found Cultists holding the senators hostage.

“Don’t shoot or we’ll kill them!” one of them shouted.

Julius hesitated for a second, but that was all the time they needed. One Cultist snuck up behind him and hit him on the head, knocking him out instantly.

Several Cultists turned to look at what the commotion was all about. They watched as a drunk senator fired wildly in the air, destroying a chandelier, as he repeatedly ran into a door before knocking himself out. They looked at each other.

“Did you just see that?” one Cultist asked.

“Yeah,” said another Cultist.

They quickly took away the unconscious senator and threw him into a small closet.

Once the rest of the estate had been secured, most of the Cultists gathered in the dining room, where they had put all of the sober senators.

“Listen up!” shouted their leader. “We know you are hiding in this house something that is rightfully ours. Hand it over to us and nobody gets hurt. Otherwise I will start executing one senator every ten minutes.”

“We don’t know what you’re talking about!” protested a random senator.

The Cultist simply shot him in the head, and he crumpled to the floor.

“We will be asking the questions around here!” shouted the Cultist. “If you don’t want to be sacrificed to Chernobog–which is actually a good thing, how many times do we have to tell you–I suggest you speak up and tell us where the defector is.”

He gestured to his men, who brought in a bound and gagged Emperor and forced him to kneel before him.

“If you don’t, I will kill your Emperor,” said the Cultist, pointing his pistol at the back of the Emperor’s head.


Meanwhile, Theodora and Kira listened to the Cultists’ rants from the second floor of the estate.

“Great,” Theodora muttered, “Here we go again…”

“They’ve come for me,” said Kira, “This is what I was trying to warn you about.”

“Couldn’t you have just come earlier then?” said Theodora.

“There was instability in Iran, and it took me a while to get through,” said Kira.

“Okay, okay, my house is under attack, they’ve got the Emperor and most of the Senate, and I can reasonably assume we’re the only two who have not been captured by the Cult,” said Theodora, “We can’t run, or they’ll die. I can’t fight all of them alone.”

“You won’t fight all of them alone,” said Kira.

Theodora stared at the young woman. “Excuse me, miss? You’re really going to help me fight them?”

Kira tied a blindfold over her eyes. “Watch and learn, Senator. Now where’s the armory?”

“I stored some weapons down the hall and to the left, but–”

Two Cultists burst into the room at that moment and quickly advanced towards them.

“That will be enough!” Kira launched herself at the Cultists, drawing two small silenced pistols from her pockets.

Before Theodora could even say a word, Kira opened fire, shooting both Cultists square in the head.

“…How?” she managed to stammer.

“It’s complicated,” said Kira as she walked down the hallway as if she wasn’t even blindfolded.

More Cultists rounded the corner, and Kira shot them in the head again.

“Here!” Kira tossed Theodora a pistol. The senator hadn’t handled a gun since the attack on Constantinople, and she still preferred swords.

They reached the weapons storage closet, and Theodora took out a rifle and several cartridges. She also strapped some grenades and another pistol to her side.

“Wait, we’re still missing something,” said Theodora.

“It’s back up the hall and to our right,” said Kira.

“How did you know where I kept my father’s sword?” asked Theodora.

Kira shrugged. “I just do.”

They headed off to Theodora’s office, where she picked up her trusted sword.

“Now let’s go kill some Cult scum,” she said.

Julius woke up with a massive bruise on his head and tied up.
“Wha.. What ‘appened…” Julius mumbled looking for his rifle. “Ah! Romulus! There you are. Now, how do….” Julius cut himself of when he saw all of the senators were captured and a pistol was to the emperors head.
During this processing, Julius had one thought running through his head

Franco didn’t speak much before things got hectic at the party. At most he introduced himself to those who approached him, talked to a senator about some sports athlete (he thinks at least, Sportaflop doesn’t sound very athletic), and drank from a glass filled with grape juice. He barely noticed that some folks from the estate, the Cecil Sisters, Lavigne, and Heraklides, were there with him. They did most of the talking. He did however listen in to a conversation they were having with a few senators over words for heads of government. The one thing that stood out for him was that the senators that suggested “demarch” for the position was quickly shut down for sounding too democratic. He heard “prothypourge” (or was it prothipourge, he wasn’t sure), “kephale,” “hypate,” “huparch,” “eisarch” (the previous two sounding incredibly silly to him), and “mesazon” as well. That last one seemed to be the one talked about the most though.

Soon, everything went to hell. Now they were surrounded by cultists in the estate’s dining room. The gang was having flashbacks to the sack of Constantinople, the “Red Tragedy,” but Heraklides kept them from going completely out, whispering that they had to keep their guard up and their wits about them, especially with the Emperor being a hostage.

Julius was trying very hard not to break free of his rope and start beating the bastards into oblivion.
Of course, he would get shot, but still.
Then, a cultist opened his big mouth.
“Why do you guys make this so hard? We all just want Chernobog to be happy with sacrifices! Then we could all-“
“Listen here you fat furry fuck, our empire is the greatest nation on the face of the earth, where all people have an opportunity to enrich their lives, and secure their children’s future.” Julius said.
“Shut up you stupid bloody child. As an official senator of the Roman Empire, I say go fuck yourself.”
“That’s not what your wife said last night.”
“Oh nothing. Besides, when I kill the emperor, your next.”
Julius started screaming a stream of obscenities, threats and just started ranting in general.
“John, you do realise ya didn’t fuck Julius’s wife.”
“I know. Just wanted to rile him up. His rants and anger is legendary.” John smiled.

“Is he always like this?” Kira asked.
“Well, yes.” Theodora replied.

Michael was in shock. This was worse than the sack. At least there his guards had gotten him to safety as it began. Now he was captured, gagged, threatened with death. He needed a smoke so badly. He needed air. He was about to pass out. Truly this was the end.

“Shut up, all of you!” shouted a Cultist. “Or I’ll kill you all!”

He shot a random senator in the head, and blood sprayed on everyone.

“Now shut up!”


“Okay, why do you need my protection?” Theodora asked. “It appears you can take care of yourself.”

“Because there is only so much I can see,” said Kira, “And I have my limits.”

They walked down the hallway and heard people speaking below them. Apparently Senator Marco was shouting a few curses at the Cultists, as would be expected.

“Is he always like this?” Kira asked.

“Sort of,” said Theodora.

They reached a room with a phone in it, and Theodora immediately tried calling for backup. But she realized that the phone lines were all cut when she couldn’t get a connection through.

“There goes that,” she said.

She turned back to Kira. “I suppose we’ll have to do this the hard way.”

“That route has a very low chance of success,” said Kira, “But it has the highest success rate out of all other choices. I suppose we could try it.”


General Ioannes Dalassenos and his men pulled up in front of the Doukas estate. Neighbors had reported hearing gunfire and shouting coming from inside. When the military realized that most of the senators, cabinet ministers, and prominent nobles were inside (along with Ioannes’s wife, but they didn’t bring her up), they quickly mobilized his legion and tasked him with freeing the hostages.

He got out of his car and surveyed the mansion. Everything was quiet, a bit too quiet. He ordered his men to surround the mansion and approach it cautiously.

Ioannes went with his troops, drawing his pistol. This was the third time he had to deal with this kind of madness. He cursed his luck. First a vampire, then communists, and now this. He was getting too old for this. Did he always have to save the Emperor and the entire Senate every time somebody decided it was time to overthrow the Empire?

His annoyance was interrupted by the sound of gunfire coming from the house. Some of his soldiers screamed as they were shot. Others stepped on land mines and promptly exploded.

Ioannes ducked behind a pillar. “Take cover and return fire!” he shouted to his troops.

“We can’t see them!” shouted a nearby soldier shortly before his head exploded.

“Fall back!” Ioannes shouted. “Fall–”

There was a loud explosion as a mortar came down next to his car, destroying it and all soldiers and vehicles around it.

“Seriously?!” Ioannes shouted. “Who let these guys get a mortar gun!”

They retreated to a safe distance, out of range of the mortar.

“This is not going as planned,” said one of his officers, “I recommend we send in some airplanes and armor.”

“No,” said Ioannes, “We cannot risk the lives of the senators.”

“Sir, senators are expendable,” said the officer, “Once these terrorists are destroyed the Emperor can appoint new ones.”

Ioannes sighed. “Okay, alert Colonel Picardie and tell him to get me a zeppelin in the air,” he said, “Tell him to bring as many paratroopers as he can.”

“Yes, sir,” said the officer.

“Here we go again,” he muttered.

The Cultist guarding the armory heard a noise coming from down the hall. Walking away to investigate, he didn’t notice the shadow creeping up behind him until it was too late.

Theodora silently stabbed him in the back with her sword, and he fell down without another word. Kira then emerged from a corner, and both of them approached the armory. It was locked with a combination lock, but Theodora quickly input the password, and the door swung open.

“Take what you can,” she said, gesturing to the bags of explosives on the floor.

“What about the guns?” said Kira.

“Take ammunition only,” said Theodora, “More guns will just slow you down and make a lot of noise.”

They got the bags of explosives and left the armory, locking the door behind them.

As they walked back towards the main wing of the mansion, Theodora heard the sound of propellers from directly above them.

“What’s that noise?” Kira asked.

“It can’t be…” Theodora muttered.

She ran to the nearest window and saw a large airship hovering over the building.

“Ioannes!” she said. “That man always goes for overkill.”

“They’re on our side, right?” said Kira.

“Yes, but they’ll just complicate things a lot.”



The lead Cultist looked a bit scared for a second, but then he just laughed.

“Finally,” he said to his comrades, “More flesh for Chernobog! Execute Plan 5!”

Two Cultists nodded and ran away from the dining hall.


John-Loukas looked over the Doukas estate complex, surveying its layout. The Cultists were apparently concentrated in the main wing, around the dining hall area. One bomb should be enough to deal with them, but that would come at the expense of the hostages. He didn’t want to risk lives of almost every single senator just yet.

He turned to ask if the paratroopers were ready when suddenly one of his officers said, “Sir, I’m getting something approaching us!”

He looked down again and saw several dozen red balloons rising up towards him, sticks of dynamite attached to each of them.

“Evasive maneuvers!” he ordered.

But it was no use. As soon as the balloons reached the same height as the airship, the Cultists on the ground detonated them.

The air around the airship lit up with explosions, and the vessel rocked. Crewmen screamed as the floor beneath them shifted, throwing them into the walls and floors. More balloons impacted the airship, blasting holes in the cabins and, most importantly, the fuel canopy.

“We’ve got multiple hull breaches throughout all decks!” said the officer. “We’re leaking helium!”

“Get as many crewmen out of the affected areas!” shouted John-Loukas. “And fight back!”

The airship’s machine gun batteries opened fire, quickly shooting down any other balloons the Cultists sent up.

“Damage report,” said John-Loukas.

“We’ve taken heavy casualties in the aft sections,” said the officer, “About 15 crewmen are dead or injured over there. We’re leaking helium at a moderate rate, but some teams are getting the leak under control as we speak.”

“Maintain position,” said John-Loukas, “Keep the batteries on high alert for any more balloons.”

Then suddenly the floor where the balloons were launched from exploded, sending glass and debris flying everywhere.

“Did somebody drop a bomb?” said John-Loukas.

“No, nobody fired anything,” said the officer.

“Then it appears we’ve got somebody down there that’s helping us out…” said John-Loukas.


Theodora surveyed the destroyed room, stepping over the bodies of the dead Cultists.

“Targets have been eliminated,” she said.

“But the others will no doubt come to investigate,” said Kira, “Are we ready for that?”

“Oh, yes we are,” said Theodora, “Look through all possible outcomes. See what the results are.”

“A high chance of our deaths,” said Kira, “And the deaths of the senators. And then the Empire will be destabilized–”

“That will be enough,” said Theodora, pulling out her guns and shooting the approaching Cultists. “Run!”

They retreated into another room, continuing to pick off more Cultists.


“They did WHAT?!” shouted the lead Cultist.

“They’ve taken out Boris and Peter, sir,” said another Cultist.

“Those fools,” said the lead Cultist, “But it’s only a temporary setback. Move everybody to the roof!”

The Cultists forced the senators to their feet and ordered out of the room, guns pressed against their backs.

Donatello Favero, who had been forgotten after being thrown into a closet, started snoring loudly, having slipped from unconsciousness into a deep drunken slumber.

The gang wasn’t really sure what they’d be able to do. Forced off the floor and out of the room, Franco wondered what would happen once they’d reach the roof. The Cecil Sisters stayed close to one another, while Lavigne looked like she wanted to pray to God. Heraklides just looked annoyed, having gotten too old for stuff like this. He glanced at the other senators, as though he was trying to think of a plan. Whether he’d think of one? That’s hard to say.

As the Cultists pushed the last of the senators out of the room, one of them heard a loud snore from one of the closets. Surprised by the sound, he opened the closet, finding a senator stowed away inside, apparently having drunk himself to sleep.

He closed the closet and put a lock on it. He wouldn’t interfere with them if he stayed where he was.

He turned back to the crowd of senators they were now herding out of the room. The Aoteorean senators were among the most pathetic of the bunch. The sisters were hugging each other, though it wouldn’t matter once they were both in Chernobog’s dark embrace. Some looked like they wanted to pray to God. God had already abandoned them by allowing the Cult to infiltrate this compound. He noticed one senator making a face at them and slapped him.

“Shut up!” he said. “Get that look off your face and join the rest of the senators!”

After ten minutes, all of the senators were on the roof, and the Cultists lined them up near the edge of the mansion, facing outwards. They drew their guns and pointed them at the back of the senators, but they did not fire yet. They would wait until Ignatieff gave the order or the soldiers outside or in the zeppelin did something stupid.

For a brief second, he felt the entire building shake and heard a ringing noise in the air, but then it was gone. He would have thought that it was his imagination, but apparently a few other senators heard it as well and started talking with each other again in hushed tones.

“Shut up!” he shouted, firing his gun in the air.

The senators shut up agaain.


Wilhelm materialized in a small room on the second floor. Pain flared in his head as his grace continued integrating into his body, but it was bearable. He got to his feet and looked around. trying to figure out where he had ended up. Judging from the furniture, he tentatively put it down as the late 1910s or 1920s in Greece. But a few details were off. Usually, a Greek noble would at least have some German books lying around, but he found none. There were no references to the Reich or to Kaiser Karl or Otto. What he did find, though, were references to a Basileia Rhomaion and Basileus Michael. He realized that he had not only traveled in time but also to a parallel universe, probably one of those where the Doukas clan, instead of being overthrown in a coup by the Hohenzollerns, reunified the Reich–or Imperium–under their rule.

He heard the click of a gun behind him. “Put your hands up where I can see them,” said the voice of a woman.

Wilhelm did so, as being shot at this time would cause complications with the integration of his grace.

“Turn around,” said the woman.

He slowly turned around, seeing a woman wearing a modern and more sensible version of the purple-colored senatorial robes. He deduced that she was a senator. Next to her was who appeared to be a Persian woman wearing simple Persian garb.

“Who are you?” demanded the woman. “And how did you get into my house?”

“With all due respect, Senator,” said Wilhelm in flawless but slightly medieval Greek (as he did not know how Greek had developed here), “I have no idea.”

“How do you know I’m a senator?” demanded the woman. “I never told you that. You must be working for the Cult.”

“The Cult?” said Wilhelm, thinking.

The Cult was a weird organization, existing in quite a few timelines where Slavic paganism had died out. However, this was the first universe in which he saw the Cult in the 20th century, in most other universes dying out in the Renaissance era or lying underground until natural disasters brought down civilization in the late 19th century.

“I’m not with the Cult,” said Wilhelm.

“Then who are you?” said the woman.

“I know all about you,” said Wilhelm, “You are Theodora Anna Doukas, Senator of the Basileia Rhomaion, Minister of Security. You are married to a Doux Alexios Komnenos, who always insists that you call him Justinian, although you are the one who owns the title of Doux of Greece. Your friends include Colonel Theodoros Laskaris, General Ioannes Dalassenos, and Lieutenant General John-Loukas Picardie, all of whom helped repel the communist takeover of Constantinople a little while ago and all of whom are currently here. You were born on 28 June 1885 as the eldest daughter of Michael Doukas and his wife Sophia. Your brother is named Niketas Doukas and was born on 19 August 1887 but was passed over in the line of succession in favor of you. Your children are named Heraclius and Belisarius and are aged five and three. Heraclius wants to be a doctor while Belisarius is interested in the history of his namesake and wants to join the legions.”

“How do you know all that?” said Theodora.

“Because he knows,” said the Persian woman. “He’s telling the truth.”

“Kira, we just met this man!” said Theodora. “He appears right during a Cultist takeover of my house! Are you sure he’s not with them?”

“I’m not with them,” said Wilhelm, “I am with God.”

The room started to shake as Wilhelm’s body started radiating white light. His eyes glowed pure white as a loud ringing noise filled the room. As the entire room was lit up with the light, the two women saw the shadow of Wilhelm’s wings cast onto the far war, spread like an eagle’s wings.

“I am an angel of the Lord,” said Wilhelm.

“Uh,” said Kira, “I am Zoroastrian?”

“Don’t worry,” said Wilhelm, “All religions are equally valid, and God and the other gods don’t really care.”

The ringing and shaking suddenly stopped, and the light disappeared along with the shadows of the wings. Wilhelm clasped his hands together. “Now, you said that the Cult is currently attacking your house?”

“Yeah,” said Theodora, “They’ve taken the entire Senate hostage and have taken them to the roof, probably to kill them.”

“Don’t worry,” said Wilhelm, “I’ll take care of them.”

Heraklides took the slap like a man, not caring for the feelings of the cultists. However, he and the others had no choice in joining the other senators on the roof, even if none of them, even Franco, were technically senators - they were just the chargés d’affaires as a result of Nestorius’ absence.

The gang was lined up to one another, all but Heraklides worried about the guns behind them. The shaking surprised them, even Heraklides, but when trying to talk to one another about it, they were quickly quieted down by the gunfire behind them.

The Emperor had been dragged to the top of the roof with the other Senators. He was still blindfolded and even more in need of a smoke. The night air helped a little, and he gasped for breath. He felt himself placed near the edge of the roof, and while he wasn’t sure what was going to happen, it was unlikely to be good. Prince Konstantinos was nearly of age, so any regency would be short. But if the Senate were removed, then who knew what would happen. And after so much had already been lost. The Empire might only be a remnant. He began praying for a miracle.

Moments later, he felt the building shake. The Senators began muttering, and the cult leader had to fire a shot into the air to restore order. The Emperor was still worried, but he began to feel a glimmer of hope.

The Cultists finally got organized again. Their leader took off a hood, revealing himself to be Ignatieff.

“Senators of the corrupt Empire,” he said, “You should be honored that you are about to be sacrificed to the Black God, Chernobog. The crucified god that you so love has abandoned you. Why else would he let your Empire be torn asunder? Why else did he let us capture you all so easily? The answer is because he is a false god. He does not care for you. But Chernobog does. Give up your blood for him, and he will reward you, as he rewarded me and my followers, with untold riches in many forms.”

Several senators shouted in defiance, but the Cultists fired their guns into the air again to shut them up.

“You bicker now, but it is no use,” said Ignatieff, “Why do you so vehemently refuse this great honor? You should be grateful for being given the opportunity to become part of something greater. You know what? I’m going to stop monologuing. My comrades, prepare the sacrifices for the…sacrifice!”

The Cultists forced the senators to kneel and pulled their heads back by their hair with one hand. With their other hand they drew knives from their cloaks and pressed them to the senators’ throats.

Ignatieff began chanting in Russian. “Hear me, oh Chernobog, Black God, the Peacock Angel, the true lord of this world. Please accept my merciful offering to your great form…”

“Hey, assbutt,” said a voice behind him.

He turned around and saw a man in a trenchcoat standing right behind him.

“Hear this,” said the man, snapping his fingers.

Ignatieff flew across the roof, propelled by an invisible force, and crashed into the railing on the far end of the roof.

“Of all of the universes you could have hidden from Heaven in, you chose this one?” said the man.

“Wilhelm,” said Ignatieff, “It’s been eons since we last met.”

“Ignatieff,” said Wilhelm, “It’s time you paid for your crimes.”

The Cultists let go of the senators and opened fire on Wilhelm, but with another snap of his fingers, all of their bullets stopped in midair. The Cultists dropped their weapons in shock as Wilhelm snapped his fingers again, sending them flying over the edge of the building.

Ignatieff reached for his gun, but he stopped when he found a sword pointed straight at his head.

“Don’t,” said Theodora, “It’s over.”

Ignatieff sighed and grinned. “It’s never over, Doukai. The Cult may have lost today, but it will never give up. Not until Chernobog is satisfied!”

And in front of everybody’s eyes, he disappeared.

“Oh, great,” said Wilhelm, “I can’t go after him.”

“You’re kidding me,” said Theodora, “You can do all that but you can’t find him?”

“He’s gone to great lengths to conceal himself,” said Wilhelm, “He’ll only let himself be found when he wants to. But there is one thing I can do.”

“What is that?” said Theodora.

“I have a limited ability to time travel,” said Wilhelm, “I can reset time to this morning and give you the information to prevent this attack from beginning. And while I’m at it, I’ll give you a list of all Cult strongholds around the world.”

“Why would I want to reset time?” said Theodora.

“As Minister of Security, they’ll have your head for not preventing this attack, especially at your own home,” said Wilhelm, “It’s the least I can do. They need you as Minister of Security. They need you in the Senate. The Empire needs you to defend it.”

Theodora nodded. “Perhaps you’re right…considering the Emperor himself is here.”

She had noticed that one of the “senators” was actually the Emperor himself.

“And Kira?” said Theodora. “What about her?”

“She’ll be safe once you eliminate the strongholds,” said Wilhelm, “You won’t have to worry about anything.”

Wilhelm started walking away.

“And what about you?” said Theodora. “Can’t you help out over here? There’s so much you could help us with!”

Wilhelm cracked a sad smile. “I’m sorry, but my powers are quite limited right now, and I would prefer you guys sort your problems out on your own. I can’t really do anything.”

He continued walking away.

“And what about God?” said Theodora. “If you’re here, does that mean he’s up there?”

Wilhelm laughed. “You do know you’re going to forget all of this when I reset time, right?”

He snapped his fingers.


That morning

“And therefore, Italia delenda est,” said Donatello.

Everybody laughed again. Theodora noticed Alexios sighing and leading Donatello away. The whole idea of ending every single of his speeches with “Italy must be destroyed” was getting on her nerves.

There were the folks from the Thaddai estate in the corner, debating on the correctness of various words for head of government. Apparently “mesazon” was the most popular. However, not much else was happening. Most senators were just walking around aimlessly, not chatting with each other. She had arranged this gathering to solve the problem of boring senate sessions, but it had itself become as boring.

She couldn’t even talk to anybody. None of the other senators wanted to talk with her, while her family members (her brother, husband, and children among them) were on “vacation” in Paphlagonia. She was stuck here, with a bunch of bored guests. It said something about the party that the only “entertainment” came from a raving anti-Italian senator channeling Cato and from senators debating word choices. Besides, she was strangely quite worried about security, having asked General Ioannes Dalassenos to bring some troops over for some reason she remembered as being “potential civil disturbance.”

Suddenly, a servant rushed into the room and made a beeline straight for her. All conversation in the room stopped as everybody turned towards her.

“There’s an uninvited individual at the door,” the servant whispered, “She wants to speak with you.”

“Tell her she’ll have to wait,” said Theodora.

“She says it’s urgent,” said the servant.

“Then inform her that I’ll send an Athanatos to help her out,” said Theodora.

“She wants to speak to you in person,” said the servant, “And she has information on the Cult.”

“The Cult?” Theodora said. “They haven’t done anything since they showed up during that coup attempt in the capital.”

She said that too loud, for some other senators started murmuring.

“Apparently they’re up to something,” said the servant, “And she can help.”

“Send her in,” said Theodora.

The servant nodded and rushed out of the room.

“Sorry everybody, there’s been a change of plans,” she told her guests, “My friend Mara here will oversee the dinner preparations.”

She left the room and went to one of her small meeting rooms, where a disheveled young Iranian woman wearing torn days awaited her. Her face was youthful, but her eyes looked like they had seen years upon years of events.

“Who are you?” Theodora asked.

“Call me Kira, Theodora Anna Sophia Doukas,” said the woman.

“How do you know my full name?” Theodora demanded. “I never told anybody my name.”

“That’s not important,” said Kira, “What’s important is that you trust me. I defected from the Cult, and I can tell you how they work and where their main bases are.”

“Suppose you’re telling the truth,” said Theodora, “What do you want me to do?”

“I need your protection,” said Kira, “They’ll be looking for me.”

“I’ll tell the Athanatoi to send a detail,” said Theodora.

“There’s no time for that,” said Kira, “We have to move fast, before they come here.”

She handed Theodora a list.

“What is this?” said Theodora.

“A list of the major Cult strongholds I am aware of,” said Kira, “I found it lying next to my bed this morning with no idea how it got here.”

Theodora took the list. “Did you say they were coming here?”

“Yes, I did,” said Kira, “They’ll be coming after me, and the back of the list has a message saying that there is a group of Cultists on its way here.”

Another servant burst into the room. “Minister, I’ve got General Dalassenos on the phone,” he said.

“Tell him I’ll be right there,” said Theodora.

She got up from her chair. “Now, make yourself at home here,” she said to Kira, “You can stay here as long as you want. You have my word you’ll be safe here.”

She left the room and picked up a phone in the next room. “Hello?”

“Theodora?” said Ioannes. “I don’t know how you did it, but we found a whole group of Cultists heading straight for your mansion. We’ve apprehended all of them, but we wouldn’t have found them if you didn’t ask us to look for them. How did you know?”

“Several years as Minister of Security does that to you,” said Theodora, “Good work, Ioannes. Is a man matching Ignatieff’s description among them?”

“Uh, no, but he appears to never have been part of the group,” said Ioannes.

“Thank you, Ioannes,” said Theodora, “Take them to the nearest holding center for transport to Constantinople. I want the Emperor to be present at their interrogation.”

“I should be thanking you, Theodora,” said Ioannes, “Good bye for now.”

The line clicked.

Theodora sighed, feeling like she had just averted a major disaster. Now she really felt like talking to the other senators. She headed back downstairs to the reception room, hoping to make a few new friends in the Senate.

Most of the Gang had effectively surrendered themselves to their fate, with the Cecil Sisters holding back tears, Lavigne praying in her native tongue and Franco cursing himself, wishing that he had been asked to go to Aeteorea instead. Heraklides was the only one to join the defiant senators, but he too was quieted down. They felt the knives to their throats after being forced to kneel. Then, they heard someone speak before feeling a gust of wind. They were let go along with the other senators as the cultists tried to fire at the mystery person. The Gang looked up just in time to see the bullets being stopped mid-air, before the mystery person, who they noticed was with Theodora and some other lady, did what he did to Ignatieff to the Cultists, sending them careening off the roof. Even Heraklides was stupefied by what he was seeing!

They listened to the absurdity of what the mystery man, apparently called Wilhelm, had to say. Heraklides once again was the only one to question what the brown was going on, whilst the others were just thankful to be alive. However, before anything could be done, Wilhelm snapped his fingers, and everything was reverted back…


That morning

Arriving at the party, Franco Lazaratos introduced himself to those who approached him, though it seemed that most didn’t really care for him, seeing as he was the only the main chargé d’affaires for Nestorius. Not wanting to do anything embarrassing, he filled a glass with grape juice instead of wine and began drinking from it, trying to appear as natural as he could. One senator began engaging with him, speaking of some sports athlete he didn’t like like (though Franco thought that “Sportaflop” didn’t sound very athletic). He just felt awkward.

It was during this conversation that some folks from the estate arrived fashionably late, those being the Cecil Sisters, Carys and Delyth, along with Eudokia Lavigne and Antiochos Heraklides, leaving Olena Zhuk and Nicolaos Alexidas to watch over the estate. Barely noticing their arrival after finishing his sports conversation, Franco just silently drank from his glass, seemingly unable to get rid of this awkward feeling he had. Delyth engaged one of the senators, one who had gotten a degree in linguistics. Soon being joined by her sister, they began discussing over the names for the position of head of government. As the discussion went on, several more senators, Lavigne, and Heraklides joined in.

The linguistically-taught senator suggested “prothypourge” as a reasonable name for such a position, though no one was sure how that name was spelt, with some thinking (including Franco, who was listening in out of boredom) it might be spelt “prothipourge”. One senator suggested “demarch,” which was quickly shut down for sounding too democratic. Heraklides suggested “hypate,” whilst another senator suggested “kephale.” Carys and Delyth suggested “huparch” and “eisarch” respectively, but the linguistically-taught senator commented on how silly those names sounded, something which everyone agreed with. Lavigne suggested “mesazon,” and everyone began talking about her suggestion and how it fit reasonably well, before she revealed that it was the name for the position in Aeteorea. The senators in the conversation had a collective “huh,” Heraklides scratched the back of his head in realization that he could’ve brought that up, the Cecil Sisters were giggling to themselves for not remembering, and Franco looked out of a window, having lost interest in the conversation after it had reached the point where everyone agreed on a name.

Soon, the small crowd dispersed and the Gang was left by themselves. They all felt something akin to Franco’s awkwardness, but it was something they had been feeling since they awoke this morning. The sisters attributed it to having binge-read a series of books whose ending had caused them many tears last night, Lavigne attributed it to a sort of longing for home, as she hadn’t seen her relatives in France in a long while, whilst Franco had almost completely forgotten about the feeling as a result of the awkwardness he felt. Heraklides, however, believed it was something from God himself, though he wasn’t sure if anything bad was going to happen. Last time he felt like this, he recalled getting a call telling him that his father had recovered from an illness that had been ailing them for at least 3 months, whilst the time before that his pet bird was killed by hail. The Gang didn’t even notice Theodora handing over preparations to Mara, or the mention of the Cult slightly before that.

They all went ahead to solve this feeling they felt. The Sisters engaged themselves with a pair of younger-looking senators, leading to the two chaps asking them to speak in their native Welsh for no reason in particular. Franco refilled his glass and wondered if he should indulge in some wine, thinking it might make him more willing to approach the senators, feeling as though that would be better than just waiting here by the window for someone to come and talk to him. Lavigne joined in another conversation being held between some senators, this time over one of them pitching their idea of getting into writing by doing a series of speculative fiction novels, adding her voice to those who suggested he go for it. Heraklides, meanwhile, decided to just wander a bit and check out the area - maybe someone will engage him.


In Aeteorea

Things continued as they did, as nothing major had happened today in terms of important events. It was a slow day for everyone there.

The only one who felt something was a bit amiss was little Timon. He felt a strange sense of déjà vu as he went to school.

Michael Doukas watched the party. It was a boring one, yes, but there were worse things. The fear of being gunned down like his father was a constant companion, so boring was good. When Theodora handed over preparations to Mara, he was curious, but he trusted his minister of security to be effective. He silently gave a prayer of thanks for her branch of the family, and then for all the other loyal senators. They were a boon to the Empire, and his grandmother has been wise to make their role more formal. They were useful in bypassing the deadlock of the bureaucracy and the church. The bureaucracy was almost ready to be given some freedom, and the industrialization of the past century had weakened the church. Mayhaps some better institutions could be put in place in coming years. He’d have to ponder that over a pre-dinner smoke.

July 1920


Following your suggestions, We began a massive build-up of the navy in the Mediterranean. We have added the Adriatic Fleet, the Algeria Fleet, the Valencia Fleet, the Naples Fleet, the Suez Fleet, and the Azov Fleet. The latter two are still assembling.

When the Legions’ new field manual suggested improvements to the Empire’s fortifications, We expanded the existing upgrade program.

The field manual only addressed infantry tactics, so We tasked the Legions with finding new tactics for tanks and artillery.

After they organized the necessary committees, We tasked the Admiralty with upgrading the navies to use oil instead of coal.

And all this year We assembled air forces throughout the Empire.

However, all these military upgrades are costing the Empire dearly. We have money saved, but three years of this budget shortfall will leave Us needing to take loans to fund the Empire’s everyday operations.

In civilian affairs, the mine disaster of 1918 inspired Us to continue improving safety regulations. Our workers are as directly protected as can be.

However, ensuring workers have sufficient time to rest also helps ensure their safety.

In international news, Iran fell to Jacobin rebels last July.

And in Aquitaine, a separatist movement has caused a crisis. This movement is agitating for Le Midi to return to Our control. Great Britain has given Aquitaine their backing, and so far the other great powers are avoiding the crisis. Our people have only now stopped being haunted by the Great War, so We are wary about how this may end.

Finally, the archivists have finally considered some newspapers to be significant. As is usually the case, We are unsure just what they see in these particular papers, though We are enjoying Gerard Manley Hopkins’ poetry.

Senate Responses

A man outside the window sits on a pole, watching the Senate proceedings as Theodora speaks.

“It is good to hear there are still those being oppressed by the rebel scum who are not themselves rebel scum. We must give this movement our full support. It is clear that the people of Le Midi want to return to the fold of the Empire. We must support their interests, and if Aquitaine refuses to acknowledge this, we must force them to do so. Also, that man outside is getting quite annoying, don’t you think?”

It is clear to me that these rebellions that tore our great Empire apart were nothing more than the scheme of a few dissidents who cared nothing for the people who benefited from our rule. Now it seems that there are those living amongst the rebels who have found themselves forced from the Empire’s loving grasp and now wish nothing more than to once more be guided by the benevolent hand of our beloved Emperor. We must answer their call and liberate them from rebel control. It is the time to take back what is ours, for the benefit of all!

As for this matter of the horrendous budget deficit, perhaps if the lower classes paid their fair share of taxes we would not face such financial troubles. They do, after all, benefit the most from the Empire’s sprawling social programs. It seems only logical that they pay the brunt of its costs.

- Senator Donatello Favero

“Iran seems to have finally come to its senses. Hopefully those four years they have spent under communist rule will show just how terrible that ideology is in practice,” Franco commented on the fall of the regime there. Reading about Hopkins, pole sitting and selective jukeboxes, he wondered what Nestor thinks about all that, considering he always seemed to be in the know regarding up and coming culture. Those thoughts were set aside when he read about Flanders-Wallonia, causing him to giggle in glee over the possibility of their government collapsing. As he giggled, he noticed the senators mentioning the situation in Aquitaine, and decided not to comment, considering everyone would be supporting those in Le Midi.

He did, however, decide to comment on the budget deficit; “Raising taxes on the lower classes could help in this regard, as Donatello has commented, but need we forget the revolts from just a decade earlier? If we raise taxes, we have to raise them on all the classes, as much as that would anger the upper class as well.”

“Hmmm.” The senators were arguing about taxes and Le Midi and such. Julius meanwhile, was preparing a new doctrine he liked to call ‘Superior Firepower’. Expensive but incredibly effective.
“This would require massive amounts of industry, and the artillery demand would go up….”

Emperor Michael glances outside.

“Ah, he’s one of them. You’ve no doubt heard of the man who fancies himself a new Saint Simeon Stylites. Well, he’s inspired both followers and satirists. The man outside either thinks that by his asceticism he can lend us wisdom or is satirizing the pole sitters by indicating much the same. It is not easy to tell in the short term. If he’s still here in a year, then he’s the former. If not, the latter.”

Gaeta, Roman Italy
“That disgraceful border, not far north of here, is a shameful sign that the barbarians have successfully struck the Empire in a way that should never be tolerated by true Romans” began the man standing on a recently raised scaffold in the town square. The small group of Romani vi Bonorum that now guarded the speaker had earlier tore down the posters of the other parties and prepared the Square for the special speech by the leader of the Pars Imperium Aecus Romani Operarii, Tiberius Julius Aurelius, by raising the scaffold and displaying the Imperial Eagle. With the vocal opposition having been cleared out of the area , the remaining crowd was listening intently to the Fascist speaker.

“The Roman Empire, the greatest and most prestigious nation to ever exist, has been pushed off its rightful place in the theatre of the world. Ever since the betrayal of Diocletian, ceding power to the Greeks, the empire has been on its way into decline. This effective declaration of support for those wanting to leave the empire directly caused the weakness allowing the first barbarian invasions and the lack of power that allowed the recent rebellions against the Empire”.

“Most shameful of all, however, is the barbarian nation to the north of here that has seized control of the empire’s ancient and true capital. This is the perfect symbolism of what the Greek rise has done to us. We have been torn from our Roman roots towards their limited and weak ways. Ways that will, in the fullness of time, be the permanent downfall of the empire. A fate that we are currently on course towards”.

“But not all is lost! We, the Pars Imperium Aecus Romani Operarii, are the guides towards the salvation of the Empire! We will reclaim our lost territory and remove the barbarians! We shall unite the people of Rome into one nation and one culture! We will pursue the removal of the barbarian threat until the future of Rome is completely safeguarded”!

“Gens una, populo una e Vindicta!”

The Pars Imperium Aecus Romani Operarii
“Gens una, populo una e Vindicta!”
One Nation, One People and Revenge!

The Imperial Just Roman Workers’ Party, is dedicated to the rebuilding of the Roman Empire and the establishment of a new Roman culture uniting the people. The party’s roots are from the Romani vi Bonorum, the Roman Loyalist Force. Set up during the Time of Troubles the RvB waged a damaging but unsuccessful guerilla warfare campaign to oppose the Italian rebels. When the Empire made peace with the Italian government, the most radical members of the RvB relocated to southern Italy to create a political party to campaign for the rebuilding of the empire.

Tiberius Julius Aurelius, born Giovanni Romano, was one of the first members of the RvB. Like all members of the RvB, he had taken a Roman name upon his joining the RvB but held it far more important than many others. Quickly rising through the ranks, he was the Tribunus Laticlavius - the RvB ranks are modeled off of the ancient legions - when the peace was signed. Showing far more aptitude for politics than the Lagatus Legionis, Titus Salnonius Hirpinius, he was selected as the leader of the political party.

Currently the Legatus Legionis and the Partium Ducem are of equal power, but the general view among the party and RvB is shifting towards Tiberius instead of Titus.

State Capitalism

Komma Romanitas Autokratorikos (Imperial Romanitas Party)

Ideology: Social Liberal (liberal in-game, not socialist)

Free Trade
Full Citizenship

Chairman: Theodora Anna Doukas

Seeing the awkward situation the Foideratoi was in, Theodora decided to do something about it. After some negotiations with Julius Marco and Miro Taior, the three agreed to combine their factions into one; the Koinonikistai, which had been purged by the communist invaders during the attack on Constantinople, joined in later. As the name “Unified Imperial Citizens” didn’t sound appropriate, she decided on the name Komma Romanitas Autokatorikos, which adequately summarized the new party’s platform. The KRA upholds the ideals of Romanitas and full citizenship for all Romans. It supports Orthodox Christianity as the state religion of the Empire, but it recognizes and respects freedom of religious practice. The KRA is a proponent of free trade and interventionism when it comes to the economy and favors expanding the civil service along meritocratic lines to allow the common people more ability to participate in the government, though it fiercely defends the rights of the monarchy and the nobility as well. When it comes to passing legislation, the KRA will not hesitate to defend workers’ and peoples’ rights, though usually will try to first find compromises with the nobility, the monarchy, and the church. Membership is free and does not require anything other than a strong devotion to the Empire and its ideals.

While the Senate seems eager to take this territory back into the Empire, We worry about that course of action. With Great Britain backing Aquitaine, this might instead lead to another Great War. And even if they rejoined the Empire, what then? They’d be an indefensible enclave, with a majority population of Aquitaine. That would guarantee another Great War, would it not?

We cannot stand he thought of putting the Empire through that again. Nor taking the chance of injuring Ourself again. We must continue to focus on making the Empire strong internally, not belligerently starting new wars.
- The Emperor

In Aeteorea

Nestorius was reading his newspaper when he stumbled upon an article entitled “Liberals and Progressives Unite!”. Curious, he read it and smiled.

“Cyrene, are you busy right now?” he called for her.

“Not yet,” Kyrene referred to how she was about to leave for work, “you need anything?”

“Read this article.”

“Alrighty,” she said as she gave it a read. She clapped her hands in excitement, exclaiming; “Taior has finally hit it big, hasn’t he?”

“And with Theodora and the XKM too! I won’t doubt that Taiorism will be a progressive force to be reckoned with in the future. “

“I only find their military policy a bit concerning, but I guess they have more issues back on the mainland,” she said with a tired laugh. She gave Nestorius a quick kiss on the cheek before leaving for work.


Back at the Senate

After hearing what the Monarchy had to say, Franco finally spoke up on the topic of Le Midi.

“I am in agreeance with that! With its position on the other side of the Pyrenees, it is quite hard to defend, especially as it just… juts into Aquitaine. We already have enough issues with their control of Northeastern Hesperia, allowing them to circumvent our defenses on the Pyrenean border.”

“Julius?” Sarah called out.
“Yes darling?” Julius called back.
He was hunched over a table, with a map of the empire, notes on the wall, and lots of cake crumbs. The man was having a health crisis since the civil war started. He slept less, had sex less, and he didn’t eat pizza on Saturdays anymore.
That was very worrying, as all knew the potent power of pizza.
He also swore more. Now Julius was very lewd, as Sarah had often had her butt smacked when doing daily chores. But this was less cheeky and more…. angry. A broken man, shattered by the actions of ungrateful rebels influenced by the poisonous ideals of madmen.
Of course, he still was friggin hilarious.

But Sarah had something that might get him back to his old self again. Well, she had something this morning. Confirmed by her craving of a extra cheddar cheese sandwich with peanut butter, jam, butter and mayo. With grilled prawns on the side.
“Um, I have something I need to tell you…”
“Did Gabriel break the washing machine again?”
“What? No! Something else…”
Sarah looked into the eyes of the man she fell in love with all those years ago, at the park when they were children.
“Who are you little boy?”
“I’m Julius Marco, and I’m going to be a Senator when I grow up!”
“I’m pregnant.” Sarah stated.
Suddenly, a massive, shit eating grin formed on Julius’s face.
He held her up and yelled at the top of his lungs
It was truly disgustingly cute, Julius kissing his wife all over and she was laughing.
“I love you,” Julie said Nuzzling Sarah’s neck.
“I love you too, you lewd man.” Sarah replied.
“We have to tell everybody!” Julius said.

Gabriel did a victory screech.

1 July 1921


Our waiting to see regarding the Le Midi crisis proved apt when in August 1920 Spanish rebels rose up. While they were quickly defeated, this demonstrated that the Empire was still fractured internally.

We worked to heal these by finalizing the health care reforms in the Empire. As of December, all citizens have full medical care from before birth until death.

But external events kept drawing Our attention from the internal improvements the Empire needs.

Some of it was positive: We were able to use diplomacy to bring Oman into Our sphere of influence.

But some of it was negative: at the end of the year, Germany declared war on Poland-Lithuania to acquire Latvia. With the world spiraling into chaos, We formally agreed to leave Le Midi to Aquitaine.

With the crisis over, We moved the military into a state of partial readiness. Surely peace would prevail. This was not quite enough to stabilize the budget, so we modestly increased taxes on capital and land.

But external events kept coming: the United Tribes of America contributed to the world’s chaos by launching wars to bring Biru and Kanata under their economic control.

And Hedjaz had a rebellion placing one of their generals in power.

But We remained focused on internal affairs: With the navy converted to oil-based ships, We tasked the Imperial Corps of Engineers with developing plans for a system of limited-access roads that would tie the Empire’s cities together for automobiles.

Meanwhile, We authorized a recruitment drive to convince people to help develop the colony in New Guinea.

The limited access roads plans were completed, and We allowed capitalists to begin the initial investment in building this ‘highway’ network.

We then asked the Sociology Department of the University of Constantinople to elucidate the various mass political movements sweeping both the Empire and the rest of the world.

We continued limiting the maximum number of hours that a person could work, and required they be given time to rest and eat a meal. While some businessmen were vocally displeased, this has led to workers being safer and more efficient, so has actually proved a boon to these businessmen.

And of course, there were a great many other improvements and ideas that came during this last year.

Finally, these newspapers were considered significant by the archivists, and the Senate’s world maps are being updated yet again.

Senate Responses

Between the Julies of 1920 and 1921
In Aotearoa

Following the widespread announcement of the formation of the Komma Romanitas Autokratorikos, Exarchess Kyrene Udata Thaddas and Mesazon Manaaki Awerama announced that the Ergatiko Komma Aotearoas (Labour Party of Aotearoa, or EKA for short) would be affiliating itself with the KRA in order to ensure that “both the Empire and the Exarchate would follow in the spirit of progressivism,” choosing not to mention the pluralist and pro-military policies of the KRA and instead concentrating on their free trade and full citizenship policies. Cyrene also publicly congratulated Miro Taior for his success in spreading Romanitas in an active fashion in the absence of Nestorius and achievements he had made politically, commenting “I always had high hopes for my former colleague, and I wish him the best of luck in his continued fight for equality for all.”

Kyrene and Manaaki also made sure to keep relations with the East and Southeast Asian states, especially Japan and China, on good grounds, wanting to make sure that trade with them didn’t stop. And per usual, Kyrene made sure to bring any reforms made by the Empire over to the islands if they hadn’t already.

Whilst Kyrene concentrated on state affairs, Imperial Representative for Aoteorea (and technical Exarch) Nestorius “Ol’ Ness” Thaddas was busy making sure the public was informed on the decisions of the Empire, whilst also doing his usual thing of spreading the goodness of Romanitas. Its usage to refer to a culturally equal society, where everyone was accepted to be Roman, whether they were from Italy, Greece, or Aotearoa, soon led to the development of Romanitism, an egalitarian progressive ideology, on the island, generally considered the ideology of the EKA, taking elements from both liberalism and socialism, whilst leaning closer to the latter.

At the Imperial Representative HQ, things were going smoothly. Savvas Epimonopoulos, whilst not making much use of his theologist skills due to the secular nature of the government, made sure to help those in need in the name of the church. Kojo Onobanjo was usually seen as the leader whenever Nestorius wasn’t at the HQ, ensuring that all the operations were going smoothly. Sudarto Wanggai and Dhaaniel Kurien helped those looking to join the recruitment drive to develop the Imperial colony in Papua, especially after Nestor spoke of it in support in a column he wrote for To Vima (The Tribune). Botros Damji, working with the Berber Ouwalili brothers, Amney and Wimmiden, Egyptian female Mariam Phanos, and Andalusian female Yanduza Belmonte, monitored west of the islands, keeping up with everything going on in the Old World, whilst Scandinavian female Marjatta Rud and American male Ahanu Harjo monitored east of the islands, keeping up with the New World. There was never a dull day at the HQ.

Timon Thaddas, now 9 years of age, approaching 10, was continuing with his education and generally living the life of a kid in the early 1920s. Despite his parents’ status, they insisted on him going to a regular school, which was one of the reasons why Kyrene worked hard to improve education on the islands. They didn’t want him to grow up spoiled, after all. At school, Timon has a small group of friends with which he hangs out with. Life was fine.

In their private lives, Kyrene continued work on a personal project of hers - her journal. Whilst she still used it, she was finally getting ready to adapt parts of it as autobiographic stories, with her first part consisting of her youth, moving to the Empire for work, and her time at the Parthenopean governorship. She and Nestor also visited her family once more, and during their visit, Anahera Waata, mother of Kyrene and her siblings Anaru and Hinewai, passed away in her sleep. A private funeral was held in Waikikamukau, attended by the Thaddai family, the extended Waata family, and close friends of the latter family. Kyrene later offered her siblings an opportunity to have a nicer home elsewhere on the islands, but they refused on the principle of wanting to preserve their childhood home in the memory of their mother. They would however accept her second offer for the Thaddai to pay for the refurbishment of the home.

On May 29th 1921, the Thaddai family got together to take a family picture; Nestorius, 72 years old, Kyrene, some few odd years younger than her husband, and Timon, 9 years old, approaching 10. One question on the minds of some was Nestor’s advanced age - there weren’t many that could inherit the Thaddai estate, which included the senatorial position currently being kept warm by Franco Lazaratos. Most assume that Timon would inherit, but he wasn’t of age yet, and wouldn’t be until his father would be entering his 80s. Kyrene herself wasn’t that young either, soon entering her 70s, meaning that the position of Exarch could see a new face in a decade or so. And Timon himself hadn’t begun thinking of his future yet, and whether or not we wanted to pursue politics. Things were quite uncertain in the Thaddai family.

In Constantinople

At the Constantinopolitan Thaddai estate, the de facto Aotearoan Representative HQ for the time being, nothing much has happened. Franco felt slightly more relaxed now, more confident to speak his own mind than ever, especially after speaking against the Le Midi crisis. Whilst he kept in mind that he was the head representative in Nestor’s seat, he knew he couldn’t just keep quiet anymore. Eudokia Lavigne was critical of his position on Le Midi, but kept quiet after realizing the bias in her opinion.

After news of the pregnancy of Julius Marco’s wife Sarah broke out, the entire HQ sent him a basket filled with goodies, with a message congratulating them on the pregnancy. Franco justified the gift basket by saying that “it was something Nestor surely would’ve done.”

The Cecil Sisters, Carys and Delyth, were going out a lot more than usual. No one knew why that was, and no one really wanted to ask despite being curious, so it fell upon Olena Zhuk to go and ask. When asked, the sisters were glad someone finally did, and told her the whole story - they were dating the pair of young-looking senators they met at Theodora’s party! Nicolaos Alexidas and Lavigne overheard, and joined in the conversation, leading to a 5-way gossip session.

Antiochos Heraklides, meanwhile, along with Alexidas, kept receiving letters from Michail Lykidis and Stefanos Antecheirinidis, referred to as those two buffoons within the HQ, asking for their jobs back. No replies have been sent. In the meantime, Taior visited the estate to see his old friends, spending a nice lunch with Franco, Alexidas, Heraklides and Zhuk.

On May 29th 1921, two new people joined the HQ - the first was Charalambos Tsakonotis, who had been looking for a job in Constantinople. When Franco first met him, he commented on his surname and asked whether or not his family spoke in a Doric-derived tongue. Charalambos said that they did, albeit only at home, explaining that it is the reason for his accent sounding slightly different from the usual Thracian ones. After their meeting, Franco was surprised to find out from him that his family knew Nestorius personally, having lived with them in their youth. Following that revelation, he was hired on the spot and told to come in on the 29th.

The second was a person Franco himself wanted to join, the person he thought about suggesting to Nestorius back when he was given the position he has now back in 1916 - Konstas Pilokalos, a good friend of his from Sicily that he believed was perfect for the job. The only reason he didn’t suggest him at the time was because Konstas’ wife had gotten pregnant, so he didn’t want to take him away from her. However, now was the perfect time for Konstas to join, as the small family had moved to Constantinople away from their semi-rural home, and he was looking for a job.

Charalambos and Konstas were introduced to the group and everyone took a liking to them very quickly, especially the latter since they could relate to his baby stories. The entire HQ had also confirmed their allegiance to the KRA. They did wonder if Nestorius was going to visit Constantinople in the near future, as they would all like to see him, at least one more time.


July 1, 1921

Franco looked somewhat smug after the report on Le Midi. He nodded in approval when he heard about the reforms for work hours, health care and the development of the highway system. However, his slightly smuggish face disappeared when he heard of the wars started by the Americans and Germans, looking confused when he heard the latter ask for Latvia of all things, and of the dictatorship established in Arabia.

As he moved onto the archived newspapers, he first commented on the editorials he saw: “First it was radio that was destroying western civilization, now it is television and jazz! Do these people have nothing better to write about in their editorials?! I swear, if books were becoming a thing, they would say it was destroying western civilization as well! Nestor would disapprove of this.”

He nodded approvingly at the inventions, patents and discoveries mentioned in the papers, before commenting about the literary digest, saying that Charalambos had been recommending Ulysses to him. He wondered what Nestorius would think of Bauhaus architecture, before laughing out loud at the article about Namibia and Meridion fearing the Empire, saying that they had nothing to fear, for the Empire protected them, unaware of whatever was happening in Southern Africa. He commented on the Men’s Dress Reform Party, asking what’s so bad about a good hat, before noticing the article on ‘Aotearoan insults!’… he spoke in an angry tone, as though he tried to restrain himself:

“I am appalled and disgusted that this newspaper allowed this article on Aotearoa to be printed back in January. Why would Aotearoa fear the Empire to such a degree where they would think that the Empire would engage against it militarily? I know that they currently have anti-military sentiments, which is why they might consider our military might frightening, but they understand why we have such a military of this size. If anything, Aotearoa would fear the Chinese due to their position. The only thing I could imagine is that either this unnamed Antipodean source misheard, wherever he heard it from, or he was blatantly spreading misinformation. I really am disappointed in this newspaper and the writer of the article.”

“Who’s bright idea was it to allow somebody to write an editorial denouncing television and jazz?” Theodora said. “Television can be used to educate the masses as bring the words of the Emperor to the furthest reaches of the Empire. Jazz is just another form of music. What’s wrong with it? If I was writing an editorial I would say that editorials are ruining imperial civilization! Also, somebody commend the reporters who chose to speak about velociraptors, bauhaus architecture, Ulysses, and men’s dress reform for writing quality articles. Anybody read Ulysses yet? Quite a good read, I should add.”

She looked out the window again and saw the guy on the pole still sitting there. “Anybody annoyed yet about that pole-sitter? He might be listening in on state secrets.”

Another form of music? I’ve heard that jazz is used as a means of secretly transmitting anti-imperial messages. It’s sole purpose is the downfall of our great civilization to the benefit of the rebel scum. Next thing they’ll devise dance movements to go along with it as a means of conveying messages through body language. Downright treasonous!

They really should speak more about dinosaurs found in imperial lands. I bet any velociraptor discovered in the Empire would have a much more impressive bone structure than the inferior specimen discovered in Mongolia.

- Senator Donatello Favero

Granada, October 1920

Granada came into view on the horizon as Private Diego Andino made his way to his home. His limp, courtesy of a rebel during the war, would had made the walk longer but his joy at being so close to his family helped keep his pace up.

He’d last seen his home in 1916 when he signed up with the army, wanting to loyally serve the empire. He’d fought the nationalists in the north but he’d only heard about the uprising in his home city. Fully intending to sign up again afterwards, he’d decided to not to re-enlist after his term of service so that he could check that his family had not been harmed in the fighting.

It was only as he’d turned around the corner of his street that he heard the shouts and screams. Or saw the smoke.

Before Diego was a scene of destruction – his family home had been set alight by purple uniformed thugs wearing eagle armbands. The flames had already engulfed most of the house, evident from the flames in the upper windows and the smoke billowing out from underneath the barricaded door. By now, the militia had relaxed to watch the house burn, with the only work being done by a private painting something in Latin on the street nearby.

Immediately regretting his decision to wear plain clothing to avoid issues with the nationalists, he sprung into the little action he could do. He was able to make it close enough to injure one of the men with a loose cobble from the street before he’d been beaten down with truncheons.

When the Romani vi Bonorum had cleared the area, the police finally moved in and only found a charred ruin of a house and a man crucified on two burnt beams crudely made into a cross in front of the graffiti “Proditores”. Traitors.

This scene of accused nationalists being lynched by RvB militia became common for the months following the Hispanian rebellion of August. The party was not yet popular enough to supply local troops so most of the men had travelled from the Roman parts of Italy to the province to “punish the rebels for their crimes”.

Whilst Tiberius was travelling between Southern Italy and Greece to campaign for popularity, Lagatus Legionis Titus Salnonius Hirpinius oversaw the RvB operations in Hispania. Whilst his absence from Hispania allowed Tiberius to avoid legal responsibility for what happened, the members of the Romani vi Bonorum drifted towards support of Titus.