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1906: Alternative Divergence [AH][IC-OPEN]

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1906: Alternative Divergence [AH][IC-OPEN]

Postby Alt Div Admin » Sat Apr 27, 2019 9:59 am

1906 : Alternative Divergence

IC THREAD


[CURRENT ANNOUNCEMENTS]





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“Men make History, but not at the time he wishes.”

– Karl Marx__________________________________


But for the sake of argument, what if we could?

Be it a point of divergence or a whole new nation, what if we could make history EXACTLY at the point that we wish?





Hello and welcome to Another Alternative Divergence, an AH/AW RP where the world is your oyster to do whatever you wish. For the sake of continuity, the time now is 1906 C.E., and nations are expanding in a world not quite yet sobered by war for annihilation. What would be your vision of a world shaped by the nation that you call your own?





House rules for dispute settlement


If it is not on the app or prior post, it isn’t real
Don’t make wild assumptions if there wasn’t a prior “claims” to your fame.

Uniqueness = strength
Not saying that you should throw ducks at people and call it unique, but clever tactics would be awarded… and Iranian style of “million men army” and American style of “I throw my money at problems and things go away” will be punished. We are here to RP, not play a game of Risk, right?

Timeskips are announced by OP
The OP will decide the CURRENT year of the IC post. This will be updated in yearly intervals.

Assume IRL unless otherwise
We have A LOT of historical paradoxes… don’t mind the elephant in the room. Unless it is app played by RPer, all NPC nations have IRL values unless changed by the players. Similarly, all histories are also IRL unless changed… which by this time around probably has been fudged in every twist and turns.

Annexing Rule
  • If no RP-nation exists, assume IRL history at earliest possible point (i.e. Since Ottomans did not exist, Egypt would have to follow post-Napoleon Mamulks or something of that nature). Questions on this can be asked to OP for more direction.
  • When attacking NPC nation without anyone's intervention, quote the post to any OPs after 1 page of occupation.
    • you can claim up to five (5) provinces at once in this way
    • Should you be challenged before 1 page has passed, standard procedure for war and negotiations begins.
  • After 1 page of waiting, contact the OP (or OP just sees you sitting with your soldiers) and it is yours for the rest of the RP until otherwise.

RP Battles
Few things to keep in mind for fighting with another RPers.
  • In all seriousness, battles should be planned rather than spontaneous. However, there is no reason to not have spontaneous battles.
  • Tactics > Troop size. This applies regardless of size difference.
  • Admitting defeat will stack in your favor. There is a list, and we check them twice.

Firstly... unless it is a predetermined war over OOC as to who will win or lose... the OP board will be deciding who wins and who loses

That being said... here are factors that will determine who wins and who loses.

This is in the order of significance... with 1 being the primary factor to 5 being less important factor.
  1. Diplomacy: Alliance = Less Attrition. Your supply lines are better established, your troops have morale boost since there is a friend in the battlefields, and your navy isn't as taxed covering ALL your colonies. IRL principle goes here. More participants would mean better war.
  2. Military Strength/Weaknesses: I believe I have told EVERYONE that this is important, right? Well... I have been making a separate, off-line resource of everyone's military strengths and weaknesses when you make apps. The system will work like this: how you use your strength to your advantage and how you cover your weaknesses would put points to realism, and therefore earning my bias on the ruling. Now... for those who were jerks and didn't give me all too much information to work with, or have given me only numbers... you have an uphill battle against those who have MOUNTAIN of information ^^;;;
  3. Previous Precedence: This is for fairness. If you lost a war/battle before, those points will be stacked towards your advantage. Therefore, a clever tactician can lose smaller battles to win points for a decisive battle that is to come. Similarly, a clever tactician can gobble up as much victory as possible, then make peace before "going bust." this aspect is also part of IRL wars after all, so I thought it should be involved... plus it makes everything kind of more fair ^^
  4. Quality of Post: As I have been singing on about for quite a bit... quality = epic-win. Of course... quantity does not mean quality, so be careful not to overwrite when a few well-placed sentences would do. The quality I am referring to is how clever your tactics are... how you use your terrain, alliances, your own military, etc. to your advantage. Those who essentially "A-move," to quote a RTS terms, will be penalized.
  5. Great Person: Basically your special generals and admirals. The event is already under way to give you that special someone, and it will only increase as many events comes. If these people are active in your IC posts (and not whipped out JUST for the war), then you will get advantage for having them participate in the battle. They are your aces, and they should have a lot of background surrounding them... which can be earned through your IC posts (ESPECIALLY DURING EVENTS). They will win battles, so please raise them with care ^^


Dreadnaught Rules
  • No nation starts with a Dreadnaught, but any nation with “semi-industrialized” or “modern” has all the necessary technologies to RP a production of one.
  • All Dreadnaughts will be recorded and noted by the OP Board. Ones that are not on the list is considered not to exist.
    • It is the responsibility of an RPer to notify the OPs when you have finished a development post of one to be judged by the Board
  • Naval engagements with Dreadnaughts have special rules
    • In the RP posts of similar quality, the navy with the Dreadnaughts will always win.
    • In the RP posts of similar quality, the navy with the Dreadnaught will always sack unprotected port
    • If the Dreadnaught fights another Dreadnaughts or fortified ports, there is a chance (determined by random number generator) that the Dreadnaught may be heavily damaged.
    • OP Board reserves the right to punish those who “throw Dreadnaughts at the problem” and reduce the quality of the RP overall to destroy the Dreadnaughts
    • A nation cannot field a Dreadnaught if the said Dreadnaught was damaged and cannot be repaired.
    • It is assumed that a loss of a Dreadnaught will cause severe morale loss to the country.
  • Dreadnaughts will, over time, gather notoriety and fame. This will be kept by the OP Board much the same way that Great Persons are kept.



Current Events - Updated 2019-00-00
[url=####][EVENT #0] – Filler Space[/url] [Completed]
Last edited by Alt Div Admin on Thu May 23, 2019 12:30 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Postby Alt Div Admin » Sat Apr 27, 2019 9:59 am

Accepted Nations - Updated 2019-04-28

Current Treaties and Alliances - Updated 2019-00-00

Recognized Great Persons - Updated 2018-00-00

Great Admirals are leaders of nation's navies. The higher the level of Great Admiral, the greater influence he or she will have in the field of battle just by his or her very presence.
Last edited by Alt Div Admin on Sat Apr 27, 2019 10:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Alt Div Admin » Sat Apr 27, 2019 9:59 am

Current Events in Progress - Updated 2017-09-07

N//A

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Postby Alt Div Admin » Sat Apr 27, 2019 10:00 am

[reserved... why is this account "inoffensive centrist democracy"? Should be "Corporate Bordello"]

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Reverend Norv
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New York Times Democracy

Postby Reverend Norv » Sun Apr 28, 2019 7:09 pm

January 1
Chancellerie de la République
Paris, Commonwealth of France


Joseph Beaulieu brought the bottle: a dusty liter of Calvados from his father's small farm in Normandy. In an elegant pale blue room, adorned with landscape paintings of various regions of France, the foreign minister poured each member of the Commonwealth's cabinet a dram of the apple brandy. When he was finished, Beaulieu hoisted his glass, and the other ministers followed suit. "Monsieur the chancellor?"

Paul-Henri Maturin stood: a man of average height, with the trim build and clean shave and close-cropped grey hair of a true French Puritan - or a true French soldier. "Another year in power gone by, gentlemen. God be praised for it." A murmur of pious agreement ran through the room.

"He has been good to us this year." Maturin nodded to Bruno Cloutier. "I have on my desk a report from our Minister of Agriculture showing that the new industrial fertilizers have increased wine production in the Rhone by almost fourteen percent. That's enough to get half of Russia quite tipsy." A chuckle, and Maturin turned to Déodat Bonnet and Géraud Faure. "Our Ministers of Justice and Labor brought the country a negotiated solution to the shipbuilders' strike in Toulon, preserving both the solvency of Lachapelle Industries and the skilled labor necessary to maintain our battleships."

"Not to mention old Fortier's seat in Parliament," added Faure gruffly. Maturin paused for another chuckle before going on.

"Messieurs Beaulieu and Lefèvre have kept us out of war for another year," the chancellor continued. Beaulieu smiled, and the War Minister Bernat Lefèvre gave a sober nod. "I'm told that the General Staff tested counters to Avar cavalry tactics in last summer's wargames, with great success," Maturin noted. "And Monsieur Beaulieu has great plans for strengthening our ties with the republics of the New World in this coming year." The chancellor raised an eyebrow. "Though it seems that the greatest army on Earth still hasn't found a way to stop a pack of Touareg bandits from raiding the Trans-Saharan Railroad."

Lefèvre glanced at Hector Neuville. "If the Minister for Greater France could tell me where to find the rascals, I can assure your Excellency that they would already be dealt with."

Neuville smiled sweetly. "And if I possessed a crystal ball that could scry the entire Sahara, I can assure your Excellency that Monsieur Lefèvre would be the first to know." Beaulieu rolled his eyes at Maturin over his Calvados.

"And finally," the chancellor concluded with a warning glance at both ministers, "at home, the Treasury records a surplus - however modest - for the third year in a row." Treasury Minister Jean Perrault gave a satisfied smile at that. "Thanks to Monsieur Marchand and the Ministry of Education, more of our young people are graduating from public high school than ever before, with the organizational and mathematical skills that they will need to succeed in our new industrial century. And yesterday, to ring in the new year, Monsieur Romilley sang the psalms of our Lord with twelve thousand people on the Ile de la Cité. My friend, the Ministry of Culture has outdone itself." Jacques Romilley ducked his head with a shy grin.

"It is easy, I know, for all of us to keep our eyes so fixed upon our own labors that we miss the work of our fellows in this government." Maturin's green eyes moved around the room. "But at the dawn of this new year, I want to remind all of you of what we have all accomplished - all of us together. Remember that as we face these elections in October: together, we are capable of so much. And we still have so much more left to do."

Géraud Faure grunted his approval. Bernat Lefèvre nodded thoughtfully. Joseph Beaulieu smiled gently at Maturin. "My brandy's getting warm," he quipped. "The toasts, Monsieur Chancellor?"

"Ah." Maturin chuckled. "Yes, of course. We drink our three toasts. Monsieur Beaulieu?"

The foreign minister cleared his throat. "To the New Year!"

"Soli deo gloria," the ministers intoned. Outside the window, a few flakes of snow drifted down toward the Parisian streets. The Calvados was warm as it coursed down each man's throat, and the bottle moved quickly to refill the glasses.

"To the Reformed Party!" barked Géraud Faure.

"Semper reformanda!" called back the ministers. The bottle made its rounds again to refill the now-empty glasses.

"And to the Commonwealth," concluded Paul-Henri Maturin.

"Soit fait sa volonté!"" replied the Council of Ministers. The words were the motto of the Commonwealth, its warcry in battle, the deepest expression of the French Reformed soul: His Will be done.

And then the Commonwealth's leaders retired to their modest offices, to read reports and write memoranda and carry on all the other business of running a modern bureaucracy for a modern state. For the march of progress waits for no man, and the year was young, and there was much still to be done.

* * *


January 2
Lachapelle Industries Shipyard
Toulon, Commonwealth of France


Pierre Macon was on his way home from his shift at the shipyard when he first met Lucien Gagnon. That, at least, is what he would always tell his grandchildren. In reality, of course, he was on his way to the bar for a well-deserved glass of red wine or three with his union mates. And Gagnon, possessing even then the political instincts of an old professional, had set up on the street corner just outside the bar, where a grimy crowd of shipbuilders had gathered to stare curiously at the pale young man in the shabby grey suit, with one thick lock of dark hair blown over his forehead in the wintry sea breeze.

"And every year!" Gagnon was shouting in that clear, bell-like voice of his, "every year, the Reformed Party comes back to Toulon, and Claude Fortier comes back to Toulon, and he tells us that there is no money in the budget for the Navy, that no new ships can be built, that all the money must go to the Army that already takes our sons every summer and marches them in circles to train for the next war against the Spanish or the Germans or the Romans, and for what?" The young man spread his palms. "For stagnant wages? For hiring freezes, so that the sons of this city will have to leave for Paris or Lyon or the General Staff to find a living? What have Fortier and his cronies done for Toulon?"

There were a few murmurs of agreement, and then a gravelly voice barked: "I'll tell you what they've done for Toulon, you little company shit." Matthéo Duval, the treasurer of the Shipbuilders' Local 219 - Pierre Macon's union - shouldered forward through the crowd. He was a short man, thickset and glowering with righteous fury. "Thirty-five years ago, when this union had to strike just for the right to exist, you and the company and the Commonwealth Party wanted to clear us out of the shipyard with grapeshot, and it was Claude Fortier who stood in front of us and dared the gendarmes to shoot down a member of the Parliament." Several of the older shipbuilders nodded. "And just last year," Duval continued, "when the company refused to pay survivors' benefits to Madame Travert and her boys, it was Claude Fortier who stood with us again and forced them to cough up." Duval shook his head. "This may be a Navy town, Monsieur, but it's a union town first. We have no use for your sort."

Pierre nodded approvingly. Lucien Gagnon shook his head with an easy smile. "Monsieur," he replied, "thirty-five years ago, I wasn't born. I may be an engineer for Lachapelle, but I am still a child of the new Toulon, a child of the unions. And you and I both know that unless the Navy builds more ships, there will be no more jobs here."

"Fortier and the Reformed Party are selling themselves to you as a solution to the problems that they themselves have caused," the young man continued. "The company is short on money for salaries and benefits because there are no new ship contracts, because all the money goes to the Army. That's the reality." Gagnon shook his head again. "Friends, I don't want to go back to the bad old days, and I know that Claude Fortier did this town honorable service - but he did it thirty-five years ago. I'm running for Parliament because I want to represent Toulon's future, not our past. And without more naval contracts, and the jobs they bring, we aren't going to have much of a future."

"So what would you do?" The words were out before Pierre could think to question them. Matthéo Duval glared over his shoulder at the young man, and Pierre quailed a little, but there was no going back: in for a centime, in for a franc. He squared his shoulders. "If we elect you, Monsieur - if we throw out Claude Fortier, after God knows how many years - what would you do for the future of Toulon?"

Gagnon smiled - a touch triumphantly, Pierre noticed even at the time. "Well, Monsieur, I am an engineer. I would bring to the floor of the Parliament not just a bill, but a ship design. A new battleship, the first in six years. With ten twelve-inch guns."

A ripple of scornful laughter ran through the crowd of shipbuilders. "An all-big-gun battleship, Monsieur?" Duval chuckled. "Can you imagine the price?"

"Considerable," Gagnon replied dryly. "Still more considerable, I will say, considering that it will be driven by a modern oil-powered turbine, not a pack of leaky expansion cylinders." The young man raised his eyebrows. "The very latest technology, Messieurs. Technology that will require thousands of men - maybe tens of thousands - to produce. Men with the finest training and the best experience. And the highest salaries."

A thoughtful hush had fallen over the crowd of shipbuilders. Even Matthéo Duval was scratching the grey stubble on his jaw. Gagnon pushed his hair back off his forehead, and took a sheaf of papers from under his arm. "This, Messieurs, is the future of Toulon: a new generation of union jobs for our shipyards. Send me to Parliament, and I will secure the funds to make it a reality."

The sound of Pierre's palms slapping together surprised even him. Matthéo Duval looked sharply over his shoulder again, and Pierre saw emotions flicker over the older man's face in astonishingly swift succession: irritation, reluctance, resignation. And then one that surprised even Pierre.

Hope.

Duval let out a sigh, and brought his own hands together. And with that, the dam broke, and the applause rolled through the crowd in a tidal wave, so that men came stumbling out of the bar with their wine glasses in hand to see what all the fuss was about, and Lucien Gagnon brandished his papers and grinned like a schoolboy. And Pierre Macon knew then and there that Gagnon would win the election - and that afterwards, nothing would ever be the same.

That, in any case, was the story he would tell his grandchildren.
For really, I think that the poorest he that is in England hath a life to live as the greatest he. And therefore truly, Sir, I think it's clear that every man that is to live under a Government ought first by his own consent to put himself under that Government. And I do think that the poorest man in England is not at all bound in a strict sense to that Government that he hath not had a voice to put himself under.
Col. Thomas Rainsborough, Putney Debates, 1647

A God who let us prove His existence would be an idol.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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Pasong Tirad
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Postby Pasong Tirad » Wed May 01, 2019 6:49 pm

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The Great Metropolis Part 1
A Barn Without Cattle


Addis Ababa used to be a sleepy rural backwater in the middle of the Kingdom of Shewa, one of the several constituent kingdoms that form the Ethiopian Empire. Empress Zewditu remembers coming to the site of the now-glorious capital of the empire as a child. Her step-mother, Taytu Betul, had chosen this site from where Menelik II could found a new capital. It was nothing more than rocks and several huts for miles around. Nearly twenty years later, and it has grown into perhaps the greatest city in all of the Horn, with close to a million people living in it. Zewditu was in her carriage, flanked by her Imperial Guard, waving at passersby in the streets of Addis Ababa as they craned their necks to get a good look at their Atse, the Queen of Kings. She was heading back to the Imperial Palace after the opening ceremony of a new Imperial Mint, and attending mass at St. George's Cathedral, where she was crowned four years ago.

Her carriage and imperial escort were passing through one of the new wide western-style avenues this centrally-planned city had when she could suddenly see from the window of her carriage the black, grimy smoke that came from factories. She took out her handkerchief to cover her nose and mouth and closed her windows - or at least, draped the curtains over them, as they weren't made of glass. Factories were now becoming more and more common in Addis Ababa, as many merchants, Ethiopian and European alike, are now setting up shop to make one thing or another to help further develop an evolving export economy in Ethiopia. In the outskirts of Addis Ababa was the Imperial Addis Ababa Armory. While large and staffed with hundreds - perhaps even breaching a thousand - workers, the Imperial Armory has a lot of responsibilities, as the whole burden of modernizing the aged Imperial Ethiopian Army rests on their backs. One single armory is producing weapons for all of Ethiopia. Still, it was progress, Empress Zewditu thought. In a few years time, she believes that every man may be given a firearm of their own to defend themselves and the Horn. Hopefully. The Kantiba, the Lord-Mayor of Addis Ababa, has been very vocal about ordinary men owning firearms, as it saves the city a lot of money that it is currently spending on policing.

Her carriage rode on, past the factories, and now into a more residential part of Addis Ababa. This part of town was more upscale than the factories she had just rode through, and just past these residential homes and buildings was the Imperial Palace her father had built. Something was amiss, however, as a small crowd of people were beginning to gather in a street corner. In the center of it all was a European-dressed man standing on a box and speaking in Amharic. He was citing verses from the Bible. "A preacher," Zewditu said. She opened her window and called for one of her guards riding a horse to keep up with the carriage. "Who are those men?"

"Guildsmen, your majesty," the guard answered, looking at the crowd with suspicion.

"Guildsmen? I wasn't aware we had guilds in Addis Ababa." The preacher stopped talking as he caught sight of the Imperial carriage. He bowed from atop his platform, and the small crowd did the same. Zewditu rapped on the roof of the carriage, signalling the driver to stop.

"They don't call themselves guildsmen, your majesty. They refer to themselves as, uh... trade congressmen, I believe."

Zewditu took this in for a few seconds, looking at the growing crowd that was staring in awe at the empress in her carriage. "Call that preacher over, will you?"

"Yes, your majesty," said the guard, who then trotted off on his horse to the direction of the crowd. He didn't need to say anything for the preacher to come off his box and make his way to the empress.

He stood in front of the carriage door and bowed low. "Your majesty," he said in a low, booming voice as he rose up from his bow. "It is an honor to be in your presence."

"What is your name?" Zewditu asked, looking the man over from head to toe. He looked to be a full foot taller than her and around her age as well, if not a few years older. His European suit was offset by his traditional kuta, its white cloth wrapping itself neatly on his head to keep him warm.

"Makonnen Alemayehu. At your service, your majesty," he said, bowing his head slightly.

"And you are a priest of the church?"

"No, your majesty," he answered with a smile. He knew what he looked like in that street corner.

"But you act like a preacher" Zewditu said, with a quizzical look, looking over to the throng of people who just recently were wholly captivated by whatever was coming out of Makonnen's mouth. She couldn't understand what he was saying herself, but she could read the nods and low cheers of the people around him. "Were you preaching to them?"

"In a manner of speaking, your majesty."

"What are you telling these fine folk, then?"

"Merely the value God places on good, honest labor, your majesty," he said with another smile. He put his hands behind his back and stood tall like a soldier addressing a superior officer.

"Ah," Zewditu said after a moment. "Very well then. Don't let me keep you from your flock, off you go-"

"If it pleases her majesty," Makonnen said, interrupting her. Nobody ever interrupted the empress, but she let it slide as she could not get a word in. "If it pleases her majesty, I would like to make a petition, since I don't know when I will have the pleasure of another audience with you."

Zewditu paused for a moment, looking at the man. He was brave, she'll give him that. "Do we have the time?" she asked her guard, who shook his head.

"You have a meeting with the Reise Mekwanint, your majesty."

"Please, your majesty, it will only take a moment of your time." Makonnen put his hand on the window of the carriage, at which point the guard behind him half-drew his shotel sword from its scabbard menacingly, forcing the man to withdraw a few paces and bow. "My petition is of an urgent concern, your majesty, and I believe it will benefit you to hear it."

Zewditu considered this for a moment, and then opened her carriage door. "I hope you don't mind a trip away from this following you have gathered," she said. She saw the look of disbelief in her guardsman's face and added to him: "Oh if you're going to sulk at this breach of protocol then come in here and protect me then, why don't you?" She was running out of patience. She had a long day ahead of her, and the noon sun was warming up Addis Ababa despite the winter weather. Makonnen Alemayehu and the guardsman both filed into the carriage. It was roomy enough for a few more people, if they so desired. The guardsman's horse was taken by another guard, and Zewditu rapped on the roof of the carriage to urge the convoy along.

"Now, what is it?" she said, turning to Makonnen with a slight air of annoyance. None of this was normal, and it would be better for her to put him off now and be done with it.

"Well," Makonnen began, a bit more nervously than when he was speaking to the public from across the street. "As you may know, your majesty, through the wise policies of yourself and of your father, the late great Menelik the second, industry has finally come to Addis Ababa, and it has come with a loud bang." He hit his fist with the palm of his hand for emphasis. "This has brought with it both prosperity, and complications, however."

"Complications?" Zewditu asked, curious.

"Yes, your majesty." Makonnen shifted in his seat. He was still uncomfortable. "Thousands upon thousands of people are now employed in many different kinds of factories all across this growing, modern metropolis. Cotton mills, factories making furniture, whole companies of men tasked with laying down new railroads, and the nobles of Shewa converting their lands from private fiefs into modern corporations. I myself am employed as middle management in the Imperial Armory right here in Addis Ababa. It is a great boon to Ethiopia that many men find themselves with good, honest work - but it is not totally beneficial to the common man, your majesty."

"Whatever do you mean? They are employed, are they not?"

"Well, yes-"

"And that employment feeds them, does it not?"

"Yes-"

"And they get to survive with the wages they are given-"

"Yes, but it is not enough, your majesty!" Makonnen practically blurted this out in frustration. He stopped himself from speaking for a second to compose himself. Zewditu looked at him and then at her guardsman, shock etched across her face.

"I am your Atse, sir," she said, with emphasis, pointing her finger at the trade congressman. "You were given exceptional liberty in this untoward meeting with your Atse."

"Shall I throw him out, your majesty?" the guardsman asked, cracking his knuckles.

After a while, Zewditu responded: "No. Well? Continue."

"A thousand apologies, your majesty," Makonnen said, bowing his head. He paused for a moment, looking his empress straight in the eye. "It is not enough that the people have work that they can survive on. There should be... uh... dignity in the work, your majesty."

"Dignity? You speak to me of dignity?" They were passing the residential areas now, and moving on to the more open fields and lightly wooded area that surrounds the Imperial Palace. Fewer trees surrounding the palace itself meant that it would be difficult to storm it.

"The men of these factories work all day in harsh conditions, usually from sunrise to sundown, with only a short break for a cheap meal at noon, and then they have little to look forward to once they return to their homes. Many of us even work all week save for Sundays. And even then, we barely make enough to feed ourselves, let alone our entire families."

Zewditu looked the man up and down again, noticing that the European suit he wore must have cost him. "You don't look like you're struggling to feed yourself."

"No, your majesty," he said, a smile coming back up to his face again, "but I speak for many who are not in the same position that I am."

"Well what is it that you want, exactly?"

Makonnen leaned forward. "The common Ethiopian man is represented in Her Majesty's government through the Mekwanint, but many of these positions still do not go to the common laborer, your majesty. They go to landed men of means who can afford expensive political campaigns, men who have great connections that can reach out for them to garner votes. Disennobled men of means, yes, but they hardly represent the common man when they grew up not as the commons grow up but as the princes do. Your own Reise Mekwanint Dinagde was stripped of his titles in order to serve in the Mekwanint. He is with the commons, yes, but he would never be considered by any laborer to be... of the commons."

Zewditu considered this. Makonnen himself paused for a few seconds to let this information sink in to his empress. "Your Mesafint has representation for the nobles and the elites of the land, as they should. They are a balancing force against the powers of the Mekwanint. And it is also staffed with the many peoples of your land. I myself am Amhara, your majesty, and voted in the election of which Amhara man to send to the Mesafint. Even the leaders of the many faiths of the empire are represented in this Council."

"And I suppose you would ask me to offer you and your fellow... congressmen a place in my Mesafint?"

Makonnen smiled, and then shook his head. "Quite the opposite, your majesty. But we do ask that a dedicated number of seats for trade congressmen in the Mekwanint should be allotted to us laborers of Addis Ababa."

"Just Addis Ababa?" Zewditu asked, puzzled once more at the striking specificity of his queries.

"Addis Ababa is the imperial capital, your majesty. It has no representation whatsoever. Not even the imperial provinces that make up the Kingdom of Shewa get representation, save for the Reise Mekwanint himself. However, a large portion of the population that lives within Addis Ababa is employed in many of these factories, and an even bigger percentage of the population of the capital will be employed in a factory in the years to come as soon as the dozens of factories currently under construction begin to open. Give us seats in the Mekwanint, your majesty. Let the common man be represented for once."

"The common man already has seats in my government, Makonnen," Zewditu responded. She didn't seem to understand Makonnen's point.

"Not in Addis Ababa, your majesty, as I have said," was his response. "Kantiba Goshu does great work, your majesty, but he does not sit in your government."

"He should," Zewditu said, nodding in agreement to Makonnen. "But would the Kantiba sitting in my government be enough for your... for your lot?" Zewditu hesitated, as she was unsure who exactly Makonnen represented.

"It would go a long way, your majesty," said Makonnen, "but the Kantiba himself is merely appointed by yourself. The common people of Addis Ababa need a voice that will understand what the regular man needs. We can only go so long without being unheard before we would - begging your pardon - shout a little louder, if you will."

This was a threat, but Zewditu did not seem to comprehend that it was a threat, veiled as it was in that way. She paused. She looked out of her carriage window to see the green fields that surrounded her palace. People were lounging around in the green fields, having a picnic, taking a stroll, and running around with their children and their dogs. It looked positively European from her perspective - which was a good thing. In that flock of people in her "park," there were several European men and women as well, no doubt business owners who have come to invest in Addis Ababa. "I suppose," she began, "that a few seats in the Mekwanint for the tradesmen of Addis Ababa shouldn't hurt, especially if it would benefit the people."

"It would, your majesty," Makonnen said with a grin. His petition was being accepted and he could hardly believe it. "Thank-"

"Publicly," Zewditu started, cutting him off, "I will have to reject your petition." His smile faded. "If people knew about this then they would know that the only thing they need to do in order to get their demands met by the ruler of the Horn is to stop my carriage as I travel through my city." She rapped on the roof of her carriage. "If people ask me about this I will disavow all knowledge of being sympathetic to your concerns. The Queen of Kings cannot be moved by the everyday concerns of the commons. But... come by the palace in a week. I shall raise your concern with my advisers and with the Reise Mekwanint personally and see what can be done." She opened the door of her carriage. "This is where I will have to unceremoniously evict you from my carriage, in front of all these people. Good day."

And before Makonnen could get a word in, the guardsman left the carriage, dragging the trade congressman by the cuff of his no-doubt expensive European suit.

"When we return to the palace, please inform the Tsehafi Taezaz that I want to know everything about these... what did he call it? Guilds, or trade congresses, or what have you," Zewditu said, closing the curtains of her window and rapping on the roof of the carriage once more.

A group of men in one of the new European-style café's that have popped up in the more upper-class areas of Addis Ababa were chatting with themselves when Makonnen Alemayehu arrived, adjusting his kuta and patting his face and neck with a handkerchief. He was visibly sweating despite the winter weather. They immediately offered the man a seat at the table and a drink. "Well, what happened to you?" a man asked before Makonnen could even begin to relax.

"I met with the Atse," Makonnen replied. There was a stunned silence in the table, and then one man told him to keep his voice down lest the other people in the café hear them.

"And?"

"She was... sympathetic, at least. I gave her my - no, our petition. I threatened her a little, too, but I don't think she understood that it was a threat. She told me she will consult with her people, and that I should come by the palace next week, presumably to hear her answer myself."

"That's wonderful news!" one of the men said. He was puffing on a tobacco pipe as he said this. "We have allies!"

"Potential allies," Makonnen barked back. "We would still need to look outside Addis Ababa for assistance, if things go sour."

"What do you have in mind?" another man asked.

Makonnen regained his composure now. He knew who he was now among these men. He was their leader, he was speaking to his men now, and not the empress of Ethiopia. No formal union was formed for the Imperial Armory, because an actual trade congress would have been suppressed from the beginning. But if there were a trade congress for the laborers of the Imperial Armory of Addis Ababa, he would be its leadership and they would be his staff. "Well," he began, "our goal, of course, is to get a lot of support. An overwhelming amount of support. We can get plenty of support from Addis Ababa, but our organization in Addis Ababa cannot survive without help from the rest of Shewa."

"Farmers and herders?" a man asked with a chuckle. "You want us to ally with farmers and herders? What can they do for us?"

"They can feed us, you moron," another man said, eliciting several laughs from the table. "We shall do it, Makonnen. We'll reach out to our contacts and try to create alliances with farming communities."

"Be sure their landlords don't hear about any of this," Makonnen said, to which the man nodded. "We don't want blood to be spilled unnecessarily on our behalf. But he's also right, in a way. Allying Addis Ababa's tradesmen with Shewan farmers and herders won't be enough if things don't go our way. Once we have enough support here in Addis Ababa in Shewa, we shall begin to look outside if it is necessary."

"Where will we look?"

"Well," Makonnen began, sipping his coffee, "which other country in the world has common laborers represented in their government?" All of the expressions of the men around the table widened with excitement at this realization. "We shall look to Europe, and perhaps even the Americas, once we have something to show them. A few... clandestine meetings here and there, and one day we might be prying open some crates loaded with the latest rifles from France, and getting advisers down here on how to use them for an uprising."

"But this is all a contingency, of course?" a man said, rightfully wary of possible conflict. They did just come out of a bloody civil war a few years ago. A lot of them, Makonnen included, had even served in it. "We will do this if no other option is available to us? If the Atse approves-"

"If she approves of my petition wholeheartedly," Makonnen said, cutting the man off, "then we shall have no problems, and whatever support we get will go only to arming the common man against possible oppression. The last thing we want is a massive uprising so soon after our last war. No, this shall only be done as a last resort." The other men at the table nodded in agreement, several even sighing audibly. They were wary of war, and rightfully so, as the last one caused a small famine, and hundreds of thousands of deaths.

"If she refuses... well, as the Lord himself once said, we have come here not to bring peace, but to bring a sword. We fight against injustice, brothers. Injustice against factory bosses who seek to take away our dignity, European or Ethiopian, it doesn't matter, a bad boss is a bad boss. We do not fight against the Atse for we are loyal sons of the Horn, we fight against the lack of a voice for the commons. They will have to hear our voice, one way or another. I'd rather it be the peaceful way."
"If there is no friendship with them [the poor] and no sharing of the life of the poor, then there is no authentic commitment to liberation, because love exists only among equals."
- Gustavo Gutiérrez
Filipino|Catholic Liberationist|Leftist|He/Him|Bisexual|Trans Rights
North and East Syria|Taiwan|Hong Kong|Autonomous Cordillera|Zapatistas|Assyria


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The Felan Federation
Chargé d'Affaires
 
Posts: 447
Founded: Aug 01, 2013
Mother Knows Best State

Postby The Felan Federation » Sat May 04, 2019 11:00 am

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Kingdom of Sweden





In the Stockholm Palace, King Adolph V was fulfilling his duty to the Great Kingdom of Sweden - as designated in the Constitution of 1720, namely his job was the review and either approving or declining of several pieces of laws and legislature that been brought to his desk by the Royal Secretary:

Farmer-Surplus Purchase Act

The notion that still permeated every facet of Swedish society was that the nation and people came before everything - piety, austerity and responsibility, as decreed by the Church of Sweden. In a way, while the rest of the world started to follow the notion of 'free trade' - Swedish society still was in a way mercantile in their economic and trade beliefs. While in theory things could work well - 'perfect' what you are good at, 'purchase' the rest from other avenues. It was a notion that had enriched many societies that had embraced the concept.

Although, the Committee of Trade and Finance report had found - that while worth as an idea, it had one major weakness. Namely it forced one to compete on the global market against other players - in such a sense, Sweden could not in any shape or form match the agricultural production of the Rus, the industrial might of the Germans, or try to out-perform the French in manufacturing itself. The report detailed, that far from gaining anything - the Kingdom of Sweden would be forced to export almost everything they required. Due to the fact, they lacked both the manpower and capital to compete with the other European powers.

Thus Sweden was one of the few powers to still follow the Mercantilist System - that had high tariffs, a strong currency reserve and encouraging many to work. Granted a few things had been changed to better suit Sweden and not make it too isolationist, known as 'Swedish Mercantilism' - which added the caveat of state-support, promoting research in industrial and manufacturing sector, approving of high wages for a higher consumer market at home.

The Farmer-Surplus Purchase Act was on such piece - as exports meant that farmers often had to produce more than might be expected, yet sometimes they wouldn't be able to sell it all. Thus this act was meant to have the government purchase the leftover agriculture produce for later use in either the Armed Forces or stockpiled for future use.

APPROVED

--

Naval Investment Act

The Kingdom had always been a naval power, ever since Sweden had broken away from the Kalmar Union - then later had turned the tables on the Danish and eventually ending up with their entire culture being absorbed into Sweden instead. Although one of the biggest reasons was dominance over the Baltic Sea - which many in both the Court and the Riksdag saw as their sovereign right. Almost similar to the French deeming themselves the only one right in the religious argument and anyone else considered heathens and heretics.

Despite being the strongest force in Baltic compared to the Rus or the Polish-Lithuanians - there was already new ideas spreading across the tides. As ships both huge and tiny were being debated and theorized about - vessels that would be armed with the largest cannons on Earth and protected by tons of steel and iron. Granted, such an undertaking would cost a fortune.

There was also another aspect, more suited to the Swedish mindset - the concept of submarines. Small vessels below the tides, yet armed with armaments that could sink any ship without being spotted at all. Such a vessel would prove most useful and within the budget of the Swedish Treasury - even if many were more enamored by the fantasy of having a great flagship that would make Poseidon itself blush in envy.

APPROVED

--

Colonial Investment Act

The colonies of Gustavia and New Sweden - those were the two prides of the Kingdom. Proof of concept that Sweden still remained a force in Europe to be respected, even though many had hope, that the Swedish Neutrality that had been upheld for two centuries would continue on. Given that Sweden had to traverse through many waters controlled by other European powers to reach their colonial holdings. While Sweden controlled both the Eider Canal and the Skagerrak Strait - it didn't have complete dominance over the Atlantic, as there was only so much the people were willing to be taxed and how many sons would they be willing to offer into the Navy and Army.

This was one of the reasons, where Sweden attempted to keep up good or at least neutral relationships with everyone - a stable Sweden meant more trade and more revenue, alongside better access to their own colonies. Colonies of only two yet which had great potential - Sweden was rather 'enlightened' in it's form of colonization or as some might say 'pragmatic' instead.

The Kingdom followed a policy coined as the 'Great Family Policy or the Goodneighbor Policy - that saw Sweden and it's colonies as one family or community, as hence, it was the duty of the more wealthier patron to help care and improve the situation for the lesser. Gustavia provided Sweden with much gold and raw minerals, while New Sweden had prospectors discovering new oil locations almost every month. While any other power might have deployed armed forces and forced the locals to submit to a centralized control. The Swedish Policy was rather hands-off - as beyond one Royal Port and Administrative Office, most things were run by local delegates. In New Sweden this meant that many of the old Spaniards that had been under the Spanish Crown were allowed to keep their position, titles and ranks in some case. Due to the fact, they already had Guyana next door - whom was a constant source of trouble, the last thing they needed was the Spanish or the natives being agitated against them.

Gustavia was a different case - as it had remained untouched by European colonialism until the Scramble for Africa had happened. A similar prospect had been established - in addition, Sweden had constructed several sources of learning for the natives - to both help educate the people living there, yet also improve their interaction with the colonial rulers. Many wondered if this was a taken too much - since many European powers saw the locals as tools or resource to exploit itself. Sweden saw things differently - as it was both economically and morally wrong, to utilize and enslave thousands when machinery could do the job much more better and much efficiently. Without risking the chance for revolt - since a happy worker was both a busy and a loyal worker.

The recent bill saw fit to increase such funding - namely to provide New Sweden with extra funds to purchase old surplus equipment against the Guyanans. While the other half would go to Gustavia, in the form of machinery and medical aid - to both improve the locals own production and also increase the lifespan of them. While many might call it foolish, the Swedes saw it as progress. The upholding of the 'White Man' Burden' to educate the less fortunate and meek. Plus, it helped reduce the need to keep large armies in the colonies - in the case of war, there had been a deep fear that the colonies could be taken. Thus it was the hope, that the locals could be 'persuaded' on the idea that their current rulers would be better than the next one. Not to mention, the Committee of Colonial Affairs had predicted a deep increase of the local population if these kinds of policies were kept on - which meant more manpower that Sweden could hopefully tap into in the future.

APPROVED

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The Ik Ka Ek Akai
Postmaster-General
 
Posts: 13402
Founded: Mar 08, 2013
Scandinavian Liberal Paradise

Postby The Ik Ka Ek Akai » Tue May 07, 2019 11:50 am

A bit of context for those unaware

L'impero romano d'Occidente
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"To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child."



Roma

Did he just say that?

The question flashed through Alessandra's mind, bright and quicker than a bullet leaving the barrel, and just as devastating. This Greek came before her to tell her that it was time to simply put everything aside, pretend as if all was well, and to reform the relationship between them? Improbable, to say the least. Would his council approve of such a thing? Would he, in all his rules and regulations, be permitted to act such? The East had always been a state to dominate the West, that's what Daddy Nale had told her, that's the reality she grew up with. The sheer humiliation of her own coronation, thrust upon her by the foul Andronicus of the East, was proof enough of this enmity. If they would not surrender it, certainly the West should return the favor! How dare he talk of this, just after currying favor with her own people, trying to outdo her in their own parade and publicly laying her with gifts. It was all a set up, a means to fall into a trap. That had to be it, there was no other choice! Nothing else made sense!

But...what was the trap?




A Tuscan countryside estate, many years ago

The boy stepped forth, and offered his name. His seeming confidence in the whole thing was astounding to the young lass, his ability to simply step forward like that. Is this why Daddy had arranged this meeting? That she may meet him, and learn from him? Well, of course she knew it was at least a little bit to meet him. This boy was someone very important, who would decide the future of just about everything. That only increased the stress that the poor girl felt, and when prompted for her name, she could only squeak a tiny bit before croaking out an answer - "Alessendra," she replied, grabbing the hair drooped over her one eye and stroking it gently. Her voice was not typically Italian, it lacked a natural cadence, a rhythm of long and short vowels that one might expect. But of course, her native language was Dalmatian, the Italian tongue, though she might be perfectly fluent in it with ease, was not what she spoke with her father in the privacy of their own home. Or, perhaps, she was simply too young to have caught onto the lovely lilt of Italian speech? Did she have a speech impediment, perhaps?

In any case, her particular accent was seemingly devoid of long vowels. One might even think she had something against vowels in general, the way she somewhat swallowed one or two of them. The shaky, almost choked, way in which she said it certainly did not help the situation. The girl gave a quick glance to her father, who urged her onward with small gestures. He wasn't really paying attention, he had his eyes fixed on his Eastern counterpart. He was watching for any sudden moves, any revealing stances, any information at all that could be gleaned from simply watching.

Then taking a darting glance outside, it seemed she'd do anything to avoid making eye contact. The young lass observed the dark clouds on the horizon, tremulous and foreboding. She partly despised her father at that moment, wishing so much to be out of this situation and back in Rome, trying on pretty dresses or playing with dolls. The art of statecraft that had brought her to this situation was never particularly enjoyable, but now more than ever. Her father whispered to her about needing to be brave and confident like a true Roman, that this boy, this dashing Michael in front of her, was to be quite important later on. She finally gave him a direct look, followed with a slight blush from any number of reasons, and darted her eyes away from him again. This time, although she still was not looking directly at him, it was at least in his general direction. That was an improvement, wasn't it?




Ravioli ravioli we're back to the storioli

"You know," she stated, "we have a saying here. What is an emperor?" then providing a dramatic pause, she continued, "Well, what is he? Abstract, distant, a title- 'imperium', but everyone knows Caesar. Auctoritas." With this, the faint hint of a smile came to her lips, and she felt a slight sense of victory. The two would walk and walk all the same, coming to a rest only in a long hall filled with various paintings of the Italian masters. They might not necessarily be originals, but masterworks all the same. Paintings of the peasants, the countryside, the ancient hills of Tuscany and Latium, of Etruscan ruins and Roman temples, the Pantheon and Colosseum, the Apostolic Palace too. Paintings of Cesare Domagna Udina Belisario, of Belisarius himself, one or two of Alessandra's own coronation, and that same painting of her as the silenced vestal hanging right there in the hall. She still wasn't entirely sure why she agreed to pose for it, other than returning a favor to a good friend. It made a poignant political statement, she might suppose, but she'd hardly consider doing it again to be particularly high on her desires or her priorities regardless of the message it could send.

She rested an arm gently on the windowsil, the granite polished and waxed and dusted that it shined in the sunlight. The window itself overlooked the city of Rome with an excellent view, namely over her private garden that stood as a scenery of greenery in the heart of a bustling metropolis. Fruit tree orchards stood alongside a gentle pond, a marble fountain, shrubs and tall grasses, some landscaping, and even a little manmade cave. Beyond the garden wall lie the timeless shops and houses of urban and urbane Rome, and above even that lie some of the great monuments dominating the city's skyline. Glistening marble and limestone covered with ceramic tiles and even a fresco here and there, the city exuded a sense of its own grandeur. It was, after all, the Eternal City. Where else could such splendor be seen all at once?

Don't answer Constantinople.

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Krugmar
Ambassador
 
Posts: 1986
Founded: May 06, 2012
Iron Fist Consumerists

Postby Krugmar » Sat May 11, 2019 8:55 am

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The Ermine Standard of the Grand Dukes

Grand Duchy of Brittany
Dugelezh-Veur Breizh
Graund-duché de Bertaèyn

If you asked me without fault
In the name of God, I beg you,
You will tell King Arthur
What holy signs will befall
In Brittany before this world comes
to an end.
Maz goulennas outaff hep si
En hanu Doe; me hoz supply,
D’an Roe Arzur ez liviry
Pebez sinou a coezo glan,
E Breiz quent finuez
an bet man


Palace of Nantes
4th January, 1906

It was not so much as palace as a motley assortment of palatial estates plucked from time and medieval walls, yet to the Grand Dukes of Brittany it was home. For near-eight centuries they had resided in Nantes, excepting both their years of exile under Guerin's regime and the unstable period of the 15th century civil war that truly defined Brittany as an independent nation from the French states.

Tonight it had also been home to a variety of guests, enjoying a ball put on by their hosts. They had been the usual sort, nobles without money and the moneyed without nobility. Few had struck up any sort of conversation that the Grand Duke found particularly interesting. Valentin de Saint-Gilles, a scion of the former House of Toulouse and a new consort, which his enemies and friends alike never let him forget, was a known bore. When he was not busy collecting things that seemed mundane to most, he was stressing about the political situation in Europe. Most chalked it down to a fear of his family losing their home again, but Valentin had never even set foot in Toulouse and rarely thought about it. No, his was not fear, but fascination.

"It is interesting no, that France should act as our shield not by her will but because of it?" He would say often, receiving only courteous nods and vapid replies from courtiers who soon turned their attention from the subject.

He watched them as they left, an affected smile upon his face as he ended the night's celebrations, for what exactly he would only remember later, and was left to solitude. His wife, the Grand Duchess, had retired earlier due to a fright of frailness. With any luck he would soon learn that he was a father, and his position, already precarious, would be secure.

It was only as he walked along the hallway to reach his study that it occurred to him that perhaps the issue was not the subject at all, but what he had focused in on in particular. He was of French ancestry, and unlike most at court it was his mother tongue with his Breizh accented heavily. Perhaps they were not interested in the foreign world, their peninsular and overseas dominions being their world. Their topics had all been frivolous and lifeless, but they were all centred upon Brittany. Actually more so Nantes than anything else, and only a slice of the city at that.

It was not use. If he was to find allies it would not be amongst those who already despised him, and those who bored him. Perhaps he would write abroad.


Viceroy's House, Ostimia
12th January, 1906

The Viceroy's House was perhaps the least impressive structure in Ostimia, a rather squalid and diminutive manor which had seen better days. The current viceroy, Faelan Pinvidic, had done his best to restore the building during his few years but had always wished to tear it down and rebuild it. Every year he diverted enough funds to put towards the project, before rediverting them to deal with crises.

Ostimia itself was the jewel of the Breton Empire. It had been built very near to, and had eventually amalgamated with, the city of Soerabaia. It had been named for an ancient tribe of Gauls residing upon the tip of Brittany, the name meaning 'those at the end of the world', which the founder of the city had found apt for Bretons so far and lost from home.

It had one been a neat and planned city, but the centuries and merger with Soerabaia had not been kind to original intent. Still old and decrepit walls marked boundaries which had once physically and legally separated the natives from the Bretons and others judged acceptable to inhabit Ostimia. In that age the Japanese, Koreans and Chinese had been invited in as merchants and middle-men, but in this age the fear of the former two had meant new rights and privileges extended to a few castes of the natives.

The streets were alive with hustle and bustle as he made his way to the Assembly Hall, where he would hold his biweekly session with important magistrates, magnates and since his predecessor even some important native officials, if they were present. With little oversight from Brittany so long as the spice flowed, Ostimia and the East Indies had changed, and would continue to change.
Liec made me tell you to consider Kylaris

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Tracian Empire
Postmaster of the Fleet
 
Posts: 24111
Founded: Mar 01, 2014
Father Knows Best State

Postby Tracian Empire » Sun May 12, 2019 1:02 am

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Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων
Βασιλεία Ῥωμαίων
Basileia tōn Rhōmaiōn
Basileía Rhōmaíōn

The Empire of the Romans
The Roman Empire

Η βασιλεύς Σύγκλητος και ο Λαός της Ρώμης
I Basileus Sýnklitos kai o Laós tis Rómis
The Emperor, Senate and People of Rome

Βασιλεύς Βασιλέων Βασιλεύων Βασιλευόντων!
Basiléus Basiléon Basilévon Basilevónton!
Emperor or Emperors, Ruling Over Those Who Rule!





Ethiopia. Once, a country at the very periphery of the Roman concept of what the world was. An important partner in trade, certainly, and a country of ancient prestige, with the King of Aksum being once considered to be one of the two leaders in the world equal to a Roman Emperor, alongside the leader of the much hated Babylon. An important partner in trade, but also a land of mysteries. Roman interest in Africa had always ended with Egypt, and even as trade expanded, even as Aksum supplied most of the African goods that Rome needed, even as new caravan routes were discovered, their lands had always remained at the edge of what the Romans considered to be important. But then the hordes of Arabia expanded, cutting off contact between Rome and Aksum completely.

And here they were, so many centuries after that. The era of darkness and cruelty brought with it by the Caliphates had endured in Egypt for so many dynasties, until eventually, the Palaiologoi achieved the final victory that they needed. With Egypt back under the sign of the cross and the imperial banner, a vague contact was established again, but much more time passed until the Romans managed to pacify their province of Aigyptos, until some sort of trade started again, but this new Aithiopia, bearing this ancient name from the times of Homer, was a different realm. Turned inwards, backwards and isolated. Whatever contacts had been established soon seemed to fade again, as this Ethiopia was once again relegated to the periphery of what many nations considered to be the relevant world, with the Romans too busy in their eternal wars in Asia to give too much thought to this country, other than allowing the Coptic Pope in Alexandria to exist - a rare exception in an empire that only existed to protect Orthodoxy. But then the world changed yet again. Brave Roman admirals sailed east, and met with the powers of Asia, and Egypt once again started to become the important core of an entire network of trade. The province started to prosper, the "Nubians" to the south were incorporated into the empire one tribe after another, and not before long, the legions of Rome stopped at the border of Ethiopia, just as blood and sweat and death finished one of the mightiest projects ever accomplished by the empire, the Clysmian Canal, which opened a new route between Europe and Asia, bringing the Red Sea to the glory that it once had and putting Ethiopia in the middle of one of the busiest trade networks in the world. Rome answered when Ethiopia started its attempts to modernize, and Rome answered again when the Ethiopian Emperor called for help in his civil war, the legions of Egypt bringing him victory. But the ever aggressive and vain Basileus Andronikos requested a compensation, and received territory that had been Ethiopian for ages - igniting tensions that had not been there before. And yet, with a new Basileus taking on the imperial mantle in Constantinople, things looked as if they would change, and that is why, for the first time in this world, a purple born prince of the Roman Empire was going to visit the bustling capital of Ethiopia.

Addis Ababa, 1906 AC
Αντίς Αμπέμπα, 7414 ε.Κ

The group of Romans that approached the city wasn't all that large, but it was magnificent enough to take part in any parade around the world. The procession was led by two riders, carrying vexilla style banners on their lances, one the traditional flag of the empire, with the golden tetragrammatic cross on a red background and the four beta letters, the other, a holy icon of Christ Pantocrator.

The prince himself was standing inside a biga chariot in the middle of the group, surrounded by riding soldiers, none other than the famed Varangians, as befits a member of the imperial family. Clearly distinguishable from any normal Roman or Ethiopian, the foreign mercenaries were quite impressive - as always, only the best, the tallest, and the strongest applicants were chosen to serve in the Guard, and only the best of the best where among those Followers sent abroad to personally guard the emperor or members of his family. The Varangians, some of them fair skinned Europeans while a few them clearly of African origin, with their long hair and ruby earrings, weren't there just for the show. A few of them, the most visible, were wearing their ceremonial armors, made in the style of the Varangoi of old, while the others were wearing the normal uniforms of the Roman soldiers of Africa, and of course, the symbolic axes that they still kept as ceremonial melee weapons were supplemented by modern weapons, rifles and pistols. The small group of diplomats that followed the main contingent was escorted by Scholarioi wearing normal uniforms, but hardly anyone was even going to notice them - as the people's attention would have been clearly attracted by the prince riding in the chariot.

A young man, he was holding the reins of the horses with a certain detachment, as if he didn't even need to do it consciously anymore, not a big surprise, considering that he was one of the most well known chariot racers of the Blues in Constantinople. His attire also evoked the city that stubbornly refused to acknowledge the never stopping march of time, as the prince was wearing a long, white tunica, with an imperial purple chlamys cloak over it, long enough to be counted as a paludamentum, with a large, golden brooch representing an eagle fastening it in place. His clothing was also ornamented with a classic tablions, embroidered in gold and purple and white silk threads, accented with jewels and pearls, taking all attention from the one or two golden bracelets that he was wearing. A small, golden diadem, showing his rank as a purple blood prince was resting on his dirty blonde hair, shorter than that of his brother, but still slightly messily arranged, just enough to not let his appearance fully sink into the pit of boring formality. His hazel eyes were fixed on the city in front of him, and his skin was normal for those Romans of the East, a bit darker than those of his brothers perhaps. He was beautiful, there was no question about it, the princes of Constantinople always attracted the eyes of the women of the city even when they left old city disguised as normal citizens, and Konstantinos was perhaps the one one who did this the most. He also looked a lot more manly than his older brother - Michael was good at athletics and sports but only because of his duties. Konstantinos lived for the competitions in the New Rome's arenas, and his musculature was a lot more visible than that of his brother, even if he wasn't among those Roman nobleman who tried their best to look like the statues of Heracles.

And here he was, Prince Konstantinos, Porphyrogénnētos, Despot of Morea.. visiting a city where no Roman prince had ever set foot before. The Ethopians had of course been properly informed before of his arrival, so he was curious to see how they would welcome him. Just as he was curious to see how he could sneak away with his Varangians in the middle of the night to see what the city had to offer in terms of fun.. but that was the last thing to worry about. Being here right now was exciting, he was really eager to see what will happen..



Ρώμη, 1906 μ.Χ., 7414 ε.Κ
Roma, MMDCLIX AUC
An Emperor and an Empress


He had no idea what to expect. He liked to tell himself that he had no idea what his father would think of this.. but deep inside, he knew all to well what he would have said.. that he was insane. A lot of people seemed to have suggested it back in Constantinople, even if none had dared to say it openly, besides of course, from his younger brother, who didn't particularly care about such things as respect or protocol. The West had been subordinated to the East for more than a millennia now. Even during the Great Schism, no Caesar of the West had dared to claim the title last held by Romulus Augustulus and Julius Nepos, that of Augustus. For so many centuries, the pride of the Eastern Empire had constantly forced the West into submission, keeping the anachronistic relation between the two halves of the empire as it had always been - with the Emperor in Constantinople superior to that in Rome. Because of it, there had always been bad blood between them. The Italians rightfully felt humiliated. By what right did some Greek-speaking monarch living in Constantinople claim his superiority over their own rulers? By what right did the Easterners consider themselves to be the true Romans? By what right did the East keep sending Domestics of Italy to their lands, as if they were still just an Exarchate of the East? Of course, the West had never been able or willing to ignore the East - with enemies such as that heretical France on their borders, the West had always needed Eastern soldiers to shed their blood for its defense, and when the monarchs in the Old Rome and in the New had a harmonious relationship, the acrimony was ignored. But perhaps no emperor had ever done so much to strengthen the resentment of the Italians as his father, Basileus Andronikos. He had been too blind to notice it, back then when he had visited Italy for the last time..but as always, his father had only planted more seeds of bitterness and distrust. He had tried to ignore it, back when he was little, but he fully understood now - his father was arrogant and vain, stubborn and always quick to sense a slight, whether real or imaginary, aggressive and inflexible. And he nearly ended up the same. His father had taken personal care of his education from the very beginning - he had never had a childhood as others had. He was the first purple born son of the Emperor, destined to succeed him - and his father had done everything he could to create a worthy successor. So of course, facing so many challenges, he had tried to emulate the one person he admired - the Emperor. Had it not been for his siblings, for his sister, and for what had happened in Africa, he would have ended up as a second Andronikos..and only then did Michael slowly realize.. that perhaps this was what Alessandra expected.

He had no idea what to expect. After all, while he had received training in the art of diplomacy, it had been in his father's diplomacy, his father's expectations, and his father's tales of ancient traditions and an universal empire. When his own coronation was being prepared after his father's death, when he was pondering whether to invite the young Cesara of the West, they had told him. That his father had refused to acknowledge her coronation, and that he had called for her to come to Constantinople, to kneel in front of him and acknowledge him as the Sebastos, as the Augustus, and to receive her imperial insignia from his hands. He couldn't imagine how she had felt.. that is why he had not invited her, and that is why he was now in Rome by himself. Of course, all of his advisors, from the Grand Logothete to the Parakoimomenos, had advised him against it. They told him, in much softer terms that it was foolish, that it was unworthy for a senior Emperor of the Romans to act like that, but he had ignored them. What would negotiations and diplomats do, with so much hate on both sides? What would he solve by sending to Rome those who would wish to see it reintegrated as an Exarchate, to meet with those who wanted the West to become independent? This was the only way, to come to Rome, to give gifts to the people of the Eternal City and try to make them forget the bitter taste they clearly felt when thinking of his father. To personally meet her, to discuss everything with her and to make her understand. He had to make her understand, and the best way to do that was by being honest, by throwing away his imperial persona, the facade that he always showed to other people, for a little bit. But as the moments passed, as he was waiting for her reaction only to be met with silence..he started to worry. He started to doubt himself. Because, truth be told.. he had no idea how to act when speaking with her.

Just talking like a Basileus would, in that cold and formal manner would have achieved nothing, but he quickly started to realize that he should have perhaps put a lot more thought into it. He had no one to compare her to. Most of the women that he had met so far were below his rank, and they all treated him with the respect and the reverence that a purple born prince deserved. Even his mother, from what he could remember, always treated him with a certain formality - she was from a foreign noble house, and she had spent her entire life trying to get used to Constantinople's rigid court rules and ceremonies. And it's not like he could wave his superiority around her, as easy as just using his imperial persona would have been. And then there was his sister.. but it wasn't like he could be that friendly with her. And thinking about such things..it reminded him of it. Of that they meeting they had so long ago, when they were both but children..he had been thinking about such things back then too...

Many years ago, a Tuscan countryside estate
A princess and a prince


Had he scared her? Was he really that intimidating? This was all that the brown haired boy could think about, as he was looking at the young girl in front of him. She didn't look older, or younger than him, and yet for some reason, she seemed to be scared of him..but to tell the truth, he was just as afraid of this as she seemed to be. He was just better at hiding it. Father had told him that this was important, and he didn't dare to disobey him. When the Emperor said something, you had to obey, especially if that emperor was your father.. not that he could quite grasp what this Emperor thing was yet. It was important, and everyone seemed to listen to his father, so if he had to become an Emperor too, then he had to act just like his father. It was that simple. Of course, his father also regularly shouted and got angry, and that wasn't something that he could easily do.. but he had to act as perfectly as possible. And normally that was easy. He had just had to hide everything. That nasty little feeling when he had no idea what to do or when he thought that he would disappoint his father, the bad feeling when he thought that people would think badly of him and laugh at him like his brother did. And he felt all of that, right here, right now. But with his father behind him it didn't matter. He was no longer Michael here, despite what he had told her, he was a prince. And princes had to be perfect, princes had to be brave, just like that prince who became a king and conquered most of the world in those stories the servants told him.

So he had just stepped forward, acting like he always did in the palace when his father brought people for him to meet..or nearly like it. He couldn't just throw all of those words at her, words that he didn't fully understand either, like born in the purple and despot. So he had just told her his name..and yet she still looked scared. And he had no idea what to do. He had no idea who she was. He could normally act like his father because he knew that the people around him were less important than he was, for some reason, but hadn't his father told him that she was also a princess? His sisters were princesses too but he couldn't compare them to her, Sophia had been with him for as long as he could remember, long before his father had made him act like this. Was she just like him? Was she also born in the purple? Was she also important? Was this why father had brought him here to see her? He couldn't quite understand it, but all the princes in the stories that were read to him had princesses. Even if some princesses were sometimes taken away by evil barbarians and the prince had to fight in a war to free them, but that made no sense. But if she was as important as him, then he had to talk to her like that.. but he wasn't sure how to do that. How do you even talk with someone like that? The Master of Ceremonies had never told him anything about it. Perhaps he should have asked father about it after all..but no, he couldn't disappoint him. And he couldn't scare her.

But as she answered with her name, Alessandra, the prince also vaguely noticed that she was speaking weirdly. Was there something wrong with her? Was this Italian not the language she normally used? He couldn't speak it as well as some his teachers wanted, it was just so weird compared to the language he had always spoken. And she had probably noticed it, his accent, the way he pronounced some sounds.. but if she didn't speak this Italian, what did she speak? He vaguely remembered one of his teachers telling him that her family came from a place called.. how was it again, Dalatia? No, Dalmatia. Did they speak a different language there? They were also part of the empire, and wasn't this Italian the language they were speaking in the Old Rome? It was weird, but he had no time to think about such things. He couldn't talk to her in that complicated and old language that had been once spoken in the Old Rome, or that old form of Romaiika used by the priests. But with each moment that passed, he felt even weirder, even more afraid that he was the reasons why she was scared, that he had done something wrong, or maybe she simply didn't like him. And the fact that none of the adults were saying anything made him feel even worse... what was his father thinking?

But the Basileus of the East was satisfied to see his son acting like that, while the daughter of his junior Western emperor seemed to be so shy and afraid..it gave him so much satisfaction that he couldn't help but smirk as he looked back at the other man.

Not knowing that however, and seeing that the girl wasn't even looking at him, Michael couldn't help but lose his persona for a moment there, slouching a little, with a slightly dejected look on his face, like a child who had just lost his toy. Perhaps Konstantinos was right. Perhaps he really hadn't changed. Perhaps he was still just that dumb boy that his father made fun of for being afraid when there was a storm outside. Being a prince was horrible. Why couldn't he just go back to his books?

But before he could sink further into that pit, he looked back at her again, just in time to notice her looking directly at him - before she blushed and looked away again. But blushing wasn't a bad thing, was it? So maybe he hadn't done anything bad? And now that they had looked directly into each other's eyes for a brief moment, without realizing, Michael had blushed a little himself. There was something about her..most of the girls that he had met so far, outside of his family, were either too annoyingly direct, always trying to praise him and making him feel bad, or too scared of him to even look at him..but while she seemed to be a little scared too.. she had looked at him. Of course, it had only been once, and now she only seemed to be looking in his general direction.. but it was something that had never happened before. And well.. if she was just like him.. then maybe she could understand. It didn't look like she had a choice either.. so the prince smiled again, but there was a slight difference this time. It didn't seem to be the same confident smile from before, it was a bit.. warmer. "Nice to meet you, Alessandra.', he tried to say, his voice a bit lower than before, as if he was no longer talking only so that his father could hear him. "I think.. I think that our fathers want us to.. be friends. Do you think.. do you think we could try?"



hmmmm
His reminiscence was suddenly and rather brutally interrupted by Alessandra as she finally answered.. only to completely ignore his moment of honesty...as the Cesara of the West simply took a nicely veiled jab at him. And at his dynasty. And at his titles. Probably. To be honest, the poor Michael was simply not expecting such a reply, so it took him a few good moments to even comprehend it, but even then, he couldn't help but feel a little hurt, and her faint smile didn't help. He had expected at least some sort of a reaction to what he had been implying, to what he was trying to propose.. and instead of that, she just reacted as if she had to get back at him somehow. She was.. how was it called again.. passive-aggressive? But why? A few years had passed, certainly, but to see that the nice and shy girl that he had met when he was little had been replaced with someone like this was a little bit disheartening..as he slowly started to realize that he hadn't really considered the idea that she might be too hostile to even listen to his proposals. And yet.. well, a part of him couldn't help but admire her a little. She knew all too well that at least ceremonially, at least in theory, she was inferior to him. This was no diarchy or tetrarchy, he was by tradition the senior emperor of both the West and the East, and she was merely the Caesar of the West, and yet despite that, she continued to poke him - with this, or how she had called herself the Queen of Rome before. She was good. Probably even better than him. He found it difficult to find the hostility needed to respond with the same passive-aggressiveness.. oh well.

Did he ever mention that hunting native rebels back in Africa as a soldier had been a lot easier than being here?

But despite of all of that, Alessandra just continued to walk, and with each passing moment that became more and more uncomfortable for him. As if the rigid tunic that he was wearing wasn't bad enough, the heavy loros with all of the jewelry felt as if it was suffocating him, and his crown, with all of the jewels and the pendoulia was clearly a lot heavier than her weird iron crown - it made his neck hurt. And as they continued to walk, for a few brief moments, MIchael changed the way in which he was walking, his relaxed, imperial walking being replaced with a certain cadence, right, left, right, left, right, left, like a soldier marching through Africa. But soon after that, they stopped, in a long hall filled with paintings. He took a few moments to look at them, the Great Palace was after all a lot more restrictive in terms of what paintings could be shown, and he seemed to take a few more moments to look at the painting that showed Alessandra's coronation, before he turned around to look at her as she rested one of her arms on a windowsill. He could see a garden through it, and the city of Rome beyond, and he liked it.

Constantinople was more impressive, that was sure, after all, the complex of the Sacred Palace would have easily dwarfed most of what he could see here, this places reminded him a bit more of the Blachernae.. but he liked it nonetheless. All the exuberance and magnificence of the old Constantinople were just too much sometimes. Here, in such a place, he thought that he could actually feel relaxed..if not for her standing there. Just being alone with her like this would have been stressful enough, but the idea that she might take another jab at him out of nowhere and that she might just reveal a complete hostility put him on the edge. And yet, he had to do this.

"That is true. Caesar truly was a man greater than history. Too bad that the direct rule of his dynasty ended the way it did, the honor of his blood tainted by men like Caligula and Nero. And the wheel kept turning. When the empire needed them most, we had men rising from the mire to defend it. Constantine the Great, Belisarius and Justinian, all born in the East at the lowest levels of society, and yet we are here because of them. Your family should be proud for having the blood of Belisarius, after all, even if he had Illyrian and Thracian blood, when he was offered the crown of the West by my ancestor, he remained loyal to Justinian, he remained loyal to his emperor." And he remained quiet for a few moments. And auctoritas is where people think that it is. Titles truly are abstract. It would be difficult even for those like us, who know history, to understand why the name of Caesar is considered to be inferior to the title that his great nephew adopted, whether you were to call it Augustus or Augoustos or Sebastos. And basileus..it might be just a word here in the West, but in the East, there is no child who doesn't know what it means, who doesn't know what great men used it and kept its honor. Justinian himself was known like that to his people, even if he was speaking a different language. Heraclius, the savior of the empire, the one who did what Belisarius never managed to and dealt the Babylonians a definitive blow. My own ancestor, Michael, who saved the New Rome when those madmen from the West tried to destroy it. And even a man who was not Roman but who truly was as great as history describes him, the great Greek basileus whose name you have. The way in which the values absorbed by Rome from the Ancient Greeks still are still visible here, Alessandra.

And Michael smiled, as warmly as he had so many years ago. "But what do all these titles mean? Nothing. It doesn't matter how many men or women wear a crown, using the names and titles of their ancestors before them if they fight among themselves. Every single time when those who wore the purple fought among themselves, Rome bled. Every time personal ambition and pride was put in front of duty, Rome stumbled. And when the empire was divided, it nearly fell. What does it matter if some speak a language and others another? We are all Romans, in a world that hates what is Roman. If we hope to survive, we have to do it together, wouldn't you agree?"
I'm a Romanian, a vampire, an anime enthusiast and a roleplayer.
Hello there! I am Tracian Empire! You can call me Tracian, Thrace, Thracian, Thracr, Thracc or whatever you want. Really.

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Kazarogkai
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Posts: 7769
Founded: Jan 27, 2012
Moralistic Democracy

Postby Kazarogkai » Tue May 14, 2019 1:30 pm



North of the Amazon, south on the coast of the Caribbean ocean lies a nation underneath the God of Heaven and his generals the angels and prophet and laying atop the realm of the god in hell his name be Satan and his minions of demons and proscribed. Though this nation be a small nation it is a proud one. Though surrounded by enemies with few friends this nation of Revolution and God in equal measure it has held it's own for the past century with their blood, sweat, and tears. Though the trials have been great and struggle very much real though their head maybe bloody they have remained unbowed.

In the Northern Coastal Lands

Early in the mourning A small fleet of fishing boats from a little village heads out to ply their trade hoping to bring in a haul so that they might care for their families as best they can. Though food is rather cheap, taxes are not. The beast in the center is ever hungry. As the fleet of fishing boats makes it's way off taking their men folk with them the women and children and those too elderly to work are left behind. Most of the women make themselves busy with their traditional tasks churning of butter, milking the goats, harvesting the chicken eggs and when all that is said and done the majority head off unto the fields surrounding the village. The handful who remain stay behind and help do the reaming housework of those who left and look after the elders and the children too big to be carried on their mothers backs but too small for school which in this land starts at the age of 8.

For the women in the fields they work at a steady pace in the sun whose rays bare down upon them relentlessly. Though it be the dry season in these lands, for winter never touches these lands only times of rain or not, they still work. The irrigation system set up by the central government long ago while old and a bit creaky still does as it is supposed to gathering excess rain during the times of rain and providing it in times of not. This allows for the blessing that is two or in the case of certain more fast growing crops three harvests a year helping provide a bit of food stability to their families. But with that comes the curse of year round labor for the women who must toil and toil never receiving much rest except every fifth day when they and their husbands labors are lightened greatly in the universal day of rest of these lands.

Their clothes are of a brighter coloration with a preference for reds and light greens and the occasional blue if one can afford it which is in contrast to the men folk who prefer more somber coloration. While old and patched they are not dirty for they care for their appearances. The implements of their trade are largely traditional consisting of simple oxen pulled plows and hoes passed down from generation to generation. While talk exists from outside of great machines capable of doing the work of many in far shorter periods of time these women have never seen them. Even if they had they wouldn't have the money let alone the credit to buy such things. And so they must toil in a manner like that done since millennia. Their small babes who mostly lie asleep are wrapped tenderly in swaddling made from simple cotton or wool cloth and rest primarily in the shade between the crops or under the trees tended over by the doting mothers and women who occasionally go for a rest pacing themselves properly lest they suffer from exhaustion from the sun. When noon time, the hottest hours, arrive the'll take a short nap.

Back home in the village the elders huddle together in masses around fires wearing the traditional ware of this land a shirt and pants with a cloak, the sex differences being determined based on the length of the shirt with the women wearing theirs down to their knees while men in contrast keep it to the hips and have a sash to lash it and their pants all down. Some nap, some eat simple snacks of fruit and nuts, others talk and gossip of old days and new, while others still keep their eyes on the small children who they in part are charged with looking after. A few are rather infirm and rely on others for many of their basic tasks for that the aforementioned women who stayed behind are charged with as such helping feed and tend to them in their twilight years in the ever march towards death.

The children of the village those too small for school content themselves with play of various sorts the boys typically engaging in mock fights with sticks while the girls playing around with their dolls which serve in a subtle way to prepare them for the inevitably that is motherhood. Those old enough in turn head out towards school which in this village is a simple one room shack staffed by a handful of public servants, some of which were sent directly by the capital, lying atop a hill a little ways out the village. Here they learn of the language of their fathers how to read and speak it, of the history of their land from beginning to end, of the religion of their people, and finally but not least how to count in a proper manner using the bones of their fingers for the purpose. Basic and functional skills they learn so that they might apply later in life these lessons which are meant to serve them into adulthood. Luckily for the children of this village and so many others within this land education is regarded to the highest degree by the state second only to the military and infrastructure. As such no outright fees are necessary to attend, hence their parents willingness to send them, instead payment is made in a far subtler way with the taxes which are bled like that from a stone from the aforementioned parents. The sacrifices that must be made by a parent truly are commendable. Though provided freely throughout the land and with that has allowed for the creation of a highly literate population it is not always of the greatest caliber compared to that seen in the greater modern lands of the old world. Quantity vs Quality one can say. Lessons are done on a chalkboard by a shifting group of educators who come and go and take their turns with different groups of kids of various ages and sizes. Each child has a small board of his own for his writing needs, with continuous supplies of paper being a rare and treasured commodity, using it for equal parts spelling and for figuring out numerical equations.

When school ends a bit after noon the children will migrate their way down the dirt path which guides them on their way home back into their village. Here they will place their books and their boards of chalk and go onto their own assigned tasks. The boys will head to the docks to find their fathers having just returned from fishing and assist them in the necessary tasks for the processing of the fish. The gutting and the salting and the packaging and the like. The girls in contrast will head on over to their mothers who having just finished their short siesta are greatly appreciative of the extra hands for the remainder of the tasks on the fields. From ages 8 to 14 which be the years of primary education this bears a significant portion of the day of the children of Guyana. Those upon completing primary have a choice to attend secondary school and beyond though few do. Most finish their education upon doing so in the case of boys are conscripted until the age of 20 while girls instead are soon after married off to create families of their own. For the former upon completing conscription they will usually involve themselves in the labors of their fathers and upon turning of 24 go on the path to becoming heads of their own households and continuing on with their lives from that point forward like so many others. Such is the life.

To the West on the Borderlands

A small garrison comprising about a Block of 144 men derived from Commander Jiwe's Infantry Column of the 10th Legion of "The Stone Brothers" within the Home division of the Black Phalanx's Land Command. These men stationed to keep check on the immediate lands nearing that of the Swedish Held Colony that formed their nearest westerly neighbor. The commander of this Unit named Nuni stood atop a watchtower with a simple telescope like that used by naval captains, a gift from his father, keeping an eye on a Swedish colonial garrison that was parallel to his own when he was interrupted by a young runner boy. Said boy of the age of 15 gave him a verbal message stating the passage of a unit of cavalry and it's request to enter his garrison for rest and supply. Commander Nuni gave him a simple nod granting said request sending the boy off allowing him to continue with his spying.

With permission gained the unit of cavalry which has spent much of the day patrolling the area around was given a brief respite. The horses were situated in the circular corral which formed the center of the garrison and soon with that kicked up their feet. Half went on into the barracks to get some rest and time away from the sun while the other half stayed out pulling out their rations and setting up cooking fires. The basic staples were present consisting of dried and smoked beef, a bit of cheese, and some grains of mostly corn and rice. These were piled together into an iron cauldron, shared between for each group of 12, to make an impromptu stew. Their service rifles, some of the newer SR-402s, were tenderly placed alongside each other in standing bundles ready to be used at a moments notice. For the majority their once white uniforms were dirtied and filled with patches from constant hard campaigning and displayed a quite brownish coloration vaguely of khaki from the dust kicked up in their wake. Boots, an expensive commodity, were found only among the NCO's at best with the majority of the troops having to make do with simple sandals not much different from that worn by civilians. Time was taken to tenderly care for said uniforms with a few of the younger conscripts being sent out to a nearby stream to clean them so that they might be presentable in case of a possible inspection from their superiors, an ever likely occurrence. Even despite that the uniforms would never be as shiny as they were when they first were presented with them upon their induction as conscripts. They sat and they ate and rolled dice and drank tea or coffee depending on preference and talked like any would expect of men in such circumstances. Most were quite young serving their first term of service as conscripts ranging in ages from their mid teens into their 20s. Though a good number were a bit older deriving from the allotment system serving their 120 term of service until they could go back home to their families. Most of these were in their 30s though some were in their 40s. It depended.

Surrounding the men in the garrison was a concentric series of 4 walls placed upon earthen ramparts(terraced steps) and composed of horizontally laid logs reinforced with rammed earth. Underneath and behind each of these walls was a basic trench line designed to allow the inner defenders to fire over the heads of those below them at opposing targets while remaining in cover. A simple defense for simple threats produced in a manner vaguely reminiscent of that of the gunfighter pā of the savages of the south. All along the innermost wall stood various simple blockhouses made from logs with holes cut into them to allow the inhabitants to fire upon enemy forces. The largest of these holes hosted a simple swivel gun, archaic but effective enough against enemy infantry. Within the Garrison at the top most point lied a a series of half sunken structures used primarily to house the defenders serving as barracks. Though not really noticeable within the Garrison there lied an extensive underground network of tunnels which served various uses as storage pits, tunnels for communication and movement in times of heavy bombardment and potential avenues to the outside if escape wherever necessary. The most noticeable structure by far though was the Central-Corral which served to bundle together and shelter the various animals that served the inhabitants of the garrison. These consisted of, including the cavalrymen's horses, a mix of goats, chickens, and oxen who provided a source of milk and meat while in the case of the latter most labor primarily moving the various supply wagons that fed the garrison on the move.

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After noon was finished their Commander named Huro came upon them and ordered them to ready themselves. A quick scramble took place with the cavalrymen getting their weapons and supplies ready and their packs and their horses. After a brief inspection and roll call which found all were present they mounted up and continued on their patrol.

Such was life for a soldier in this army.

In the South within the edges of the Amazon Rain Forest

Hami, Mahi!

Hami, Mahi!

Left, Right those were the words that could be heard called throughout the hidden camp whose purpose was known but not known. In this rather obscure and for the most part unknown place on the edges of the very territory of the Revolutionary state stood a camp whose sole purposes was to group, train, and ready the men within for combat who numbered about 500. But these were not the usual men one would find in Guyana. For one thing they were overwhelmingly clearly not of the African stock from which the Guyanese themselves descended from being comparatively European in origin. Nay these men were not of Guyana but instead dissidents derived from the neighbor of theirs that be known as New Sweden but by these men was referred to as Greater Colombia or Venezuela. These self styled nationalists had gathered here to gain the skills and equipment necessary to continue to wage a war one that had been going on for decades that had begun not long after the independence of Guyana itself.

As of now they had been largely unsuccessful but as the lessons of history show there is has always been men who are willing to die for a cause. Within some men were trained in marching primarily in columns but also in line. Marching in groups of 50-100 these men would march in column for travel through dense brush but at when the signal was given they immediately turned and placed themselves within a rather snaky line formation befitting a skirmisher and with the order given fired with blanks upon a imaginary foe in the trees before placing their bayonets and charging. Typical Guyanese battle tactics befitting that of the Guerin's era which only showed how far behind the times the Guyanese themselves were. Alongside these the would be revolutionaries were trained in ambush tactics, wood craft, basic base building and various other things necessary for a prospective guerrilla. They were armed entirely with lighter weaponry like rifles, mostly pre gen, and small 1-2 ponder cannons and the like. Befitting for a force such as this.

But there weren't just men within this camp a significant portion of those within were women and children, the wives and in general family of the fighting men who had made this place home. They were here for their own safety for the most basic part of any campaign to defeat a guerrilla army is to go after the families of those who fight, something many of them knew all too well. Hence the families. But they weren't just here slacking off they performed many important but largely under appreciated necessary for the running of a base including but not limited to house work, organizing the equipment, helping carry various loads, erecting shelters, serving as lookouts, etc. Such things would be entirely up to the men men when the time came to set off unto the battlefield.

As time flew by and the tasks and assignments of the day wore on into night 2 figures atop horses approached the largely sleeping base and were challenged by the look outs. They were riders from the capital and they carried with them a message from the capital. They were let in and were immediately granted an audience with the commander of this base. They heads back wished to know the progress of the program and the figure on how many could be ready to be shipped out. The commander responded in turn he could set out about 120 men right then and there from the guerrillas within the base. The riders nodded and responded to ready them early in the morning tomorrow and make their way on over to the border where they will receive further orders from that point. When morning came 2 groups of guerrillas each numbering about 60 men each rallied themselves and accompanied by a section of 12 Guyanese Legionaries each headed towards their extraction point. For these men the day of days was soon to come.

To the Center in the Capital of the land named Elamana

A grand display was being made today originating from the outskirts and making it's way unto the central grand square of the city. A military procession marking the first independent year in 1806 which occurred 100 years. This force consisted of a total of a little over 25 thousand men derived from the II, III, IV, V Legions alongside a compliment of Capital Guardsmen, Sailors from members of the Sea Command, and the most recent graduating class of the War Department Staff all marching in order and unison. Their arms were the best that Guyana could provide each soldier armed with a SVT-402 bayonets out and pointed towards the sky, white linen uniforms which glowed in the sun, steel breach loading field guns which followed them along, local Derivatives of the foreign derived maxim gun, all marching in unison in a display meant to dazzle and impress those who watched. Such was the point of the whole thing to serve as an example to the huddled masses in attendance. For ultimately the people needed to have shown before their very eyes their betters so that they may reflect upon their own deficiencies and may be inspired to rise to better themselves.

Rising above the crowd in a building marked as the home of the National Assembly was the Consul of War himself Consul of War Samo Hera surrounded by the top members of the War Department Staff and flanked by a crowd composed of the various other members of the National Assembly, this could be said to be his day. He was a rather simple man whose looks weren't much different from the general stock that formed the Guyanese population standing about 5'0, with skin like dark bronze, eyes of black, albeit owing to his Maroon Mother he had a bit of Indian within him most notably in his rather long black as night curly hair. He himself wore a uniform in line with that of the Soldiers below him albeit notably lacking in patches or dust from travel with a black peaked cap like that worn by officers resting in his hand and with a nice pair of boots engraved with silver that contrasted with the largely sandal wearing rank and file.

From his perch Consul Samo looked down upon the crowd and observed the proletariat that lined the streets headgear off. As per the law all those in presence of a soldier must take their headgear off as a mark of respect. Doing otherwise is equated with slander. Wherever he looked all complied. Even men who were too poor to afford a hat had gone through the effort to retrieve from rubbish bins old brims so that they might comply. When he was finished with that he went back to looking upon the procession, the pride within him simply beaming, though he could one eye out for any potential assassins who might try to use this opportunity to strike him down.

The Individual Legions who formed the Nation's Armed forces were a point of pride with their legacy dating back to the original legion established by the founder Solomon Day himself during the Revolutionary Crusade fought for the independence of this great nation and which themselves were meant as a contradiction of sorts. In their view the two Romes are a degenerate civilization being the center of what is known as the Greater Chalcedonian Church which in the eyes of Solomon and by extension the religion he founded, the Phalanx of Heaven, are stooges of Satan who must be redeemed so to speak and bought back in line to the actual teachings of the God In Heavens line of Prophets. Hence the tendency to take words and phrases from them and redefining and redeeming them for their own purposes and using them against the very creators of them.

Whatever the case maybe the Legions were as mentioned are a cherished and exalted part of the identity that forms the bedrock of the Guyanese nation. Their organization was uniform, their discipline paralleled by few. Marching along despite all the pain and challenges and trials of the past they had remained the steady fist which had kept the world at bay for the little nation and hence were deserving of the honor that was being bestowed upon them and all the hurrah and hoopla that came along with it. No matter how frivolous it might seem to others mattered not.

At the head of this very procession stood the II Legion of "Caesar Burners" whose black square standard was composed of a crooked bowing figure with a broken crown upon his head and a bloody sword stuck up his arse enveloped in a single flame. Needless to say the Guyanese had a rather odd form of humor compared to many. Second in precedence came the III Legion known as the "Trophy Runners" whose black standard hosted a sword armed figure chopping the head off another. This was a upfront reference to the rather bloody military tradition of head hunting in Guyana. Though derived from traditional Maroon war practices, from which the bulk of Solomon Days early army derived from, with an individual warrior upon killing an enemy being expected to take their head and bring the it back as a trophy to show prowess in combat. It was continued on and even encouraged by Solomon during and after the Holy Revolutionary Crusade with him required individual Legionaries to bring forward heads to be tallied to show that they had done their job and were possibly deserving of promotion. It stuck and has continued on into today being regarded by outsiders as proof of their truly barbaric nature but being regarded as a show of manliness and strength among the Guyanese themselves. Next in line of course came the IV Legion of "Thunder Spears" and finally though most certainly not least the V Legion of "Dead Hands" which for a matter of fact was the personal unit from which Consul Samo served within during his younger days.

On and on the procession made it's way along With the sounds of the musicians all around and the steady thump of their feet upon the street of cobble sounding like that of thunder on the horizon. It truly was a display all right. All planned and coordinated by the very Consul himself. This was a day that had been the final lead up to what was months of planning and in hindsight a nar lifetime of work for the aging Consul Samo who himself was at the age of 72. Past typical retirement yes but not content to sit upon his laurels collecting dust in his eldest son's attic regaling his grand kids with tales of past military exploits. No such was not meant to be the end for this man who had worked so hard up until this point. And though yes the work, ever present and unrelenting, bore down and made weary his very soul he refused to let up. And so he watched the procession go on who at the end it would be his duty to inspect but until then he was content to rest a little taking this time to bask in the glory that he firmly believed he so rightfully deserved with the God in Heaven and his generals as his very witness on this day.
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The Ik Ka Ek Akai
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Founded: Mar 08, 2013
Scandinavian Liberal Paradise

Postby The Ik Ka Ek Akai » Tue May 21, 2019 11:09 pm

L'impero romano d'Occidente
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"There are more things, Lucilius, that frighten us than injure us, and we suffer more in imagination than in reality."[/align]

Roma

Alessandra's eye twitched. It was more than a feeling this time. She turned to face the young Basileus, her eye still seized half-closed, and clapped her gloved hands together. The exquisite leather gave a satisfying, almost puffy sort of clap from the half-muffle that it provided. She opened her mouth to speak, her tongue readying itself to rapidfire like one of those newfangled machine guns, but she just stuttered out a few incomprehensible noises, her eyes, the one still half-closed, darting all over Michael, and she sighed deeply. As in the sigh she closed her eyes, she opened them again and narrowed them with the gaze of an eagle. It was analytical above all as she wondered for just a moment if he had legitimately just said everything he had said, and done so with full intent. It was practically beyond belief.

Each insulting word that poured from his mouth, talk of how Belisarius was Greek peasant, a barbarian even, who owed his titles to Justinian, and how the madmen of the West should submit to those of the East in the name of playing nice and cooperating, it was vulgar, vile, filled with spiteful bile, and topping it off by telling her that her name was Greek? All Alessandra could think to do was to reply with a single sentence:

"There you are, Andronicus."




The Tuscan Estate, on the road of destiny


"There you are, Andronicus"

The words had begun that fateful night, but since coming to that one room, all had been deathly silent. The mad Greek had refused to set foot in Rome, and the people of the West perhaps felt it was for the best. The meeting was, however, too important to neglect. And so, the children were presented to one another. Alessandra looked for a moment to the tall foreigner in front of her, this Andronicus, a man who instilled terror in her tiny little heart. Looking at his progeny, as he offered friendship, a greater warmth came from him. Alessandra's father, the great Cesare himself, knelt beside her. Looking outside once more, he pet her hair tenderly, and placed a luxurious fur upon her. The poor girl seemed to calm as she cuddled the shawl she had been given, the air was, after all, quite chilly in this part of the house, and with no sun to warm the room either. "It is alright, my beauty. He won't bite. Just talk." the gentle Caesar whispered, evidently just using that shawl for pretext to tell her.

With her father returning to his standing position, Alessandra puffed out her chest a little, perhaps trying to match the macho stance of her counterpart, and took a few steps forward. She stroked the shawl, though her long-sleeved dress and her fine wrist-length gloves meant she had no practical comfort or benefit from holding it so close. She stopped for just a moment more, at which point her father, the great Cesare Jugno Udina Belisario, motioned for his eastern counterpart to step out of the room and leave the children be. "He have much to discuss while you are here," he said, and began his stride to leave. With a firm closing of the door, Alessandra was left alone in the room with Michael, and perhaps, just perhaps, a lingering Andronikos.

She looked to him once more, the feigned confidence given by her comforting shawl and her father's words of encouragement leading her to brush the hair from her face, and to finally provide an answer. She spoke, her voice a bit weak, perhaps a bit shaky, "I would like that, Michael. I would like to try." She smiled, and clasped her hands together. Taking one more glance outside to the storms, she could only hope that it might pass, that it might not be an omen. It was awfully Etruscan of her to think in such a way, that's what Papa would say, but she didn't care. Things seemed just a bit brighter now, anyway.




Ethiopia, the land of Memnon

The desert sun was overbearing. More than overbearing, really. Il Senatore Tonso had been used to the heat of Italy, the humidity of his native Venice, and he even participated in the races under such conditions. It was a pastime of his, one nobody could fault him for. This heat, though, it was different. It was both more intense and much drier, and he simply didn't quite know how to manage it. He had tried all manner of things, from being in shade to drinking, but each seemed only a partial solution. His Senatorial attire did him no favors, even if he had thought ahead enough not to wear his bold military jacket to this foreign land. No, Tonso wore the utmost ceremonial attire, old-fashioned and classical overall, a tunic and a toga just like the senate of old. He was thankful, the modern attire he was more accustomed to would kill him in such heat. Indeed, such classicalism he had foreseen the benefit of, but his case was argued moreso in needing to show the Ethiops his station as a Roman with all due pomp and ceremony. Whatever the case, it just worked out in his favor.

His own gilded chariot had been somewhat dragged along, for he had been sitting atop a horse or camel for most of the journey. Now, though, he rode in it proudly, standing and waving to crowds with his own banners flying behind in the hands of two Lombard horsemen. A red field, as red had always been the West's preferred color, but bearing the ancient eagle and the SPQR. What differed, then, was the golden text of Italia et Dalmatia wrapped around the wreath. A third banner behind the two flew the flag of the city of Ravenna, dual yellow and red, the Roman colors but also symbolic of Belisarius himself. Behind that flew the flag of the Venetian republic, a vassal of the Western Exarchate and the homeland of this proud senator. Guiding the reins of his chariot was the Shufet of Carthage, one Asdruele Barco. In his own tongue, he was Azru'el haBaraq, but Latinization served its purpose well for the Europeans of the empire.

As the chariot came to ride alongside that of the Eastern prince, Konstantinos, blah blah blah, he smiled. "Hail!" He called out, smirking with his Venetian guile, "When were the last races you went to, my boy?"
Last edited by The Ik Ka Ek Akai on Tue May 21, 2019 11:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Finland SSR
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Psychotic Dictatorship

Postby Finland SSR » Wed May 22, 2019 10:44 am

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Reino de España
January 1906

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"The region of Roussillon, also known as Northern Catalonia, French Catalonia and the Eastern Pyrenees, has historically been a cause of enmity between France and Spain. Having rapidly exchanged hands during the Middle Ages, it ultimately fell under the control of the Crown of Aragon, and thus, from 1492 onward, the Kingdom of Spain. In a period of near constant conflict between France and Spain, it stood as the Iberian nation's loyal northern frontier, and the first line of defense against any French invasion. Ultimately, however, Roussillon would switch hands in the mid 17th century in favor of a border going through the peaks of the Pyrenees, and became the staging ground for Henri Guerin's invasion of Spain one and a half centuries later. Despite this, Spain never renounced its claim upon the territory, citing that it has remained staunchly Catalan up to this day and the Catalan nation is an integral nation of the Kingdom of Spain - these claims deepened even further upon the rise of the Integrist government in Madrid, going even as far as printing official maps of the Kingdom with Roussillon included within its borders.

It has been regarded that the continuously strained relations between Spain and France are the primary reason why Roussillon remains brought up as a topic ever since."

- "The Encyclopedia of the World", 1904





Outskirts of Puigcerdà, Girona Province, Kingdom of Spain - Franco-Spanish Border at Roussillon

The inhabitants of Puigcerdà, much like many other villages on the Franco-Spanish border, have long since gotten used to the sight of military operations in their surroundings. The presence of the Spanish Army in the border regions of Catalonia, Aragon and Navarre has been consistently escalated during the previous decade - additional units were constantly raised in the regions while reinforcements from the rest of the country were taking up more and more positions in the outskirts of the Pyrenees. Holding forts, mountain passes and important towns, among others. Military exercises were a common sight, both the lower commanders and the supreme chiefs of staff commanding from Madrid were considering and preparing for both offensive and defensive actions. Both with potential allies in Europe and Spain standing alone. Both against the currently presumed French positions and the full might of the Commonwealth's armies. Of course, with plenty of fanfare and a possibility for a great, glorious victory against the northern neighbour always presumed, even against the greatest odds.

Nowhere else was the presence of the Spanish Army was as noticeable, however, as in the Spanish side of the border to Roussillon. The necessity to include it as a primary strategic objective in any grand battle plans drafted by the army headquarters was demanded by the civilian government of the kingdom, including Prime Minister and chairman of the Integrist-Traditionalist Movement, Ramon Nocedal Romea. The reasons for this were a handful, but the most important one was, obviously, nationalism. The reclamation of Roussillon has a history of being drummed up as the reason for continued revanchism against France, a role which it fills in place of the religious conflicts of the 16th and 17th centuries. Should the Frankish scourge be evicted from the precious soil of Northern Catalonia, it is no doubt that the Spanish nation will see their trust in the government reinvigorated. They'd be willing to see a hypothetical war against France to the very end.

Should such a war take place.

The Pyrenees were terrain as defensible as ever, but this defensibleness, in the form of mountains, narrow passes, forests and hills, came at some discomfort. Spanish military patrols, constantly on guard and ready to respond to the sight of even a lone French military helmet appearing in the horizon, would often find themselves struggling with the complicated environment and navigating through their patrol routes - especially since, more often than not, they were brought from other parts of the country and thus had little to no clue on the layout of the region.

The most extreme case happened near Puigcerdà today, and it could qualify for a comedy sketch were it not terrifying to anyone seeking peace in Europe. A mounted Spanish patrol party of about twenty men found their map of the region washed over by a small river stream, which meant that their only method of navigation left was their own memory. Unfortunately, the commander of the party remembered that he had visited this region a few times before and could get them back to Puigcerdà - unfortunately because his memories were of a different region and sent the party on the wrong trail. It only took a few hours for them to unknowingly cross the border and soon meet face to face with their French counterparts.

At which point, knowing the tensions, knowing the orders and knowing their lack of knowledge, the response was obvious. Open fire.
I have a severe case of addiction to writing. At least 3k words every day is my fix.

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Pasong Tirad
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Left-wing Utopia

Postby Pasong Tirad » Wed May 22, 2019 8:02 pm

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Nigiste Negestatt Zewditu at her coronation with her husband, Ras Gugsa Welle

The Great Metropolis Part 2
Mind of a Wise Man,
Heart of a Fool


"Absolutely not, your majesty!" Habte Giyorgis Dinagde exclaimed, before he could stop himself. He was a man of 55 years, tall and a little plump, beardless and with cropped hair that retained its full density despite his age and the stresses of governance. He was wearing a traditional gabi dress made out of white cloth, embroidered with the imperial colors of green, red, and gold. It has been a few weeks since Zewditu's meeting with Makonnen Alemayehu, the union congressman working at the Imperial Armory. She had completely failed to meet with him due to the business of leading a nation of twenty million. One factory laborer's petition just wasn't at the top of her priorities. The trade congressman understood this, and gave instructions to the empress' chief of staff on how to contact him in the meantime.

They were at the front steps of the palace, waiting for the Roman prince to arrive after his parade through the streets of Addis Ababa. People were gathering by the thousands, positively enthralled by the supposed beauty of Prince Konstantinos, a purple born, or whatever that meant. Zewditu herself had never understood it, as the whole extended family of the House of Solomon has been fighting for the throne for centuries before her. Any notion that one person has a better claim based on the color of the room they were born in would be laughed at. Power, military, economic, or political, was what brought a Negusa Nagast to the throne.

Noticing his lack of decorum, the Reise Mekwanint bowed low. "Apologies, your majesty, but nobody will accept this proposal. It is ludicrous! Addis Ababa is your capital, your home. To let its people have seats in the Mekwanint would leave the fate of your home in the hands of other men, men who you might not trust or know explicitly, men who have other agendas. Addis Ababa must be ruled by yourself alone."

"I believe there is merit in the proposal of the tradesmen," Zewditu responded.

"There is no merit in the howling of the hyenas, your majesty," said Habte Giyorgis. "They are rabble. Factory workers, day laborers. You reside in Addis Ababa, a central location in the Horn, in order to properly rule your empire on their behalf, and your Kantiba, Bitwoded Goshu rules Addis Ababa in your behalf."

"Speaking of the Kantiba, where is he?" she asked, looking around. Nothing but guards. They stood at the very top of the palace steps, where they had a clear view of the long avenue lined with trees and a clear, open field that led from the palace to the rest of Addis Ababa proper. From atop these steps, they would be able to catch sight of the Roman procession.

"Here, your majesty! Apologies!" said a voice from behind her. It was the lord-mayor of Addis Ababa himself, Bitwoded Wolde Tsadik Goshu, clearly sweating, running from wherever he came from inside the palace. He was a forty-year old man, tall and thin, with a balding head and a full beard.

"What on earth are you wearing?" Zewditu said, looking him up to down, appalled.

The Kantiba hesitated for a moment, before bowing low and saying "It's western dress, your majesty. I figured it would appeal to them more."

"These men aren't Latins, they're Greeks," Zewditu responded, "but do avoid calling them Greeks, will you? From what I'm told, they don't take too kindly to it. Now, where is my husband?"

"When it comes to dress, we're more modern than them, I'm afraid," Habte Giyorgis responded to the Kantiba. "The Ras Gugsa Welle is unavailable, your majesty." This was now routine for him. The empress constantly asked, out of tradition, where her husband was, for it was improper to have the Queen of Kings meet with foreign ambassadors without her consort. Sadly, she has met every single foreign diplomat without her husband since she was crowned empress.

"Ah," Zewditu said, remembering. "Right. Of course. I was hoping..." She stopped herself from continuing. The Reise Mekwanint and the Kantiba, loyal to a fault, pretended not to hear her try and continue that sentence and merely looked on at the avenue leading to the palace, waiting for the procession. Gugsa Welle, Zewditu's husband, has not seen her in close to a year now. They have barely spoken several sentences to each other since her coronation, when they left on poor terms because a queen of kings, according to traditional Ethiopian law, could not rule with a king of kings as a consort, and thus Gugsa Welle could not be crowned Negusa Nagast, something which the Oromo Ras has resented since forever. How did he show this resentment? By simply refusing to continue residing in the same residence as the empress. Habte Giyorgis himself has informed Zewditu that her husband has made it clear that he plans to outlive her, and to not provide her with any heirs. It was a childish move, and she responded as such by simply continuing to rule, all the while with no male heir - as he would take precedence over Zewditu's only daughter.

Her daughter, Le'elt Woizero Zenebework, born from a previous marriage, was now turning thirteen this year, and she had not been seen in Ethiopia since she was a baby, having grown up a hostage in Constantinople. Zewditu receives regular reports on the state of her daughter, and she writes to her regularly as a mother would write to a missed loved one. She has sent various tutors to Constantinople, as part of the imperial delegation, to make sure that the princess receives a proper Ethiopian education, but no other contact has been made between empress and princess.

Their group was now ready, just in time as the tops of the banners of the Romans could now be seen, and they could hear the jubilant cheers of the crowd following them. The prince was well liked by the people of Addis Ababa, it seemed. Beside her, Habte Giyorgis, and the Kantiba were Abuna Mattheos X, the Primate of the Ethiopian Church, and a Copt from Alexandria, so technically a subject of the Romans, and the Negadras Haile Giyorgis Woldemikael, the leader of the merchants (both Ethiopian and European) of Addis Ababa. Both of whom seem to be on separate missions to exact other kinds of deals with the Romans.

The procession was coming closer. They still hadn't entered the gates of the palace, but they were already in the open fields surrounding it. The crowd was quite large, perhaps at least a thousand men, women, and children all following the curious foreigners. She was getting rather nervous, as she has never had to deal with someone who could realistically be considered her equal. European businessmen, intellectuals, and diplomats were leagues beneath her. This man, Konstantinos, could one day be her equal, and is already way above most, if not all, of the statesmen in the palace. She was constantly smoothing out imaginary creases in her ornate habesha kemis until she was satisfied.

After several more minutes of their delegation simply watching the Romans slowly get through the Ethiopian crowds, they passed the gates of the Imperial Palace, away from the crowds who were now beginning to disperse, with a large portion of them simply sticking around and looking through the grates of the walls surrounding the palace. Their pace was a lot quicker now - no, not quicker. Just one man. One man urging the two horses of his chariot forward. It was a startlingly handsome, rugged man, perhaps only a few years younger than the empress herself, in what looked like a medieval Roman tunic. Knowing fully well that Ethiopian and Roman dress had barely changed in the centuries, she figured this would have been normal - not like her own dress was modern, she had no cause to judge his outfit. His purple cloak was flowing in the breeze as he galloped forward, far from the rest of his imperial entourage. He was obviously showing off. She caught on to this quick, and as Habte Giyorgis sighed in defeat and the Kantiba merely gave a puzzled expression, Zewditu was chuckling to herself.

When Prince Konstantinos got to the bottom of the steps, the rest of his procession was still several meters behind him, but they had also hurried on and quickened their pace to catch up to him, clearly surprised by the sudden shift in decorum of a prince galloping ahead of his own procession. By the time they got to the bottom of the steps, the athletic young man had already disembarked from his chariot and was already near to the top of the steps, where she could judge his appearance for herself - she found that he truly was not lacking in physical beauty. His skin tone was a darker shade, closer to Egyptian than to Greek from her eyes, and he was wearing some simple jewelry to show off with his bright purple cloak.

The both of them dressed their best, Zewditu thought. She, in her own white habesha kemis with patterns of the imperial colors of green, red, and gold, and no jewelry save for the simple version of her crown that she wears on a day-to-day basis; and he in his purple dress with several golden pieces of jewelry, and what looked like a golden headband wrapped around his head that she regularly saw on Roman paintings, illustrations, and old coins.

She was so enamored by his appearance, in fact, that she found herself smiling at the man, who was in turn smiling back, both of them saying nothing. He was several steps below her, but his tall stature compared to her diminutive frame barely made him look up from where he was to gaze right into her eyes. It took her Reise Mekwanint clearing his throat to get her out of her own daze.

"You like making entrances now, do you?" she said, smiling at the prince, who bowed low. It was clear that he didn't understand her. Zewditu's own translator, lurking just behind her, was unsure of whether or not to tell him what she had said. Behind the two of them, a member of the prince's entourage, the translator no doubt, was now shouting at the top of his lungs in Amharic, loud enough for everyone in the vicinity to hear, the myriad of titles that came with the rank of prince. Purple born... Despot of Morea... so on and so forth. After which, the Reise Mekwanint, feeling a little bit threatened at the impropriety of the situation, took it upon himself to shout out the many titles of the queen of kings herself - in Amharic, of course, which the translator then began shouting out in turn.

"The Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah!" the translator shouted. Zewditu was totally oblivious to how loud the man was being as he was shouting out her titles in Greek right behind her right ear. She was busy locking eyes with the handsome Roman prince in front of her. "Her Imperial Majesty! Queen of Kings of Ethiopia! Queen of Shewa! Queen of Zion! And Queen of All Ethiopians! Zewditu! Of the House of Solomon! Supreme Commander! Of the Imperial Guard! and the Imperial Army of Ethiopia! Elect of God! And Defe-" the translator's voice rose, up to a squeak. He cleared his throat as both Zewditu and Prince Konstantinos shared a chuckle at the misery of the poor translator. "And Defender of the One True Orthodox Tewahedo Faith."

The two were still chuckling to themselves when Habte Giyorgis gave the empress a stern look. "Right," she said, clearing her own throat and looking at the prince directly. "Shall we get started?"

"Your majesty!" a man said, running towards the empress. He was a young messenger, panting and sweating as he came up. "Your majesty, it appears you have other guests." He pointed to the imperial grounds. Just outside the gates of the palace there stood another, smaller procession, which was also being surrounded by adoring Ethiopians, no doubt still believing that this was merely a continuation of the earlier Roman procession. This one was led by another man in another chariot, with banners surrounding him bearing not holy icons, but the Latin letters S-P-Q-R, which Zewditu could only barely recognize.

Shocked beyond belief, Zewditu turned to Habte Giyorgis and said, "I thought the Latins weren't arriving until tomorrow?" She had remembered the reports that a senator was coming in, straight from Rome.

"Yes, your majesty," Habte Giyorgis said without looking at his empress, staring with his jaw dropped at the smaller embassy of the Western Roman Empire. "We should meet with them."

"To the detriment of the Romans?" answered Zewditu, shocked at the suggestion.

"We may offend them-"

"Do we wish to offend a senator, or a crown prince? The Latins can wait. You and the Kantiba shall act as my imperial representatives. Stay here now, and meet with them while I shall handle the prince and his embassy myself."

Zewditu proceeded to continue walking into the palace with the prince and the members of the Roman embassy when Habte Giyorgis came up, leaned into the ear of the empress and whispered to her: "Your majesty, this is highly inappropriate. I would advise you to remember that you are a married woman."

"Married to a man I never see," she said, continuing to smile to make sure nobody suspects anything wrong. "He is ruling the rest of Shewa in my name. He more than likely has access to dozens upon dozens of courtiers. He is well off and he is well loved in Shewa. He can even meet this Latin embassy if you so choose and if they demand to meet one of Ethiopia's rulers. If he finds this inappropriate then he can come to Addis Ababa and weep at my feet."



A few days after the whole fanfare of the arrival of a Roman prince from Constantinople gripped the city, Makonnen Alemayehu received word that he should head for the palace. His fellow trade congressmen have been growing impatient. He had promised them an answer within a week, before the end of Taḫišaši (December 10 - January 8 ). He had been desperately trying again and again to secure a meeting with the empress, to get updates on the situation, but it was growing clearer and clearer to Makonnen that his petition and the concerns of the laborers of the city were being ignored. He was losing hope when he received word that he should make a stop at the palace.

When he went to the palace however, he was stopped at the gates by the guards, who told him to wait out there, in the shivering cold of the late afternoon winter sun. He stood there waiting for a few minutes before the empress' Tsehafi Taezaz. He was a young man, too young to have served in the civil war, and wore the garments of court officials. "I am Seyoum Aklilu, Tsehafi Taezaz to the Nigiste Negestatt. You are Makonnen Alemayehu, trade congressman working in the Imperial Armory?"

"I am," Makonnen said, bowing his head slightly.

"No need to bow," the chief of staff answered, "I am not a noble." Makonnen apologized. "The Atse will not be seeing you today."

"What? But I was told-"

"You were told to come to the palace, which you have." There was a pause. The trade congressman was unsure of what to say, and so the empress' chief of staff continued. "Your petition has been answered. Knowing fully well that nobody in either the Mesafint nor the Mekwanint would accept the entrance of common laborers into their halls, the Atse has used her prerogative as queen of kings to accept your petition."

Makonnen's face lit up with joy at these words. "That's wonderful!"

"Her majesty has accepted your petition and has granted the laborers and common people of Addis Ababa one seat in the Mekwanint, the minister of which shall be allowed to take his seat in the next election."

Makonnen's happiness disappeared almost instantly. "One?" he asked, disbelief etched into his very bones. "Just one seat?"

"Yes," Seyoum Aklilu answered curtly. "Just one."

"My lord- I mean, sir - the Aussa province is home to twenty thousand people, and they get two seats in the Mekwanint, and their emir has a reserved place in the Mesafint. Is it not common practice in the Mekwanint that one minister should represent an average of around ten to twenty thousand Ethiopians?"

"It has not been codified into law," Seyoum answered, in his voice was a hint of disdain for the common laborer attempting to argue with him in front of the gates of the Imperial Palace. "But, it is how the previous ministers of the Mekwanint were elected, yes."

"Then it would follow tradition that more than one minister should come from Addis Ababa. There more than a million people in this city and tens of thousands of men - and even women - working in the factories, perhaps as much as a hundred thousand! Sir, how-"

"What would truly follow tradition, Makonnen," said Seyoum, now visibly irritated, "is that there would be no such thing as representation for the common rabble of Ethiopia, much less of some factory worker living in a slum in Addis Ababa!" Makonnen was more shocked than angered at this outburst. He was being wronged, he knew it - but he also knew that there were several heavily-armed guards flanking the gates and the Tsehafi Taezaz. One wrong move and they could gut him like a fish or shoot him full of holes.

"You have no right to demand of anything, and yet you were able to make a petition in front of the Queen of Kings of the Horn. Her council, her advisers all warned her that this proposal would be rejected by all if it were ever to make its way into the Mekwanint, and yet she still used her own imperial prerogative to accept your petition and grant the laborers of Addis Ababa a place in her Council of Ministers. And yet you still dare to demand more?" He wasn't just disdainful now. He was angry. His teeth were out, his nostrils were flaring, his eyes were wide open and fixed upon him, like a dog ready to charge and bite at its master's command.

"The Trade Congress would never accept this!" Makonnen said, fighting back.

"The Trade Congress is an organization of rabble who have been given a seat at the table but wish to replace the one at the head!" Seyoum spat back. "There will be no further petitions, no negotiations, no other compromise other than what has been given to you. The Mekwanint and the Mesafint are willing to look the other way when one peasant steps into their hallowed halls. It will revolt and sell the Horn to the Europeans before it accepts a hundred!"

Makonnen was quiet. He thought about it. He was right. These were the best terms the Trade Congress can perhaps get without any more push back. Makonnen had to back down. There would be no negotiation until after they were able to take their seat in the Mekwanint. One seat today could mean a dozen or even, as the Tsehafi Taezaz has said, a hundred, tomorrow.

"Does the Imperial Trade Congress of Ethiopia accept these terms, or shall we scrap them all and let you continue rotting in your factories without anybody to fight for your privileges?" Seyoum Aklilu said, disdain in his voice.

Defeated, Makonnen nodded, unable to say any more. Seyoum Aklilu accepted this nod as an acceptance, however reluctant it may be, of their terms. He held his head high and left without saying another word, the guards looking at Makonnen menacingly as the gates of the palace closed in behind the chief of staff, urging him with their steely gaze to leave lest anything untoward happen to the labor organizer.



Makonnen Alemayehu was heading home after work when he was accosted by fellow members of the trade congress, now a growing underground organization in Addis Ababa of five factories - the Imperial Armory, the Shewa Balambaras Coffee Company, the Liqawint, and the two factories of the European-Ethiopian East African Company. These five factories account for the whole population of the main trade congress of Addis Ababa - the Imperial Trade Congress, which has a population of several thousands of members, to which Makonnen is one of the principal leaders of. It is, at present, a legal organization that has not run into much push back from the bosses and factory owners and Europeans, although its powers are very diminished to the point of nonexistence outside of their respective factories and outside of Addis Ababa, and while armed men have not been dispatched to ban and dismantle the unions, their ability to expand to other factories has been curtailed extremely.

"You promised us an answer within a week of your meeting with the Atse, Makonnen," said a man who came out of a corner as he was walking home. He was on guard, as the sun was setting and the bustling city was now settling in to its less ideal nightlife. But he had no reason to be afraid, because it was his friend, Tekeda Garima, a trade congressman from the Shewa Balambaras Union, and another leader of the Imperial Trade Congress. The Shewa Balambaras Coffee Company, in charge of the hundreds of miles of lucrative coffee plantations across the province of Shewa, was the most struggling member of the trade congress due to active efforts by its leaders and the Ras of Shewa, Gugsa Welle, the husband of the empress, to defang the labor organizers.

"Yekatīti is here. It's been a whole month, brother. We need an answer, will the empress accede to our petition or not?"

Makonnen looked sullen, but he nodded. Confused, Tekeda asked: "Why are you not happy about this?"

"The empress has agreed to give the Trade Congress one seat in the Mekwanint."

"One?" Tekeda repeated incredulously. "The Worji have one representative. Two if you count their emir in the Mesafint. This is outrageous! What did you say?"

"They wouldn't budge. There was to be no negotiation. We would either accept one trade congressman in the Mekwanint, or we would get nothing."

"Pity," Tekeda said, not surprised. "Well, we don't seem to be getting much luck anywhere, brother."

"Why?" Makonnen asked. "How goes it in the rest of Shewa?"

"Not great, brother. Ras Gugsa Welle has been cracking down on us attempting to expand and organize our union. It may be peaceful here in Addis Ababa, but he has been harassing and imprisoning organizers outside it. If we don't keep our work inside Shewa Balambaras, Gugsa Welle sends his men."

"Good god," Makonnen said, his eyes wide in shock. "Have men died?"

Tekeda nodded. "A few."

"Shit!" Makonnen said, kicking a nearby lamppost. "What have you been doing now?"

"We've been going back to work, brother. Attempts to organize have been slowed down significantly, but we've been sending out men to preach." Preaching was what the Trade Congress did to hide their activities. They would use the Holy Bible as a way of getting the common people to recognize the dignity of their labor. It was a slower process, but it was more effective and much less likely to attract undue attention.

"We don't know what happened, brother," Tekeda said sullenly, "we were doing fine! We were making so much progress. We got a lot of pushback, of course, that was to be expected, but it never got violent. They used to just pay off floor managers and plantation workers to turn a blind eye when we came preaching, but now they've begun taking out the batons and beating us to a pulp. They say the Ras is going mad."

"Mad? Mad how?" Makonnen said, taking out his pipe tobacco and lighting it to fortify himself against the cold winter night.

"I don't know, brother," Tekeda said, accepting the pipe tobacco Makonnen offered, taking a whiff of it before returning it. "A preacher we had to send to the physician reports that Gugsa Welle himself came at him with a baton. He never used to do that before! They would be lectured, arrested, and even deported back into Addis Ababa or worse, out of Shewa entirely, but he was never violent. Something's happened, brother, and I would make a bet that it has to do with the Atse."

They were quiet, passing the pipe to and fro for a moment, taking in everything that's happening around them. They used to just be talking about how to better the lives of laborers in cafés and salons. Now, their own people were being harassed, threatened, and outright being murdered. "And, I have some more bad news," Tekeda said, passing the pipe back to Makonnen and rubbing his hands together.

"What?"

"The Trade Congress isn't happy, brother. They're going be even more unhappy after they find out the Atse has fucked us. They have decided to move forward."

"Move forward? What?" Makonnen said. "Without consulting me?"

"Majority opinion was that your attempts to reach out to the Nigiste Negestatt have failed," Tekeda said, not backing down despite hearing the rising anger in Makonnen's voice. His brother was nearly a foot taller than him and could easily beat him to the ground, but he knew Makonnen better than that, they had served together after all. "Several diplomatic missions were leaving for Europe. Brittany, Sweden, Rome-"

"France?" Makonnen asked, to which Tekeda nodded. "Shit, Tekeda. This was supposed to be a last resort. A last resort, do you understand what that means?"

"The Congress was becoming impatient, brother. In the weeks that you have been trying to schedule a meeting with the Atse, a factory opened up, several fledgling unions were quietly dismantled, and several thousand people believed to have sympathies for the Trade Congress were removed from their work. People are starving as you try to enter the Imperial Palace."

"Give me more time-"

"I tried to argue the same, brother, but there is no more time," Tekeda said. He was still calm. This was not his decision, this was the decision of the Congress and he was the messenger. "And even if there were, it's too late. The diplomatic missions left weeks before the Romans arrived. Several of our people were with the embassy heading for Paris. We've already sent word of the arrival of our 'agents' before the embassy left. They have already agreed to a meeting. Hell, their meeting has probably already concluded. It doesn't take that long to reach France in a European steamship."

"Fuck," said Makonnen, throwing out the burnt contents of his pipe onto the ground. "Fuck!" Several passing heads turned, but nobody lingered.

"This is a good thing, Makonnen," Tekeda said, attempting to reassure his dear friend - no, his brother. "We were able to get a meeting with a member of the French government! Imagine that, brother! This never would have happened if it weren't for you."

"'If it weren't for me.' Nonsense, Tekeda, I never wanted any of this," Makonnen said, stuffing his pipe back into his coat.

"Yes, you did. You got us together, you organized the Imperial Armory into a proper labor union, you reached out to several other newfound unions in other factories and banded us together, you taught us how to preach, how to use the word of God to rally the common man to our side. This is all your doing, brother. And we need you." Tekeda drew close, and from some unknown pocket in his trousers, he pulled out a revolver. It was loaded, it was new, and it was stamped with the logo of the Imperial Armory - the roaring Lion of Judah with a bayoneted rifle gripped in its paw instead of the cross scepter of more traditional depictions.

"Put that away, you bloody fool, you want to get us executed?" Makonnen said, rushing towards Tekeda and urging him to hide the revolver. "Who are they meeting?"

"Joseph Beaulieu, the foreign minister of the Commonwealth," Tekeda said, smiling slightly over the shocked expression in Makonnen's face. "This goes higher than you would believe, brother. We didn't just get a meeting with some union organizer or some random parliamentarian. This is the foreign minister of the French."

"Good God," Makonnen said, collapsing on a step leading up to an abandoned home behind him. It was a European-style house, as are many others in this street. Addis Ababa is prepared for the sudden influx of Europeans looking for profitable work, it would seem. Makonnen was able to steady himself with the cold, iron railing of the steps.

"That's not all," Tekeda said, unable to hide his grin. "In the morning, several of our people are meeting with the Deputy Consul of the French. Here! Right here in Addis Ababa. We're going to be giving him a report of the conditions of laborers in Addis and Shewa. We're hoping the Deputy Consul will be sympathetic and... allow that information to reach the French commons."

"Are you mad, Tekeda?" Makonnen replied after seeing the happiness in his comrade's face. "This is it," his voice was now defeated as he said this. "There's no turning back now."

"Yes," Tekeda said, "which is why we have to be ready now, more than ever, brother. More rifles need to be smuggled out of the Imperial Armory, ammunition caches need to be hidden and prepared, men need to be trained, and plans need to be drawn up. We need a leader, Makonnen, and like it or not, you're the veteran with the most experience." He took the revolver out of his trousers one again, and sat down next to Makonnen on the steps before inviting his brother to take the weapon out of his hands.

Makonnen stared at it for a few seconds before, with great hesitation, taking the weapon. It was heavy in his hand, the steel was cold and it made him shiver a little - but it felt familiar, more familiar than Makonnen would have liked and would ever admit. By the time he was an adult he was fighting for the late Negusa Nagast Menelik II the Great in his civil war against traditionalist nobles, nobles who fought against the rapid modernization of the country, nobles who fought against new opportunities for the common people to advance in society. He was a metoaleqa, the highest rank a commoner could aspire to in those days, and he lead a platoon of a hundred men through the sands of the Ogaden in the offensive that finally broke the traditionalists. With an old, single-shot breechloading rifle in his hands and a shotel sword strapped to his hip, he and his platoon fought with distinction He worked with Somalis, Oromos, Tigrayans alike. He fought for a cause, he believed that and he continues to believe that. Now, it seems, he is destined to do the same thing, fighting against more nobles standing in the way of progress for the common laborer.

He gripped the revolver, stretched out his arm, and aimed down the sight of the gun in his hand. He pulled back the hammer, and mimed shooting at the streetlight at the other side of the street before putting the hammer back in its place. Beside him, Tekeda couldn't help but hide his smile as he saw his friend, his brother, the man he fought beside in dozens of battles and skirmishes, was now handling the revolver like it was an extension of his own arm. Their soon-to-be uprising now has a commander.


In Paris, the Ethiopian embassy was just now finishing its first round of talks with Joseph Beaulieu, the foreign minister of the French. There was no fanfare with the arrival of the men of the Horn. Paris, after all, was the modern city. It received its fair share of foreign embassies every now and again, and for a veteran like Joseph Beaulieu, meetings concerning trade and the like would have been routine.

The meeting that just concluded, the one that included pretty much the whole embassy, save for several members of the household retinues, was conducted in the Chancellerie, and was very fruitful for both countries - deals have been made on the opening of more factories in Ethiopia, trade has been expanded, and several more possible investments in Addis Ababa are in the works. For several members of the embassy, however, this was not why they went here.

Birhanu Kidan, an aide to one of the many ministers that came to Paris, was ushered into a private room along with three other men - two other clandestine representatives of the Imperial Trade Congress posing as government officials, and one sympathetic soul who works as a translator. The whole embassy had, fortunately, refused Beaulieu's invitation for a nightcap at his own private office - the French foreign minister must have been briefed on the fast that the largely Tewahedo Orthodox embassy was going through. Birhanu and his two compatriots, however, were not Tewahedo Orthodox, but Catholic - a remnant of the Horn's Jesuit past. The translator, however, was Tewahedo Orthodox, but was unfortunately compelled to join them through prior arrangements with the Imperial Trade Congress.

Beaulieu's office was much smaller than the grand meeting hall that they had just used. There was a distinct lack of space, apart from the seating area around his own desk from where he can entertain guests. Bookcases lined almost every single wall in his office, filled with an assortment of tomes and manuscripts, and the few empty spaces in the walls featured various paintings of foreign cities - they could make out a painting of what appeared to be Rome and Constantinople in two of the paintings, the rest were unknown to them. Beaulieu cleared away several books and stacks of papers from his own desk, procured five wine glasses from under his desk and a bottle of wine. He asked the Ethiopians to sit, and poured them all glasses of a brandy which smelled like apples.

He sat down at his own desk, and simply stared at the Ethiopians. Taking this as a cue, Birhanu Kidan, through the translator, began his case.

"The Imperial Trade Congress is the largest union fighting for the rights of the common man in Ethiopia, but even with our status as the largest single defender of the common laborer, we are still largely ignored by the Queen of Kings." The translator was working overtime, and Beaulieu just sat there at his desk staring at a painting in his office. "Several weeks ago, one of our own was able to meet with the Queen of Kings and submit to her a personal petition for the representation of the Trade Congress in the Council of Ministers."

At this, Beaulieu stared at the translator, and then at Birhanu. The idea of a sector of society being represented in a nation's parliament was something that the Ethiopians, consciously or unconsciously, lifted from the French. The French foreign minister now looked at the representative of the Trade Congress straight in the eyes. Emboldened, Birhanu continued, through the translator.

"We were promised an answer within a week of that meeting," Birhanu said, "but we were unfortunately ignored for weeks on end, and we are probably going to keep being ignored, as the government of the Queen of KIngs simply does not care to listen to the pleas of its lowliest members." Birhanu paused. He paused for so long that even the translator was now looking at him with eyes that were begging him to continue. The next part was difficult, and he had to choose his words carefully, lest the translation somehow suggest something different from what Birhanu is proposing.

"We are," Birhanu began, slowly again, "prepared to go further should the Queen of Kings continue to ignore our pleas. Protests and strikes have done little, as they have either been broken upon, in the case of protests, or simply worked around, in the case of strikes - plenty of people in Addis Ababa are unemployed and looking for any opportunity to fill their bellies with good food, even for poor wages. The common laborer is suffering daily, and we the Imperial Trade Congress are begging you for aid, be it in the form of advisers, materiel, or even just armed men. We want to bring good news to the poor, as Christ had done, we want them to have the dignity they should be afforded in their labors. What say you, then, monsieur?"


In the morning after Makonnen's fateful meeting with the Tsehafi Taezaz, a tall, Amharic-speaking Oromo man in a European suit was secretly ushered into the embassy building of the French Commonwealth in the middle of Addis Ababa. The Imperial Trade Congress chose him due to his fluency in French (due to working in a factory owned by a French-speaking European), and due to his lighter-than-usual skin tone which might, to the general onlooker, mistake him for a Mediterranean man rather than an Ethiopian one. The man entered through a back door, away from the prying eyes of the several other European nations that litter the Diplomatic Quarter, a relatively quiet and unpopulated (compared to the rest of Addis Ababa) part of the city, just north of the Imperial Palace and the Parliament House. He was ushered into a small, windowless room with a plain cross on the wall, emblematic of the Protestant Christian faith of the French, and two plain chairs facing each other.

The man sat there for perhaps less than five minutes before the door opened once again to reveal Augustin Chaput, one of several deputy consuls working for the French embassy. He was a short man, much shorter than the Oromo man standing in front of him, and he was sweating profusely in the heat - despite it being the middle of February in the Gregorian calendar. The Oromo man himself was still wearing his own European-style coat inside this room. Augustin Chaput, he figured, was still relatively new to Ethiopia, as most of the long-time diplomats have already properly acclimatized to the African heat.

In French, Augustin Chaput orders the Oromo man to sit. The frenchman pulls his chair closer to the Ethiopian's, and begs the man to introduce himself.

"Peace be upon you," the man said in French, "I am Ali Gobana Birru. I am an Oromo Muslim, and I represent the Imperial Trade Congress of Ethiopia." Ali paused, waiting for a response of Chaput. When none came, he continued. He pulled out a letter from his coat pocket and handed it to Chaput. "This letter has been compiled through several personal accounts of the past few weeks, going in full detail the abuses the common laborer of Ethiopia has to face on a daily basis. We are hoping, through the good graces of the French government, that this letter... makes its way into the hands of the French people."

Chaput takes the letter envelope and violently tears it open to read the letter inside. It reads:

To the laborers of France who work with the protection of their dignity,

Hail!

We, the laborers of the Empire of Ethiopia write this in the hopes of pleading to you and your government to come to our aid. The workers of Addis Ababa and the Kingdom of Shewa toil under the boot of oppressive lords daily. They work from sunrise to sunset, they are paid barely enough to feed themselves, let alone their entire families, and they are routinely beaten into submission whenever they attempt to fight to reclaim their dignity from those who have taken it from them.

A representative of the Imperial Trade Congress, upon being allowed a meeting with the Queen of Kings, was summarily ignored after he petitioned for greater representation for the working men of Ethiopia in her imperial majesty's government. The trade congressman stood outside the gates of the imperial palace for weeks on end attempting to meet with the Queen of Kings as she had promised him, and to accept the petition of the laborers of Addis Ababa, but to no avail. To this day, the trade congressman is still holding out hope that the Queen of Kings will no longer be held back by the corrupt landlords and businessmen who are trying to stop her from meeting with her subjects who love and miss her tremendously.

A factory owned by a rich Ethiopian landlord for the manufacturing of leather goods had, a month prior to the writing of this letter, been opened in the imperial capital of Addis Ababa. Almost immediately, its workers attempted to organize and join the myriad of trade groups that form the Imperial Trade Congress of Ethiopia, and almost immediately, every single worker that was even suspected of having ties to the Trade Congress was kicked out of the factory and barred from returning, with all of their unpaid wages kept from them. To this day, the workers of that factory continue to toil under extremely tiring and unhealthy conditions, and at least ten people have already died since that factory has opened due to the work demanded from them by their lords.

A week prior to the writing of this letter, a man by the name of Lemma got into contact with the Imperial Trade Congress in an attempt to organize himself and his fellow workers in a coffee plantation in the Kingdom of Shewa. Upon meeting with several labor representatives, he was summarily taken away from his workplace, beaten to within an inch of his life, strung up and left for dead on the side of the road to the plantation as a warning against others who would like to organize. His wife found his body had missing fingernails on both arms, several teeth pulled out, and laceration scars etched across his back. Lemma died in his wife's arms a day later, and she is now out in the street begging for scraps to feed her infant son, who has to grow up without a father to nurture and protect him.

In the spirit of brotherhood among all the world's children of God, we implore you to beg of your government to send us aid, to stop our oppressive lords from ruling over the common man with an iron fist. We love our country, and we love our Queen of Kings, but we fear that she is being controlled much like a puppet by those who would want to cruelly and unjustly profit off the backs of Ethiopians. Let the world know that the French people stand in solidarity with the laborers of the world, may those who would dare oppress the poor quake in their boots and may their whips be taken from their hands. May these oppressive rich men weep and wail because of the misery that is coming to them.

Signed,

The laborers of Ethiopia, begging their French brothers to stand with them in their yearning for dignity
Last edited by Pasong Tirad on Thu May 23, 2019 9:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"If there is no friendship with them [the poor] and no sharing of the life of the poor, then there is no authentic commitment to liberation, because love exists only among equals."
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Reverend Norv
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Founded: Jun 20, 2014
New York Times Democracy

Postby Reverend Norv » Sun Jun 02, 2019 9:48 am

Outskirts of Bourg-Madame
Département of Rousillon
French Commonwealth


They were building a railroad.

The General Staff, in their constant wargames, had discovered a number of empirical lessons about military efficiency. Foremost among these was that a modern army moved at the speed of its infrastructure. Without roads, railroads, and canals, the finest army on Earth would be unable to maneuver fast enough to bring its power to bear.

And so the thirty divisions of the active-duty French Army - including 3rd Platoon, C Company, 2nd Battalion, 271st Régiment d'Infanterie, 27th Division d'Infanterie - spent most of their time either garrisoning fortresses, participating in the General Staff's famous summer wargames, or building infrastructure. In the case of Lieutenant Jacques Deniau's platoon, that last job meant railroads: the narrow-gauge tracks that the French Army obsessively propositioned, so that it could use handcarts or gasoline-powered miniature locomotives to move heavy artillery and large quantities of shells efficiently across difficult terrain.

So that was why some thirty eighteen-year-old Frenchmen - under the watchful gaze of a half-dozen older professional officers and NCOs - were engaged in cutting a switchbacking path into the side of a mountain deep in the Pyrenees, less than a mile from the Spanish border. The standard French infantry uniform consisted of a dark blue wool tunic and kepi, brown whipcord trousers, brown leather pack and load-bearing gear, and the famous French Army marching boots - long known as the finest in Europe. Given the January cold, most of Jacques Deniau's men had opted to keep their tunics and kepis on even as they attacked the mountainside with shovels and picks.

They had left one man on watch: Aubin Gage, a corporal from Aurillac with three years' total service under his belt - two years as a conscript, one as a professional. Coming from the heights of Cantal, Aubin was no stranger to mountains; he had grown up hunting wolves among those rugged peaks. And so he noticed immediately the distinctive sound of hooves splashing through the stream in the valley below, and when he leaned out from his position at the edge of the platoon's elevated work-site, Aubin Gage looked down and saw a Spanish cavalry officer staring back up at him through the bare trees.

"Attention!" Aubin shouted. A second later, the whine and crack of riflery made his warning redundant. A few yards behind Aubin, the pick fell from Gaubert Montclair's fingers, and Gaubert followed it to the ground, shrieking in terror like a hurt animal as he clutched at his belly.

"Allez allez allez!" Jacques Deniau shouted. All around, his men dropped their picks and shovels and bolted for the rifles and packs that they had left piled near the edges of the narrow, half-built railroad track. Aubin Gage was already flat on his belly, returning fire. Soon, a dozen other men dove into cover alongside him, shooting down the mountainside from behind trees or bushes or piles of railway ties. And now, as Jacques Deniau resolutely refused to consider the possibility that he was witnessing the start of a new European war, three reassuring facts presented themselves to Jacques' notice instead.

First: the French troops were about two hundred yards from the Spanish patrol, but they were also about fifty yards higher up the mountainside, through an expanse of boulders and dense conifers. This meant that Jacques and his men could see the Spanish much better than the Spanish could see them. It also meant that there was no clear way for the Spanish to use their horses' speed to close the distance.

Second: there were about twenty Spanish cavalrymen desperately seeking cover in the valley below. Jacques had a full-strength platoon of thirty men. Admittedly, the Spanish were professionals and the French were mostly conscripts. But the French citizen-soldier had long proved himself a match for any fighting man in Europe. And every French rifleman was equipped with a straight-pull rifle that allowed him to fire almost twice as quickly as the average foreign soldier.

Third: the French Army was the most progressive, constantly-evolving fighting force on the planet. And so Jacques' platoon did not consist only of riflemen. Since the last summer's wargames, it now included an eight-man weapons team equipped with a Maxim gun and a Stokes mortar - heavy weapons integrated at the platoon level rather than controlled by company or battalion command.

And so, two minutes after the shooting started, Cedric Fosse and Dorian Larue got the Maxim set up on top of its tripod, and a deadly line of automatic fire swept the Spanish position in the valley below from left to right and back again. Thirty seconds after that, a mortar bomb shrieked down among the Spanish to blast a plume of streamwater and gravel a dozen feet into the sky. And then another. And then another. And down the mountainside, alongside the gunfire, rolled the ancient chant of the French Reformation from Champion to Guerin: "Soit! Faite! Sa vo-lon-té! Soit! Faite! Sa vo-lon-té!"

Three minutes, two thousand rounds of ammunition, and five mortar bombs later, Jacques Deniau thrust another twelve-round clip into the breach of his rifle, and then threw up one gloved hand and jerked it up and down. Cease fire. One man at a time, the line of French troops fell silent. In the frigid winter air, the boys' breath smoked alongside their rifles, and their faces were pale and set as the potential enormity of the last five minutes began to sink in. Dorian Larue made the mistake of looking at Gaubert Montclair's body, and his hands started to shake as he fed a second canvas belt of ammunition into the breach of the Maxim.

"Rendez-vous, Espanols!" Jacques' voice was hoarse in his own ears as he bellowed at the surviving Spanish troops below. "Vous etes en territoire francais. Nous pouvons tirer toute la journée. Rendez-vous, maintenant!"

* * *


Chancellerie de la République
Paris
French Commonwealth


"What say you then, monsieur?" asked the Ethiopian translator. And Joseph Beaulieu finally looked away from the painting of Madrid that hung on the wall of his wood-paneled office, and turned in his chair to face Birhanu Kidan.

"Bring good news to the poor," he repeated softly. "Heal the brokenhearted. Liberate the captive, and let the blind see, and let the oppressed go free." The minister chuckled to himself. "Ambroise Champion quoted the same verse, before the Battle of Pavia. It is what we fight for; what we have always fought for." Beaulieu's swift green eyes studied Kidan's face. "You understand, monsieur, that it is - unexpected, for any Frenchman, to hear such sentiments as these from one who does not follow the Reformed faith. For us, liberty and godliness are inseparable. But I have spoken to the other members of my cabinet, and we are convinced that the same Spirit moves in you that moves in us - whatever name you call it by."

"So." Beaulieu took a healthy swallow of his brandy. "We have - anticipated your business here today, and I am able to give you an answer. As you know, many French companies do business in Addis Ababa. We are well aware of the ungodly oppression of your brothers and sisters: of their political disfranchisement and their economic exploitation. We have just heard by telegram how the Trade Congress has exhausted every peaceful avenue of redress, and been met with violence and murder. We have received an open letter to that effect, by wire, just this morning." Beaulieu tapped a sheet of paper on his desk, the transcript of the message that Ali Gobana Birru had given to Augustin Chaput.

"And so we have had abundant time to decide on our response to this, your anticipated query. The answer of the French Commonwealth is as follows." Beaulieu leaned forward and held Birhanu Kidan's gaze. "There is one and only one thing that we cannot do, monsieur, and that is to deploy large numbers of French troops to eastern Africa. The lesson of the Cyprus campaign was well-learned in the General Staff. Expeditionary forces cannot be resupplied reliably when the Papists and idolaters control the Eastern Mediterranean and the Suez Canal. And so I could not offer you an army of liberation - even if you desired it."

A slight smile flickered across Beaulieu's face. "But everything short of that, I can and will offer you. Arms - magazine-fed, straight-pull bolt action rifles, the latest in French military technology, brought into the country by whatever means you can devise. Maxim guns. Trench mortars. High explosives. If you can secure and hold a port facility, even field artillery." Beaulieu ticked off the items on his fingers as he spoke. "I can also offer you advisers and trainers: six hundred to start, more to follow if you need them. Plainclothes men; no uniforms. They will come from the troupes coloniales: units specifically trained to fight a guerrilla war from behind the enemy's lines. Ordinary French Army officers would be of limited use for you, in the sort of conflict that will be necessary to secure your rights. But these men? They will take to it like fish to water."

"And I can offer you one final thing, monsieur: recognition." Beaulieu finished his glass of Calvados and then refilled it. "The Parlement of the French Commonwealth will recognize the justice of your complaint, and the legitimacy of your struggle. In every world capital, we will assert that you are neither rebels nor traitors, but true Ethiopian patriots asserting the most basic rights of a free people. We will make it clear that those nations which side against you, side against the French Commonwealth. We will be your faithful advocates and true friends. And when victory is won, I hope you will return the favor."

* * *


Parlement de la République
Paris
French Commonwealth


"And again I quote," thundered Déodat Bonnet, one hand raised like a preacher at the pulpit, "again I quote, messieurs-mesdames, from the very words of those who have suffered these crimes, that for the offense of seeking justice for his fellow workers, this man Lemma 'was summarily taken away from his workplace, beaten to within an inch of his life, strung up and left for dead on the side of the road to the plantation as a warning against others who would like to organize. His wife found his body had missing fingernails on both arms, several teeth pulled out, and laceration scars etched across his back.' And he died in her arms a day later."

The Parlement of Paris was an old building, as old as the Commonwealth itself: a vaulted whitewashed space like a Huguenot church, where the parliamentarians sat on simple wooden pews. Bonnet, the Justice Minister, was widely acknowledged as the Reformed Party's most gifted speaker. When Paul-Henri Maturin needed to make his government's case to the Senate and the National Assembly in joint session, it was usually Bonnet who took the floor. There was a reason for that: now, as Bonnet plowed ahead with his speech, the faces of most of the Reformed Party's parliamentarians showed various mixtures of fury and revulsion, and even most of the Commonwealth Party's representatives seemed slightly queasy.

"And now we hear that our troops have been fired upon at the Spanish border." Bonnet nodded fiercely. "Do we not see the hand of Providence in the conjunction of these two events? The cry for aid of a people laboring under tyranny, and this reminder of that same tyranny's ceaseless aggression upon our own frontiers?" Bonnet's tempo built. "How can we deny, on this day of all days, that the cause of this Commonwealth is the cause of all the world: of godliness, of justice, of Christian liberty? How can we deny that whenever that cause is attacked anywhere, whether in the plantations of Ethiopia or in the mountains of Rousillon, it is attacked everywhere?" Bonnet brandished the telegram from Addis Ababa. "I ask you, messieurs-mesdames: are God's children to be parsed by the color of their travel papers? If we allow Satan free reign in Shewa, can we feign surprise when his minions encroach our borders as well? Are we to wait for our reverend fathers to suffer the fate of Monsieur Lemma?"

"Jamais!" thundered Claude Fortier. Right on cue, Maturin thought. The backbencher from Toulon might be a disaster as a politician, but he had the credibility that only a dockworker who had faced down the gendarmes could claim. We will have to print a broadsheet of this speech, Maturin realized. It will be good reading in every workingman's tavern over their evening glass of wine.

"Jamais indeed, messieurs," Déodat Bonnet intoned soberly. "There can be no compromise with cruelty, or oppression, or exploitation, or tyranny: for to compromise with such as these is to make covenant with the powers of Hell. We have fought those powers for our whole life as a nation. We fought them at Pavia." There was a low rumble of approval from the Reformed Party benches, and Bonnet's voice began to rise again as he recited the hallowed list. "At Girona. At Cologne. At Stolp. At Grenoble. On Cyprus. At Nuremberg. At the Verian Wall. In the streets of accursed Rome itself!" Bonnet spread his hands and declaimed: "Are we our fathers' sons, messieurs? Shall we shirk the cross they bore, for God and freedom? No, never, jamais, a thousand times jamais!"

The dam broke. The Reformed parliamentarians were on their feet now, roaring their support, and several dozen of their colleagues from the opposition had joined them as well. Déodat Bonnet's practiced voice rolled above the din, ringing from the centuries-old rafters of the Parlement hall. "And so I say ye aye to the government's motion to give all necessary and proper support, moral and material, to those brave men and women who are fighting for their freedom in East Africa. And I say ye aye to the government's motion to mobilize ten reserve divisions to the Spanish frontier. And I say aye to every act that shows this world that we are our fathers' sons, that we do not shirk their cross, that we shall face any foe and pay any price to drive the tyranny of godless men back into the shadows once and for all!"

Bonnet let his arms fell, and the tension in the room broke like fine glass, so that the parliamentarians folded back into their seats, almost limp with emotional catharsis. "So say I, messieurs-mesdames," the justice minister concluded. "What say you all?"

Paul-Henri Maturin didn't need to wait for the votes to be counted to know the answer to that question. And he promised himself that before the presses fell silent, a broadsheet of Bonnet's speech would be nailed to the door of every town hall in the French Commonwealth.

* * *


Port of Mogadishu
Somalia
Ethiopian Empire


In theory, Louis Renaud was an import-export specialist for the Rhône-Poulenc chemical company, which derived many of the organic raw materials for its products from Ethiopian plantations. That was what he had told everyone at the port authority when he disembarked: another French middle-management officer, a testament to the Commonwealth's vibrantly competitive economy, coming to spread the blessings of capitalism by milking Ethiopia's subtropical soil and cheap labor for all it was worth. The story was plausible enough; many thousands of Frenchmen were in the country at that very moment, for that very reason.

But Louis Renaud was not one of them. Despite his khaki safari suit and broad-brimmed pith helmet - the spitting image of the modern French businessman abroad - Louis Renaud was a captain in the Cape Colony Defense Force: the troupes coloniales. For fifteen years, knowing that the French Navy would be overstretched in the event of war, he had been preparing for the conflict that would inevitably see his home cut off from the motherland and invaded. And then, Renaud knew, his real job would start: to take to the hills, and organize men of all races to resist foreign occupation, and wage an endless war of the ambush and booby trap until the foe fled back into the southern ocean.

That was, after all, the job of the troupes coloniales: to fight the small war, the dirty war, the war far from Paris against overwhelming odds. And now, Louis Renaud was ready to do the same job - only this time he was doing it in Ethiopia.

The Mogadishu heat didn't bother Renaud. He had been born and raised in Africa. His steady, swinging gait carried him quickly to where two local dockworkers were loading crates stamped with the Rhône-Poulenc logo onto a wagon. These men were reliable, the telegram from Paris had said. They were workers, on the side of the workers. To the distinctly bourgeois Captain Louis Renaud, that phrasing had an odd ring to it. But he went where he was told.

The passphrase was given and exchanged. In three weeks aboard ship, Renaud had learned enough Amharic for that, at least. Then he climbed onto the bench of the wagon, and one of the dockworkers got on next to him. The man spoke very quickly in Amharic, too quickly for Renaud to understand fully, though he followed something about loading the wagon's cargo onto the new railroad a few stations outside Mogadishu, and unloading it again a few miles outside Addis Ababa, to avoid any potential search of goods leaving the port or entering the capital. Renaud sat and breathed shallowly of the dust of the road while his companion alternatively chattered in Amharic and urged the mules on toward the outskirts of the city.

It was most of an hour before the dockworker ran out of subjects for his incomprehensible monologue. He fell silent for a few moments, and then glanced over at Renaud. "Ferenisawi?" he asked.

"Oui," said Renaud. He reached under the collar of his khaki twill jacket and pulled out a silver Huguenot cross on a fine chain.

The dockworker nodded. A muscle moved in his cheek. "Wetaderi?" he pressed. Soldier?

"Oui." This time, Renaud opened his jacket slightly. A standard French Army sidearm sat in a holster at his side, with the distinctive box magazine and broomhandle-like grip clearly visible from where the dockworker sat.

The man nodded again. He was absorbing this new, concrete reality, Renaud realized: coming to terms with the way that the course of his life had changed, with the way that his country's history was about to change. He glanced back over his shoulder, at the crates stamped with the Rhône-Poulenc logo. "T’emenijawochi?"

"Oui," Renaud confirmed. "They are guns. Rubin rifles. One-hundred-twenty, with eight thousand rounds of ammunition. And a Maxim gun."

The dockworker's confused glance indicated that he had only half-followed Renaud's explanation. But one word clearly stood out. "Maxim?" the man asked. His tone was hushed, as if the word itself were either sacred or terribly profane. Perhaps both, Renaud thought.

"Oui," the Frenchman replied. "Maxim."

The dockworker's low whistle required no translation. He called out to his mules, and the wagon rolled on into a more dangerous future.
Last edited by Reverend Norv on Sun Jun 02, 2019 12:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
For really, I think that the poorest he that is in England hath a life to live as the greatest he. And therefore truly, Sir, I think it's clear that every man that is to live under a Government ought first by his own consent to put himself under that Government. And I do think that the poorest man in England is not at all bound in a strict sense to that Government that he hath not had a voice to put himself under.
Col. Thomas Rainsborough, Putney Debates, 1647

A God who let us prove His existence would be an idol.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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Kazarogkai
Powerbroker
 
Posts: 7769
Founded: Jan 27, 2012
Moralistic Democracy

Postby Kazarogkai » Wed Jun 19, 2019 2:33 pm



Near the SW frontier of Guyanam a dozen or so miles south of Swedish held Venezuela
Fort Aluma
Lieutenant Michael "Clay" Noahson


Deep within the depths of the green and living hell known simply as the Amazon named presumably after the mythical warrior women of legend lied a simple Fort known as Aluma, or Arise in English. The fort itself was a rather simple and unassuming affair designed from the get go to blend in with the local area to distant and watching eyes so as to escape notice from any who might be looking. Primarily composed of earthworks consisting of 2 earthen ramparts on the side stacked atop one another each with a simple trench and a low horizontal log wall. At the top and center lied a small series of sunken structures also composed of logs with thatched roofs of palm fronds. Only small smokeless fire pits were allowed for warmth to prevent enemy detection with garrisoned troops primarily subsisting on foods like hard tacks, bush fruit, and salted meats which didn't need cooking.

All this for what was an essential part of the overall grand strategy of the overall grand ideals and goals of this nation. This Fort was the final leg in a series of forward operating bases for the Guyanese backed revolutionaries, the final stop before entering the abyss so to speak. From here they would be gathered, briefed, provisioned, and set off to Swedish colonial territory from where they would scatter and set off to form or join existing revolutionary base areas located within the aforementioned territory. From there the struggle would continue the great and relentless and righteous struggle from which Guyana has from it's very start set itself out to accomplish and which formed one of the key pillars of it's very reason to exist. The total liberation of the New World from monarchism and colonialism and other corrupt influences from the Old World. The lands there as a whole like Sodom and Gomorrah were to far gone from the favor of Heaven and must be pushed out lest they corrupt this new and purer world.

Within this Fort named Arise was a man known as Michael by birth thought his military name and what he was referred to as for all intents and purposes within this realm was Clay, Lieutenant Clay. He was a robust type of figure of both mind and body standing an impressive 5'8 which placed him head and shoulders above his contemporaries. His skin was coal, eyes brown, and his hair short and woolly clearly displaying a significant African ancestry with his features contrasting rather strikingly with the white Cotton uniform that he kept in impeccable shape both out of pride and a keen sense of personal dignity. When he walked it was with a total sense of confidence within every step he took within every breath he made and with every action taken. Though his beginnings would be humble this was a man destined for something great. Though only time would tell.

Clay was a bit of an anomaly considering the conditions of this land and the normal expectations being that he was a Freeman in a Maroon dominated field. To make a long story short both during and after the war of independence with Spain the principle leadership class that formed the foundation from which the nation stood atop were the Maroons. Their strong tribal organization and military skills and knowledge made them the most obvious for the task especially after the elimination by Solomon of the creole colored population. He feared they would be little better than the whites from which many of them had spawned from typically being the result of conception of a master and a slave woman. During his slave years the house slaves which they formed the bulk of in many ways were little better than the masters typically functioning as overseers to keep the rest in line, a job they performed gleefully, all so that they could have just a little more privileges and freedoms.

In the beginning During and after independence the Maroons would form the bulk of both the military and political elite despite their population only ever being about 20% compared to their Freemen counterparts who formed the remainder. But as time went by and especially after the death of Solomon in 1820 with a population that was becoming more educated and skilled day by day the Freeman, the descendants of former slaves, began to rise. It was a peaceful transition being that there was no significant resentment from either side and eventually an unspoken accord was struck. The Freeman would form the bulk of the Political elite and dominate in that arena while the Maroons would continue to maintain control over and dominate positions in the Military. Within the military the Maroons form a clear majority within the most high ranking positions numbering around 70% of all officers despite as mentioned before being only about 20% of the population.

Hence why Clay is such an anomaly being a freeman and all, though not an unwelcome one. His stay in military Academy in which he was the top of his class and upon conscription in his first year his successful leadership in helping put down a group of bandits have earned him both praise and notice. Clay's accomplishment in successfully maneuvering within the political sphere carefully navigating through already well established patronage networks have kept him in good graces allowing him to rise through the ranks rather well. At just 26 and with such limitless potential the sky is very much the limit for this young man.

Making his way along through the camp with a certain mild swagger he inspected the troops that were before him. Consisting of Venezuelan Guerrillas who numbered 120 strong clothed in plain clothes and accompanied by 24 Guyanese Legionaries clothed in their regular uniforms this was a reasonably formidable force. Upon making their way unto the Fort they had been reequipped with new weaponry and as such were surprisingly well armed being equipped with the latest in Guyanese light Arms. Notably with the Guyanese SR-402 Rifles alongside that they had a single maxim gun and a pair of light 4-barreled Gatling guns stored in pieces in a few boxes which while a bit primitive would serve them reasonably well when the time came.

Though as a lieutenant Clay didn't have overall command of the unit he served directly underneath the commander of the force alongside 10 others who functioned as the HQ. He held the ear of the Commander named Blood-Arrow and as such was always present when decisions necessarily needed to be made. As of now the Commander was weighing his options in terms of when to move. After a bit of discussion and when everyone was satisfied with consensus reached within the HQ the decision was made to move out now. Though yes it was still daytime they figured considering the terrain, deep within the amazon, that they could approach the border without much undue attention and it would be a good long while before they reached the Swedish Venezuala border by the time they did it would be night. The perfect time to cross, in what their scouts had determined was at the moment a rather lightly patrolled area known as the Venezuela Maroa district in the greater Venezuelan Amazona region which as a whole was regarded as bandit country by the local authorities. A good place as any for them to try to insert this band of Revolutionaries.

With discussion ended preparations were made to set out. The troops were mobilized and inspected, equipment checked, and supplies accounted for. With that the party of 156 men(120 Irregulars, 24 Legionaries, and 12 HQ staff) made it's way out of the Fort known as Aluma toward what would be their destiny. Whether it would be a fortunate one or not was hard to determine. Only time could tell. But as the men quietly marched their way along striding head first they were for now undaunted and unafraid. These were men, not young boys scared in their breaches but men true in every sense of the word.

Onward to Victory
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Tracian Empire
Postmaster of the Fleet
 
Posts: 24111
Founded: Mar 01, 2014
Father Knows Best State

Postby Tracian Empire » Tue Jun 25, 2019 11:31 pm

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Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων
Βασιλεία Ῥωμαίων
Basileia tōn Rhōmaiōn
Basileía Rhōmaíōn

The Empire of the Romans
The Roman Empire

Η βασιλεύς Σύγκλητος και ο Λαός της Ρώμης
I Basileus Sýnklitos kai o Laós tis Rómis
The Emperor, Senate and People of Rome

Βασιλεύς Βασιλέων Βασιλεύων Βασιλευόντων!
Basiléus Basiléon Basilévon Basilevónton!
Emperor or Emperors, Ruling Over Those Who Rule!






Addis Ababa, 1906 AC
Αντίς Αμπέμπα, 7414 ε.Κ


The city of Addis Ababa was an interesting place, familiar and mysterious, normal and exotic at the same time. Of course, it couldn't be compared to the Queen of Cities, but it clearly had its own flavor. For someone who had indulged in the countless pleasures of the City of the World's Desire as much as the prince did, such a city should have been nothing more than a bland and boring shadow, but Konstantinos knew all too well that each city had its own flavor..and if given the opportunity, he was certainly going to try to see what distractions Ethiopia's capital offered. And after all, it couldn't be worse than the boring and inflexible Mystras.

The people of Addis Ababa certainly seemed to like the parade, which was hardly surprising. The Romans were quite a glamorous view, with their proud soldiers, fancy soldiers, uniforms, and armors, and of course, their prince. Of course, having a parade through a potentially hostile city was never a safe choice, but the simple gifts that the soldiers were giving to the crowd were more than enough to temporarily curtail any spontaneous anti-Roman manifestation. And of course, since this was about the empire's heir, from place to place, the cheering Ethiopians were in fact not actually cheering and perhaps not even Ethiopians. The aggeliaphóroi were watching their prince, as they should.

Leaving that aside, everyone loved a good show. And the prince was perhaps a lot more than that. Very few Ethiopians would have understood the significance of being a Porphyrogénnētos, but exactly that made the title more.. mysterious. Not that Konstantinos would have needed a title to impress people. Someone had once told him that he looked exactly like how the Greeks and Romans of old used to imagine their gods..and besides, he knew all too well how to impress a crowd. The amount of people that had gathered to watch him and the parade was certainly impressive, but it couldn't be compared to a cheering and roaring Hippodrome filled with the people of the demes. Compared to what happened every time the Venetoi and the Prasinoi would gather to watch the races.. this was quite relaxing.

Unfortunately for poor Konstantinos, the great day that he was having was suddenly and rather rudely interrupted by the appearance of a different delegation, one that he was certainly not expecting. He had nothing against the Romans of the West, after all, the City of the World's Desire had given him a few opportunities to become close to some daughters of the Old Rome, and those had been some very enjoyable experiences. Politics had also never been something he enjoyed. But to see these so called Romans carrying the flag of that accursed republic, the flag of the descendants of those fat and treacherous merchants who had dared to attack the Great City, driven forward by their greed? It was shameful..

And of course, it seemed that this Western delegate had no manners.. or maybe he stood out in the sun too much. The prince wasn't exactly a man of customs and ceremonials, the court back in Constantinople was hell, which was rather ironic, since the countless rules and practices were supposed to mirror heaven, at least if you were old that old, purple born madman Emperor with his horrifying book. Plus, it's not like the people in the less than savory parts of the city that he often visited were the kind to kneel and address him by his proper titles.

Still, a wonderful day, ruined.

"Hail, old man!", the prince responded, with a sly smile on his face. "It's difficult to say.. when you're right there, in the hippodrome, competing, you don't tend to think of what day it is. Plus, ever since my father died, I've taken part in so many races that I've lost count...a few weeks ago, maybe." A few silent moments passed, as the prince saluted the crowd again, before he looked back at the Venetian senator, talking with the same nonchalance as before. "I'd ask you the same thing, but..I'm not exactly interested in hearing about the races of your long lost youth. But still.. you have a chariot, I have a chariot.. if your old bones aren't too afraid, we could give the people of this city an improvised race.. "




Not that much time later, a chariot at full speed passed through the gates of the Imperial Palace, way ahead of the rest of his delegation. Despite the best efforts of his men and of the other Roman delegation to catch up, Konstantinos was the first to arrive, his purple cloak flowing in the wind, his horses galloping forward. He hadn't been completely honest with the senator - it had been a little more than two weeks ever since his latest race, but that was exactly why his blood had been boiling for another one. Also unfortunately for the Venetian, the Hippodrome hadn't been the only place where Konstantinos had led his chariot - the prince was a well known presence in some of the hmm.. not necessarily legal and approved races happening in the streets of Constantinople.

Still, the race had been a close one - he had to tell something to this senator at some point - that he wasn't completely useless in a chariot. Or well, maybe a little more than that.

As he stopped in front of the palace itself, he basically jumped out of his chariot, only stopping for a brief moment to see if his horses were alright, before turning around to look at the Ethiopian delegation. It wasn't that difficult to understand who the Empress was, but as he walked towards her, he had to admit... that this was a pleasant surprise. A very pleasant surprise indeed. As she smiled at him, he couldn't help but smile back, even as he bowed. She said something in her language, which of course he couldn't understand, but as his own translator arrived and started to shout his titles in Amharic. Then another translator started to shout her titles, but in the Romaiika that he could understand.. and yet, if anyone would have asked him right there and then, he wouldn't have been able to remember any of them. He just continued to look at Zewitu, smiling, the two of them looking at each other as if the ceremony around them didn't even exist. Of course, the poor translator had a difficult job, and the two of them couldn't help but chuckle at his squeak.

As the introduction finally ended, Zewitu was interrupted by what looked to be a messenger, and Konstantinos took this opportunity to quietly ask one of the diplomats behind him something, involuntarily abandoning his pure, literary Romaiika for the dialect spoken in the New Rome. He vaguely remembered the Logothete of the Drome telling him that the Empress of Ethiopia was married.. and yet, none of the men around her seemed to be her husband. Sadly, it was a mystery that he was unable to understand now, as they finally entered the palace. Still, Konstantinos couldn't help but notice that the other Ethiopian officials weren't following them, and the Empress herself was leading his delegation into the palace.. well, this was going to be interesting. The prince barely paid any attention to the palace itself however, as his eyes remained fixated on the Empress until they finally reached wherever their meeting was going to take place.

"Many years to you, Basilissa!", Konstantinos started to speak, bowing again as his translator remained quiet for a few good moments, before a glance from the prince finally made him do his job. Of course, that hesitation had been completely pointless, since the meaning of the title for the Romans wasn't going to matter in Amharic, but its usage had clearly shocked the Roman delegation standing behind their prince, it was almost as if.. Konstantinos hadn't discussed this with his entourage before, which.. wasn't all that surprising considering the hazel eyed prince's laid-back nature. If Andronikos would have been alive to see what his two sons had been planning, he would have probably had a heart attack, and the thought that his father would have hated it was what made Konstantinos agree to take part into this diplomatic mission to begin with. After all, diplomacy was tedious.. but looking at Zewditu in front of him, the purple cloaked man smiled again. Maybe this trip wasn't going to be as dull as he had thought.

"I have heard many stories about the beauty and wisdom of the heiress of the Queen of Sheba, but it seems the truth is even more impressive. Of course, I could not have come to meet such a heavenly Empress empty-handed, so please accept these humble gifts as a sign of our respect and admiration." As the translator started to speak again, Konstantinos gestured towards his entourage, and some of the men brought three small, wooden chests forward, putting them on the ground in front of Zewitu, and opening them to show their contents. Despite the prince's description, they were all but modest - one of them was filled with clothes, worthy of an Empress, some in the style of Constantinople, others clearly following the model of the traditional Ethiopian attire, made from what looked to be the finest Roman silk. The second chest was filled with jewelry, of all forms, shapes, and colors, and once again, as the men took a few of them out to present them to the Ethiopian monarch, it looked as if some of them were what a Roman princess would have worn, while others seemed to masterfully imitate the kind of jewelry that would have been popular in the court of Addis Ababa. The third chest was less glamorous, but impressive nonetheless, - books. Even if the Romans took out a few of them and presented them, it was certainly impossible to read their titles, but as the translator shortly explained, a few where great works of the Roman civilization, translated, while the rest were creations of the Oriental Orthodoxy, confiscated by the Romans throughout the ages. "But, since we know that your Majesty lives in order to protect and serve her subjects, the people of Ethiopia, we have also brought a more practical gift with us. If your Majesty will accept it, a shipment of the newest pistols that my Empire has will be brought to Addis Ababa, together with the plans and schematics needed to produce more. Your Majesty can then give those pistols to Ethiopia's proud soldiers, to help in their efforts to protect their Empress and their people."

The men then moved the chests to wherever they were instructed to. The Roman prince still had the same smile on his face as his translator caught up to him. "It truly is an honor to be here, and in the name of Rome, I would like to thank your Majesty for accepting to meet with our delegation, despite the tensions that my father created, and despite the fact that many of your Majesty's subjects understandably do not have much love for our empire. I have come here in person at the request of my brother, the Emperor and Autocrat of the Romans, to show how important the relations between Rhomania and Ethiopia are for us. A simple diplomat wouldn't have been enough, and that is why my Basileus has sent me, his brother, a prince born in the purple and his current heir, to talk on his behalf. My brother wants to make it clear that he is not our father. Whatever the late Basileus, Andronikos, has done, no longer matters. It is our belief that our father was too aggressive and reckless in his foreign policy, making enemies where Rome could have made friends. We can only apologize for how the help our father has offered your Majesty's father ended, but we can ensure the people of Ethiopia that the empire sees them as friends and equals, regardless of the mistakes of the past were." And Konstantinos hesitated for a second. "The Roman Emperors of old considered the Kings of Axum to be their equals, and it only seems fair that the Roman Emperor that reigns to day would do the same for the heiress of Axum. But of course, a ceremonial recognition and the usage of a title that only makes sense to us and to our world is not going to change much. So to begin with, my Basileus would like to propose a renegotiation of the agreement that was reached between the Basileus Andronikos and the Negusa Nagast Menelik the Great, beginning with the Empire of the Romans voluntarily abandoning its administration of the rebel regions of Ethiopia that it occupied, and with those regions being returned to the authority of Ethiopia as soon and as smoothly as possible."




Ρώμη, 1906 μ.Χ., 7414 ε.Κ
Roma, MMDCLIX AUC
An Emperor and an Empress


As the tense moments filled with silence passed, Michael thought that he had imagined all the ways in which Alessandra could possibly react, all the ways in which this weird game of imperial taunting could continue. And yet, instead of saying anything, instead of taking a jab and how the name of his dynasty meant "old word", instead of attacking his family's claim of descendance from Constantine the Great, instead of mentioning that his name came from Hebrew, or just continuing the ages long joke about how the Romans of the East were in this funny situation where they were speaking Greek instead of a Latin language and just straight up insult him by calling him " Imperator Graecorum" or something.

Instead, as she turned around to face him, her eye twitched, and she clapped her hands together, the sound made by her gloves making Michael take a step back, as if he was expecting her to slap him or something along those lines. She clearly tried to speak, but instead of any of the countless possible comebacks that she could throw at him, she stuttered something, as if she was having a seizure, before she sighed, closing her eyes. Not completely discounting the possibility that she had just been suddenly possessed by some sort of a demon, Michael waited for a few more moments, as she opened her eyes again, looking at him as if she was trying to steal his soul. And then, she finally said something. Something he would have never expected to hear.

"There you are, Andronicus."

Having the gates of hell open in the ground beneath them would have been less of a surprise.. and the fall into the flames of the underworld would have probably hurt less. Just when he had finally escaped his father's shadow, just when he was finally free of everything that his father had wanted him to be, just when he was trying to do something that he would have never done...someone thought that he was just like him. It was the thing that he hated the most in the entire world, the same phrase that he had heard again and again at his coronation, from people who probably just wanted to praise him, not knowing how much it hurt. The same phrase, just said in a different, more direct way that hurt even more. You are just like your father.

His first reaction was certainly to get angry. How dared she? How dared she compare him to that mad old man? She knew nothing, nothing at all. She had no idea who he was, or what he had gone through, how Andronikos had tried to control ever single little part of his life for as long as he could remember, how his father had tried everything he could to turn him into the successor he needed, to make him.. into the kind of emperor that Andronikos wanted to be. Before his anger could even flare, shame doused it. This would have been the exact way in which his father would have reacted. He would have left his wrath get the better of him, he would have reacted violently, and he would have tried to prove that the person judging him was inferior, worthless.

Maybe he was just like his father, in a way. Maybe it actually was far too late to escape from under his father's shadow. Maybe that was how everyone else saw him, maybe that was what everyone expected him to be like. Maybe this was how history was going to remember him, as simply another part of his father's plan. The arrogant, stubborn, and hateful Andronikos, ready to sacrifice anything to protect his pride and arrogance, even the life of his own sons.. and while thinking about that, Michael couldn't help but touch his chest. Was this what he was going to become too?

No. Never. Andronikos was gone. His father might have controlled what he was going to become when he was little, controlling everything that he learned, preparing him with all those teachers to become the perfect Emperor, but now he could make his own choices. Maybe he really was a little like his father, as much as he hated the thought, but it didn't matter. He could still do whatever he wanted, he could still do what Andronikos would have never done. And here... Andronikos would have never tried to think about what the other person was feeling.

So as his shock started to dissipate, he started to glare back at Alessandra. So much time had passed ever since their meeting as little children, so he couldn't hope to understand what she was thinking.. but he could at least try. Andronikos had been one of, or perhaps even the biggest supporter of those who believed that the Western Empire had no right to be an independent or even an autonomous entity, those who believed that Rome should truly be in Roman hands again, or well, in East Roman hands. Who knew how much the old man had tried to pressure Alessandra's father during his reign.. and after all, he had also tried to ruin her own coronation, by demanding that she would come to Constantinople to take her crown and imperial insignia straight from his hands, to confirm her subordination and to humiliate her, or at least, that's what he had heard, even if he had refused to believe it. But if that was true.. it all made sense. Her defensive attitude, her refusal to believe him... he had thought that just his presence here would be enough. He had thought that he could just come here, talk to her and fix everything, that just by talking to her he could erase everything that his father had done. How naive he had been. He still felt as if he lived under his father's shadow, and that thought never completely abandoned him.. but what he hadn't thought about at all was.. what if his father's shadow had affected her too?

"I'm sorry.". the amber eyed Emperor finally managed to say. "Despite my best efforts, I sometimes forget that most of what I know was what my father wanted me to learn, and that taunting can so easily get out of control. For as long as I can remember, my father told me that that the people of West will always try to deny us our Romanity, and that it was important for me to understand what he called the truth. He loved telling me about how the West had forsaken Rome, of how the light should forever shine on the New Rome, about how I should always remember that we are the true Romans. But why does it matter? Being Roman is more than about just speaking Latin or Romaiika. But there was something that he told me that was true. And that was that lost bloodlines do not matter. Caesar isn't here anymore to lead his legions against the barbarians in Gallia. But you and I are here. And that is all that matters." And Michael sighed. "I thought that I could just come in here and everything could be well, that I could ignore the politicians and senators back at home and just do what I believed in. I'm sorry that through all of that, I forgot to think about what you would think. Maybe I truly am a little like my father, but I am not him, and I will not act like him. Tell me, my Cesara, how could I prove to you that I am not Andronikos?"


Many years ago, a Tuscan countryside estate
A princess and a prince


A few more rather tense moments passed, as Michael was waiting for the girl in front of him to say something, but instead of that, her father, the Caesar of the West as his father had called him, knelt beside her, petting her hair and giving her a shawl made of what looked to be fur. The amber eyed boy was never going to admit it..but that man was intimidating. Never before had he met someone who seemed to be as powerful as his father. Never before had he met someone who didn't have to kneel in front of his father, or at least to bow. From what some of the servants had told him, this man was the one ruling over the Old Rome, which only meant that he had to be powerful - after all, he was named after that Caesar.. but telling his father about it had been a mistake. Michael could still remember his fury as he had asked him if the man they were going to meet was as powerful as him. He just wanted to understand it, Basileus was after all not the name of one of those Roman heroes of the stories. His father had become very angry because of it, but at least now he understood. Apparently, the man's title did not matter, because he was going to become a Caesar soon too. And it wasn't like this man was stronger than his father, it was just that this man wouldn't admit it. Did this have something to do with this meeting here? Did this have something to do with why he was meeting this girl? He had no idea.. but it didn't matter. His father hadn't told him anything, he never did, those matters were far too important for him to understand. When he had asked her if they could be friends, he... he had meant it. He still couldn't exactly understand why that man wasn't as important as his father, but this girl in front of him.. she had to be the same as him. She was a princess, he was prince.. and they were both Romans. Which meant.. which meant that maybe, maybe she wouldn't be intimidated just because he was prince. Maybe, maybe she could get over it, ignore it. Maybe she wasn't going to put a wall between them, like everyone who ever talked with him had. Your Highness that, my prince that, he hated it.

The Caesar seemed to whisper something to her, but as she took a few steps forward, Michael's expression remained the same, with the same gentle smile on his face. It was something he had learned long ago. As long as he was wearing a mask, it didn't matter how he actually felt.. just give people what they wanted to see. The Caesar told the Basileus that they should leave the room, and the Eastern Emperor followed him, lingering in the room for just a few more moments as he looked as his son. "Remember who you are, Michael. Make Rome proud.", he told him in the language of the East. And then, with the door being closed, they were alone.

Which was.. terrifying actually. For the first time ever since the meeting had started, Michael calmed down a little, even if it might have not been all that obvious. His posture relaxed a little bit, and for a brief moment, there actually seemed to be a bit of sadness in his smile. And perhaps a bit more obvious than that, he started to shiver a little. It was indeed quite chilly in there, and while his princely attire would have been incredible in the sunny and warm Queen of Cities, it wasn't quite perfect for this weather, and all the purple and the gold didn't matter. Finally, now that they were alone, the girl answered, telling him that she would like to try being friends.. but that was the problem. They were alone. Michael couldn't remember the last time he had been alone with someone. Back in Constantinople, there was always someone else around. Guards, eunuchs, servants. But they were alone, their parents were gone, and there was no one else there..it was terrifying in a way.

And he had no idea what to say.

"I'm sorry, I'm not... sure what I should do to become friends with someone.", the boy tried to say, smiling sadly. "I don't think.. that I've ever had a friend before."
I'm a Romanian, a vampire, an anime enthusiast and a roleplayer.
Hello there! I am Tracian Empire! You can call me Tracian, Thrace, Thracian, Thracr, Thracc or whatever you want. Really.


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