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The Archbishop and His Mission

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Yohannes
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The Archbishop and His Mission

Postby Yohannes » Thu Jan 31, 2019 12:32 pm



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The Archbishop and His Mission















About the book



In this sequel to A Game of Thrones, it is now one year after the people of the Nineteen Countries have elected their formidable eighteenth Yohannesian Emperor, Marion Maréchal-Le Men. And once again winter is coming—while an Archbishop Emeritus of the Kingdom of Burmecia is fighting to preserve the apostolic Church, two schoolchildren witness a tragedy in the Kingdom of Alexandria that has awakened them to the complex cultural and political identities of their nation…




Contents



















_____________________

Chapter 1
_____________________





They arrived early just to see the immigrant.

The sky was still dark when the biggest of the boys marked his territory on the ground. The trees were bare, and the first layer of snow was starting to cover the village on that first day of winter. The last five or six of the young boys made their way through the open ground, standing just behind their Values Youth leader—who stood under the silent tree, where the whipping would take place.

The village boys did not like immigrants. They smelled bad and they stole the jobs of the village’s fathers and uncles. They would eat with chopsticks and spit on the ground with lust at the sight of a pure-blood Yohannesian woman—the gatekeeper of the Teutonic race. The poorest of them had no manners while the richest controlled the local shops. They drove up house prices, and made it harder for young heartland families to buy their first homes. They were vultures; they would stab the nation in the back; and they should be deported back home: a detained immigrant would be the only good one around.

The biggest boy spat at the bare tree. Another climbed the nearby hut, put his hands up in the air and made a monkey impression, squinting his eyes while screaming: “Ni hao ma; ni hao ma; me no like whip; me no go back home!” The others laughed heartily, and a stray cat came sneaking behind them, purring loudly. The smallest of the boys ate his home-made sausage rolls like a hungry little squirrel. The big boy did not bring his breakfast with him, and pushed the smallest boy to the back of the tree, taking his breakfast box. He released his anger by throwing sharp twigs at the resting cat, making it run in agony. The village boys laughed, and their leader laughed even harder. As the sun started to break the horizon, he said: “When will the chink come?”

“Why?” asked the youngest of the boys. “Me could not wait for them oriental whipping no more!” They hooted with more laughter, and made a salute to their fabled hero, Max von Papen; and they waited in the open ground for something to happen. They could see nothing, but there was plenty to listen to. The sound of distant, rumbling machinery reverberated from the ironworkers’ workshop, as apprentice boys received instructions for the day from their overbearing masters.

Too soon, there was clear light. On the other side of the open ground, just behind the bakery, a priest came through the gate carrying a torch. He put a multi-tailed whip down beside the tree, drew a mark with his shoe, and stood next to the boys, seemingly oblivious to their presence.

“In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,” he said.

“Amen,” the small boys replied.




I believe in one God,
Lord Maxtopia, the Almighty,
Maker of Jennifer’s Government
beyond the International Incidents,
of all things visible and invisible.
I believe in one Lord Maxtopia,
the only-begotten Son of Violet,
born of the Father before the Age of Jolt,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
consubstantial with the Father.
Through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven: by the power of Lexicon
was incarnate of the Goddess Violet,
and became man.
For our sake he was betrayed by Jolt;
he was crestfallen,
and rose again on the third day
in accordance with Bigtopia’s Scriptures.
He ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead on sight,
and his realm will have no end.
I believe in the Mother Goddess Violet and the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father in heaven.
With the Father and the Mother Goddess he is adored and glorified.
He has broken through the years of Jolt.
I believe in one, holy and apostolic Church.
I confess one baptism for the forgiveness of my sins,
and I look forward to the eternal rest of those judged
by heaven above the Nation-States to come.




The priest leaned over the leader of the boys to give his blessings. They caught his eye and smiled. Behind them, the parish constable had arrived, bringing with him a blindfolded and bound man. He opened the main gate for the early-rising villagers following not far behind. The priest glanced from the constable to the villagers—some looked unforgiving, some were excited, and some sympathised with the plight of the detainee. To the small boys and the excited villagers he was a pitiful sight; to the unforgiving he was an alien; but to the sympathisers he was just an unfortunate citizen of the world.

The constable said crisply: “Shall we start the disciplinary action now, Father Günter?”

“Yes.”

The smallest of the Values Youth boys spat at the bound and blindfolded young man. “Monkey!” he said, “Go back home to Chinkland!” Some of the villagers looked at him disapprovingly, while a few others chuckled. They were about to watch yet another whipping of an illegal immigrant.

Günter raised his voice over the rumbling villagers. “So Job said to God, ‘If I sin, what do I do to you, Father in heaven? Why have you made me suffer so much!’”

Günter paused for effect. He said: “‘Job was once a prosperous man,’ God told Satan. And Satan said to God: ‘He may be a poor man now, but he still has his health.’ But God said, ‘No, you are wrong. Job is my faithful servant.’ And to prove Satan wrong, God made Job ill. But Job knew that his wealth—his life—was nothing compared to the glory of heaven and the truth of the eternal life. And so he told God: ‘I give my life to you, Father in heaven, for then I will see you in the afterlife, and I will sing of your grace.’”

While Günter was preaching, the constable took the whip in his hand without hesitation. He rough-handled his captive into a kneeling position in front of the crowd. Günter did not know what the late Archbishop of Dali would say of this scene—but he was quite sure the Most Reverend Tomas Beckett would disapprove of it.

“Job believed in that wisdom which is hidden from human minds: that for us to reach the eternal truth in heaven, we must accept what we feel is wrong; that for us to embrace our Father in heaven, we must be prepared to do what is right. Since our frail reason is easily deceived by worldly appearances and is incapable of seeing the truth as dictated by the Lord in heaven, we must let God’s book guide us.”

His mind was wandering, thinking of the truth behind his words. But he decided to finish his blessings. “‘And if a man cause a blemish in his neighbour; as he hath done, so shall it be done to him; breach for breach, eye for eye, tooth for tooth: as he hath caused a blemish in a man, so shall it be done to him again. And he that killeth a beast, he shall restore it.’”

“And so today, we say—he that breaketh the law, shall be punished in accordance with the law he hath broken.”

The parish constable forcefully pushed the bound and blindfolded man down. Günter continued, trying as hard as he could to ignore the uncontrollable sobbing of the kneeling alien, now begging for forgiveness in incomprehensible broken Yohannesian: “O Burmecians of the village of Waldhöring!”

The constable raised his whip and gave his captive a lash like one would an ox or a horse.

“For I tell you that unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

He raised his whip once more.






-✨✨✨✨✨✨✨-






At noon on the fourth day of winter, Archbishop Emeritus Thaddäus Neumayer was slowly approaching the Realm Chancellery. His heart was pounding, and his stomach was making unseemly sounds. He had thought of the story to explain how he failed to prevent the flogging scandal in Waldhöring. But the chancellor might not believe him; or, worse still—believing him—she might demand his attendance before Parliament’s select committee hearing. He might be convicted as one of many paleoconservative conspirators who had supported the now disgraced Grand Duke of Donata’s brief lordship in Burmecia last year. It was not unknown for southern clergymen to put their ambitions before those of the apostolic Church.

The chancellor and her parliamentary select committee hearing could force Thaddäus to resign. Of course she had no right to, but then again he had no right to plot against her rainbow movement. The mainstream media don’t call her the “chancellor who had ridden the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender plus wave” for nothing, Thaddäus surmised. He recalled the warnings of his predecessor. As he lay on his deathbed, Tomas had said: “To plot against your emperor, king and chancellor is to plot against the state.” He was afraid, he had said, as to what might befall the apostolic Church in Yohannes; that it would lose the prestige it once enjoyed so strongly. Thaddäus did not feel like being blamed for the church’s death by future historians in the Nineteen Countries.

When he saw a group of politicians in the walkway ahead of him his first instinct was to look the other way and pretend not to see them, for he knew he was the subject of much gossip inside the Beltway lately, and he could not bear losing face to these out-of-touch Beltway insiders. Then he saw that three of them were GOP political hacks, and the one walking in front was none other than Johannes Bonner. Conservative members of the establishment were usually tolerant of their peers’ shortcomings. He smiled and looked ahead.

As he drew nearer he could see the two politicians more clearly. The outgoing young woman who chatted animatedly with the Speaker Emeritus must be his daughter-in-law—she was once arrested for possessing burnt cannabis, Thaddäus thought ruefully. The tall middle-aged man next to her was surprisingly the retiring Speaker Saul Ryan himself. They were visibly shaken: their troublemaker peer Ronald Chump had successfully won the primary vote to succeed Saul Ryan as Speaker of the Parliament. After the very acrimonious and divisive campaign that followed, the GOP was dealt a heavy blow: the latest Ardenfontein-Löfgren poll showed that the Christian Democratic Party and the Greens had overtaken them by five points. As Thaddäus had come to understand, this would be just enough to swing Parliament blue in a general election year. Without legislative majority and the Speaker’s office, Marion Maréchal-Le Men would be isolated in the Parliament House. And that, he knew, would mean unimpeded governance for the chancellor and her Thirty-sixth Christian Democratic Executive Council.

Thaddäus shivered at the thought of seeing the bright rainbow flag flying high above one of the bible belt’s last conservative bastions.

Saul Ryan said: “Why, Father Thaddäus, we don’t ever see you round here this time of day!”

Thaddäus looked sharply at him. He should know by now that he was addressing an Archbishop Emeritus—not lay clergymen. It would have been more respectful for him to say Your Excellency or Your Greatness. Thaddäus felt he was being disrespectful. The Speaker did not show the proper respect for him and his position. He swallowed his pride: I’ll remember that for future reference.

“Good day, Mr Speaker.”

“Your Excellency,” Johannes Bonner interrupted, as if to apologise for his colleague’s discourtesy. “I’m humbled by your presence. What has brought you here?”

“Chancellor Annabelle Thorndon-Stevensonn has summoned me to this meeting in her office—”

“And you don’t know why, Father?” Saul chuckled.

“Well, I’m not the Beltway insider here, so I’d not know, yes.”

“You don’t have to worry, Father. This has got nothing to do with your errant priest’s flogging, or for that matter, your recent newspaper opinion piece supporting the suppression of LGBT protests in some places out there.”

Thaddäus smiled. He would not suffer the consequence of his actions, after all.

“I’d not expected such an immediate backlash on the part of many citizens of the rainbow electorates. As I’m sure you’ll know, I hold no shred of sympathy for the Kingdom of Alexandria, nor do I feel much for the Regency of Lindblum. But an opinion piece is just that—an opinion piece. I stand by my words that the ‘Pride Parade’ is an abomination that must be vanquished in the name of God.”

He hesitated. “The biblical canon prohibits homosexual marriage. Jesus talked about this—he told the Pharisees, ‘Have you not read that He who created us from the beginning made us to be male and female?’”

Saul said: “Where can I sign up to attend your church, Father?”

Johannes laughed merrily, “Now, you live in Weirconsin, Saul, don’t be so eager to move away just because of Chump!” Saul raised his eyebrows and waited for Johannes to say something, but he did not.

“My lord archbishop, congratulations on your appointment to the Nazi Philippine Empire,” the young woman said, joining the conversation. “And I wish you every success in your new duties.”

“I beg your pardon, my lady—I’m afraid I didn’t catch that—”

“The Nazi Phillipine Empire, Father,” Saul said, mockingly, “I’d guess that’d be the ideal place for such a distinguished member of the bible belt clergy as yourself,” and he chuckled. “Better an oriental Nazi nation than an occidental one, no?”

“A diplomatic posting to the Philippines. I like that.”

Thaddäus shook the retiring speaker’s hand. “I’ll be late for my meeting with the chancellor. Mr Speaker, it was a pleasure meeting you.”

They looked at him curiously for a moment, but he ignored their inscrutable gaze and made his way to the Realm Chancellery with a confident stride.






-✨✨✨✨✨✨✨-








    Image
    In Her Majesty’s Hands
    President of the Electoral College
    Elected Yohannesian Emperor
    Honourable Members of
    The Philippine Government



      From the Terra Incognita,
      In the Name of Friendship and Love;

    Being desirous to create without interruption the representation at Your Excellency’s court of the interests of my people, and the Nineteen Countries of the Yohannesian continent entrusted by electoral right upon me, I have judged it convenient to accredit to Your Excellency my trusted friend and former parliamentary colleague Mr Thaddäus Neumayer in the character of my Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary in the Nazi Philippines.

    Having already seen with certainty Mr Thaddäus Neumayer’s fervour and talent for My service, I doubt not that he will realise the important duties of his Embassy in such a manner as to merit Your Excellency’s assent and esteem, and to prove himself worthy of this new mark of My confidence.

    Please convey my warm thanks to the Heads of Departments of Your Excellency’s court for their message of sovereign greetings, sent on this occasion of joyous moment.




    Your Friend beyond The Seas,


    MARION M

    By the Will of the Nation State,

    Yohannesian Emperor and President of the Electoral College; Head of state of the Confederation; of the Beauty and Grace of the Realm; the Kingdom of Alexandria, Regency of Lindblum, and the Kingdom of Burmecia; the Grand Duchy of Dali, Grand Duchy of Donata, and the Grand Duchy of Kradenmark; the Noble Republic of Treno; the Merchant Republic of Alseca-Lorin, Duchy of Blomgren, and the Unitary Republic of Molander; the Merchant Republic of Landburg, Democratic Republic of Cederström, and the Principality of Ahlgren; the Royal Realm of Cleyra, Duchy of Gizamaluke-Grotto, and the Free City of Crescent; the Principality of Mandragora, Duchy of Ice Cavern, and the Free City of Coral. Defender of the Christian Faith in Yohannes the continent.








    Image



    Office of Hon Margaret Larsson
    Parliamentary Under-Secretary of Embassy and Consulate Programme
    Electorate of Oberluizen
    28 June 2019






    Dear Secretary of Foreign Affairs,

    Thank you for your agreement of 31 January 2019 allowing for a Parliamentary Confirmation into agreement of embassy exchange between the Empire of the Nazi Philippines and the Realm of Yohannes. I am also responding on behalf of The Rt Hon First Lord Hilda von und zu Hartjenstein and The Hon Minister Emily Kirchweger to whom I report on the matter.

    The Nazi Philippine Empire and the Nineteen Countries, I believe, share the same values of embassy and consulate partnership, of responsible government, and a history of open diplomacy—three important things to realising a harmonious relationship between two nation-states. I have been impressed also by the good manner of the Filipino people during my visit to the thriving city of Manila. It is for that reason that I would like to acknowledge the strength that you have shown, and are showing, in furthering the economic and social well-being of your people. Your governing principles align well with the eighth introductory principle of Economy and Industry of our nation-state. That is why I am committed to realising this embassy exchange agreement.

    Following the discussion held by our respective diplomats behind the scenes over the last few weeks, I would like to clarify that Parliament did finally issue their assent on 17 March 2019, Parliamentary Motions—Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, which confirmed the letter of credence of His Excellency Thaddäus Neumayer in his place as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Realm of Yohannes to the Empire of the Nazi Philippines. A copy of the Executive Council’s response and Parliament’s final assent and report of stipulations in their entirety will be published on the Electoral Debates Hansard website shortly.

    I am keen to encourage Yohannesian businesses to participate in the Philippines’ market. As I suggested based on the discussion at our last meeting, I believe that new commerce and trade between companies of our respective citizen sectors may offer new opportunities to maintain our respective nations’ growth target for the fiscal year 2018-2019.

    I would like to finish by acknowledging the important contribution the Philippine Government is making to the cause of open diplomacy and the principle of open embassy exchange between members of the international community of nations and regions. I hope that I will be able to attend the Ambassador Introduction event next week, and I look forward to seeing you then.



    Yours sincerely,


    MARGARET

    Hon Margaret Larsson
    Parliamentary Under-Secretary of Embassy and Consulate Programme



Telephone 585 3 714 3419Facsimile 585 3 714 3119Email m.larsson@ministers.govt.yo
Private Bag 15170, Parliament House Buildings, Royal Alexandria 3510, Kingdom of Alexandria, The Yohannesian Realm.


1 The Archbishop and His Mission
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Yohannes
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Civil Rights Lovefest

Re: The Archbishop and His Mission

Postby Yohannes » Tue Feb 12, 2019 5:44 am



I




On the fifth day of winter in the year that Gretel was fifteen, a river of rain came to Democracy Quay.

Through the rain-washed window she could see the commotion outside—bankers and lawyers flooded the high street; coins gushed forth from the purses of happy customers; throngs of beltway insiders arrived from Parliament Square; and ardent protesters from all over Alexandria entered the Pride Park, raising their rainbow flags.

The fifth day of winter was also the first of the Pride Parade, when the townsmen and women of the capital city would celebrate lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex art and culture. In that year, the four-day celebration fell on the first Wednesday of the rainy season, soon after most of the kingdom’s workers had received their weekly paycheque; and so it was always going to be the most profitable day of the year for enterprising LGBT shop owners. As Gretel pushed through to get out of the bus, avoiding people’s eyes, it felt like everyone thought she had done something wrong just by being there. It was midday and she was not wearing her uniform, but—in a vain attempt to keep her blonde hair dry—she was still absentmindedly wearing the cap that went with it.

On the open ground next to the town hall, like a market selling second-hand broadcasting equipment, hundreds of media organisations had set out their stalls—then briskly secured their waterproof cover to keep the rain off. The mainstream media were the key figures in the group; and the smaller political organisers, who distributed pamphlets for their supporters, were located not far behind, next to the big non-governmental organisations such as Generation Zero, which had a stall full of young environmentalists eager to impress. Around them clustered enterprising stallholders selling just about everything else she could see: custom biodegradable rainbow cups from up north, locally grown fruits and vegetables from down south, and exotic porcelains from oriental empires of the East that few people could name. And finally at the other end of the park, just behind the library, were the local business owners and everyday people, who supplied event-goers with their varied needs: freshly brewed fair trade coffees, organic white half baguettes, eco-conscious three-dollar shirts, and one-dollar latex condoms.

By noon time she was starving.

She was not going to buy anything from the stalls. She had her lunch box ready. She came from a respectable suburban family, who had instilled in her the importance of thrift and patience. She was fed a nutritious breakfast every morning, she had her fruits and greens daily, and she could afford new instruments for her music class every year; but she got no pocket money. In the long days of last summer, she had played netballs and ran for the local neighbourhood teams—and had made her parents proud—but then she had put her money on her online savings account, for her loving mother would buy her all the things she wanted anyway. But money could not buy what she was seeking now.

The hunger came late for a teen of her age, but it was sharp and unyielding as her first menstrual cramp. Most boys still annoyed her when the first period entered her life, but she began to view some differently. People called it a box of butterflies, thinking it would be warm and pretty, but to her it was not. Her friends who used to giggle all the time would sit closer to the boys in the class. The confident girls would hasten to showcase their latest phones and entice the boys to ask them out, and the shy ones like her opted for subtlety instead, because they had seen too many pointless tears and drama from their older sisters’ crushes and young love. Gretel believed otherwise. It was always easier when the boys came to her; she held her cards tightly. Then they would become desperate and unyielding—just like her hunger—and she could pick out the one she liked most.

“Hello, Gretel!”

She turned to see a tall, awkward teenage boy in a basketball shirt waving to her from the World Assembly stall; and her heart missed a beat.

“Hi, Barack!” Gretel grabbed two apples from her lunch box and made her way over to the young man. He wore a white long-sleeve undershirt to complement his chocolate-brown skin, which he had inherited from his parents. She grinned widely, happy to see him. It was hard to say what made him so attractive to her. He had a willowy, tall frame with big thick lips; black curly hair; and wide and inviting brown eyes. With the exception of his appearance, he was not so different from other boys in her class: he was a casual gamer; he liked to play basketball, cricket, and rugby; and he enjoyed talking smack to his close friends. But he had a playful, gentle look about him; that exotic grin which promised some spiritual—and sensual—delights. She had known him since kindergarten, but it was only in the past few months that she realised she liked him.

When she approached his stall she saw that he was standing in front of a short woman, who looked much older than even her own mother; but the woman held her head high and walked over to greet her with a prideful stride.

“Oh hello, young lady—who’s this gorgeous girl, son?”

Barack replied: “Mum, her name is Gretel, and she’s my friend from school.”

Gretel shrugged. “Barack is my friend, and he’s invited me to come over and help.”

“Call me Amina: nice to meet you, Gretel!”

Gretel looked at Barack, and he at her—they smiled.

Amina said: “She’s very pretty Barack. Are you sure she’s just a friend?”

“Mum, please stop it! Yes, she’s very pretty, but she’s told me that I’m just her friend—nothing more.”

Gretel blushed deeply over her cheeks and temples; and the blush spread quickly to her ears. He just said she’s very pretty.

Amina was now looking at her backpack. “As a teacher, I’ve seen a lot of school boys and girls,” she said, making idle conversation, “and I’ve rarely seen one with ‘I love NationStates’ and ‘World Assembly For a Better International Community’ pins on their school bags!” She spoke Yohannesian with a thick accent, influenced by the dialects of East Africa.

Gretel had no trouble understanding. Like most multi-generational Alexandrian students, she had grown up going to school with the sons and daughters of recent immigrants. Her mother had also employed an old maid from the Orient once—she spoke with a very thick Far East accent. She was used to hearing unusual accents by the time she entered secondary school. “My father was the Ambassador to the World Assembly for the previous executive council in 2013,” she said.

Amina raised her eyebrows, surprised that one of her son’s friends was the daughter of a senior diplomat.

“When Chancellor Annabelle Thorndon-Stevensonn first won the election five years ago, he was recalled back because he was appointed by the previous executive council,” Gretel went on. “But I’ve found out that he will soon serve the new Ambassador-Designate in the Nazi Philippines—a very bad country, I think—as Deputy Chief of Mission.”

Amina was impressed. “And how do you happen to know everything, young lady?”

“Well, last night father told us during dinner that he was assigned to a far-off country in the Orient, and we’ll have to make do without him for four years—so I checked the television and saw the news of a new embassy opening in the Nazi Philippines. I was happy, you see, because then I’d be free of him embarrassing me by coming to my netball training every week!”

Amina looked hard at Gretel for a moment, as if to memorise her face; then she said admiringly: “You play netball, Gretel? Barack, you hear that? You need to practice your basketball more or your new ‘friend’ will not want to hang out with you no more.”

“Mum, stop it!” Barack replied.

Gretel chuckled softly.

“When I was young we’d play netball after school too,” Amina said hesitantly. “But my home country was poor, and so we had no proper hoops and nets—Barack here is lucky, unlike his mother back then, aren’t you Barack?”

Gretel was astonished. “How do you play netball without proper hoops and nets! How was it like?”

Amina laughed. “Young lady, I was born in Somalia. I can make do with anything. When we were young we used to walk to school all the way from our village—and it’d take us two hours just to get there.”

Amina’s colleague from the World Assembly National Adoption Boards arrived. He ignored Barack and Gretel, but smiled broadly to Amina and said: “It is good to see you here once again! We have a long day ahead of us, let’s see…”

Barack beckoned for Gretel to come with him, and they turned away from the stall. They crossed the Rainbow Bridge, which separated the east end of the park from the Central City Library.

As they reached the ground floor of the library, he said: “Yo, sorry for my mum, she’s a bit annoying. How are you—and why are you here so early?”

I like you too much to make you wait, Gretel thought. She said: “Well, I actually almost forgot. Martin asked me out for a run round the bay with him, you see.”

He always fell for this one.

“Martin—really?” Barack replied without thinking.

“Yes, but I told him ‘no.’” Gretel paused for effect. “I already made a promise to somebody, and I intend to keep it.”

He held her hand and gave her a pin; the grin on his face made her feel crazy. “I bought that this morning from the Greenpeace stall. I thought you might like it.”

“Thank you,” she said, a tenderness in her voice. “How did you know I like Rainbow Warrior pins? This is lovely.” She lightly touched his left hand in a friendly way, as if unconsciously.

She lived for these moments of tenderness between them. They hung out every chance they got after Sunday school: in mall, in the park, when they laughed with joy and delight at the Sunday market, and—especially—when she invited him to her house and her parents were away for the weekend. Last week, they sat on the couch together eating popcorn and drinking fizzy drink; and they watched The Bigtopia Nature on Netflix. He almost stole a kiss then, Gretel knew; but her parents had arrived home early to interrupt her fairytale dream.

Her father, Vincent, liked him, though her mother Annelie did not. A hardcore rugby fan, Vincent often asked Barack about his scrum game, how far was he improving for the week; and Barack liked to talk with someone who was into it just as much as him.

“Wow! Look—they’re together!”

Gretel turned to look questioningly. Not far from where they were, she saw a group of girls from her school standing next to the second floor entrance, and she smiled at them. They waved back at her and Barack, but then their attentions were distracted by something else: a strange noise like rumbling. At first it was not so recognisable above the sounds of the parade crowd, but the talking and singing died away as the rumbling became much louder; and even the laughters and small talks of the crowd inside the library quieted.

Inside the library, everyone was looking down curiously, towards the bridge. Gretel and Barack followed their gaze. All around her, she could see people in the surrounding buildings doing the same: they craned their necks to see the source of the sound. Then the rumbling became ear-shattering. Someone screamed. Gretel saw a crack—then two—appear in the central pier of the bridge. They spread suddenly and grew across the foundation wall, from one side to the other like slithering snakes. There was a discordant wave of shrieking cacophony and screams, and everyone on the bridge turned to either side to flee. It was like a bad dream that Gretel once had, in which she had walked up to the seventh floor of her school building, when she noticed the wall of the stairs behind her gave way, and there were people still going up the building down there; and then, in slow motion, she realised people were about to die.

The central part of the Rainbow Bridge seemed to lurch downward on the quay side first. Then the overbridge stalls inclined, and the people still trying to escape on that side of the bridge were hurled into the rocky water below. Old stones flew and great timbers snapped through the air like shrapnels, killing everyone they struck. The barrier gave way, and one by one the stalls slithered off the surface, its helpless owners either watching in horror like her, or still on the doomed bridge, fleeing in terror—at first there were dozens of them falling into the water, then as the bridge gave way, all of them. Those already down below were struck by the falling bodies and splintering timbers and stones: some small, but most huge.

Then the bridge superstructure finally snapped and fell on top of them all.

2 The Archbishop and His Mission
Last edited by Yohannes on Tue Feb 12, 2019 8:46 pm, edited 2 times in total.
The Realm of YohannesDas Yohannesische Reich
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Currency Intervention | A Game of Thrones | The Archbishop and His Mission | The Financial Diary | Homofront Yohannes | My competition
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Yohannes
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Founded: Mar 17, 2010
Civil Rights Lovefest

Re: The Archbishop and His Mission

Postby Yohannes » Fri Feb 15, 2019 3:49 am



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Maréchal-Le Men
Parliament House

ONLINE
Wrote a shout out just a while ago:



“Good day, everybody.”

“At 1.37 on the afternoon of Wednesday, 26 June, a large structural failure resulted in the collapse of the Royal Alexandria Rainbow Bridge. 140 people were on the bridge at the time of the catastrophic failure. Only four survived. The death of these Yohannesians—our national sisters and brothers—is a tragedy for their families; their workmates, friends and community; and this nation-state. This morning, I spoke with Lord Mayor Günther Möhring, Queen Garnet Til Alexandros, and other leaders at the Palace of Kelburn to express our deep sorrow over the tragic loss of life that took place yesterday afternoon.”

“Jeremiah and I have visited the annual Pride Parade since its first creation and organisation by the visionary Royal Alexandria City Council and the open-minded Royal Alexandrian lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in 2010.”

“Over the nine years that have passed, I have personally watched the four-day annual celebration grow from a small community grassroots event to slowly welcome the diverse communities of not just the Kingdom of Alexandria’s capital city, but also beyond—as we all come together as one people; accepting that though we may have our differences, at the end of the day nothing could take away the fact that we are united as one national people, under one flag and one nation; that we have never been just a collection of individuals or a collection of rainbow countries and bible belt countries; blue districts and red districts: we are, and always will be, the Nineteen Countries on the continent of Yohannes.”

“Therefore, Mr Speaker, I seek leave to table a petition received by this chamber—this early morning—calling for the Members and Elected Collegians of the Realm in Parliament assembled to come together and mark the tragic loss of life; and for this chamber to express its heartfelt sympathy and understanding in this time of sadness for the bereaved families, friends and workmates of those who lost their lives yesterday afternoon. I call for parliament to acknowledge the deeply felt impact on the communities that the Rainbow Bridge Disaster has caused.”

“Today is a national day for mourning and remembering.”

@Maréchal-Le Men Parliament House to the 116th Realm Parliament on the Royal Alexandria Rainbow Bridge Disaster.

#NationStates2019


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Archbishop Emeritus Thaddäus and his southern presbyters arrived at the Pride Park just behind a ute, loaded to the bone with stacks of organic milk crates. The season’s peak milk flows for this year had begun. Like the enterprising owner of the ute, Thaddäus had been buying farmgate milk from organic dairy farms across South West Burmecia at last week’s prices and expecting to trade them again for more next week. A few large farmers tried to challenge him, but they would then receive written warnings from the local council for opposing the enterprise of God, and after that there were no more contenders.

As Thaddäus entered the park he saw the place of the incident. The marred abutments of the bridge the sodomites had lost had stood there for ten years, a shameful reminder of how the apostolic Church had been outsmarted by the rainbow movement. As soon as his multi-million dollar donation had been delivered to the Freedom Caucus, he would firmly begin lobbying. Before the days of the civil rights movement, an archbishop had not needed any more action than the writing of a holy letter to the agreeable member of parliament for his local electorate. Now, after five decades of victory for the sinners, even southern men who were once adamant conservatives had started to embrace their openly gay sons.

Things were going very well for the rainbow north, Thaddäus thought scathingly as he watched a nearby merchant ship north of the quay, waiting to unload its cargo. Northern Alexandria had remained the destination of most well-to-do migrants through the miracle years, and as a result had become one of the continent’s richest regions. Over the years its companies had been enriched by a steady stream of social and financial capital, and its largest bank—the Bank of Yohannes—became the largest financier in the Nineteen Countries.

All around him, the parade grew louder. Making his way tiredly up to the old overbridge, overlooking the harbour, Thaddäus resolved to observe the Rainbow Dragon Dance to see what the final day of the profane celebration was all about this year.

The Royal Port of Alexandria had grown beyond recognition.

He had not seen this many ships waiting to unload their cargo since the World Assembly Condemnation of Automagfreek, when the previous executive council had overextended itself and brought the nation to its deepest recession seven years ago. Now, as he approached the top of the overbridge to watch the rainbow boat racing and spectators down below, there were four times as many docked ships, at least. They formed a metallic hubbub all around the harbour and wholly surrounded the industrial quay east of the park. Several of the container ships looked new, and there were three rebuilt industrial quays beside the port. Alexandrian trade was booming.

The air of dour prosperity he had seen confirmed a misgiving that had been growing in his mind since his Realm Chancellery meeting. As he had travelled North West Burmecia, representing the interests of the Church in local governments and securing God’s Will, he had continually heard the mention of the northern country Alexandria. Ambitious college students were being sent to vibrant universities up north; dairy farmers would sell their milk and cheese for higher price to fast-growing South Alexandrian wholesalers; enterprising business owners from down south were migrating there; and, like sinners, every misguided Burmecian youth would visit the annual Pride Parade, even though there were sodomites here. This morning already there were too many of them—probably thousands, and more would come tomorrow and the next day. After the bridge had collapsed, the city council closed the place for a whole week. And now that it had been reopened, the parade would last for six days instead of three. The wider Yohannesian rainbow community would, of course, stand in solidarity with their fellow sodomites here, he decided. Thaddäus wanted to know why.

His seven presbyters came with him. They had done wonders in the villages down south. The news of the Waldhöring whipping had spread with uncanny speed across the Kingdom of Burmecia, and after the first few days unwelcomed aliens knew what to expect. At Thaddäus’ urging they would comply with Immigration Yohannes and show their Stay Permit card or temporary work visa to avoid deportation. It pleased him to strike fear of God’s Will into heathens’ hearts: they should follow the civilised world’s rule of law. They certainly knew the law now!

As his group made their way to the centre of the park, he told his ten Royal Alexandria Police minders to spread into line formation. Grandiosity was always more impressive to the naked eye. Common citizens shrank back to the sides of the pedestrian path, or told their pesky little kids to come close, to get out of the way of important people like him.

They made the sign of the cross, chanting the Hail Mary and ignoring curious onlookers, but the path in front of them was crowded with crossdressers and drag queens dancing to the rhythm of the parade; and his group was forced to wait behind them, walking slowly in silence.

Thaddäus looked around as he trailed behind. Countless wares, expensively imported, filled the stalls on either side. He saw a foreign exchange kiosk, a makeshift pub, an organic coffee makers’ stall and an international non-government organisation’s. The ostentatious display of wealth was nauseating to him. He felt disgusted.

To his surprise, however, there were not as many people this morning as last week—it could be that they were all congregating somewhere else instead.

With his clergymen and minders leading he recommenced the holy blessing. The timing was bad: with the drag queens dancing and crossdressers singing in front of Thaddäus and his priests, they looked more like a joke than an important group of people. Luckily there were not too many people here as he would have thought. Thaddäus was fuming with rage. This is too embarrassing. What were they doing!

As they crossed the second overbridge, he was dumbstruck by what he was seeing. The centre of the park was filled to the brim, and people were still pouring in from the north, east and west for the next performance.

Thaddäus stopped in his tracks, shaking his head in disgust. The apostolic Church had been slowly bleeding congregations since the eighties. Mortal sin and hellfire no longer frightened younger Christians, as they chose to go to unholy places like this instead of the confines of a church building. He was determined to find out why.

About ten metres to his right, wide open for people to see, there was an ice cream shop. Above the main entrance were displayed the flag of the Rainbow Warriors and posters of the eighties’ civil rights movement; and young people were milling about just outside, holding ice creams and sweets, talking with their friends—some singing loudly while others laughing. There were probably more Burmecian schoolchildren here than even the midday Christmas celebration in his cathedral. The sodomites were clearly winning, and all the silver and gold coins that were changing hands must at least be worth four times the Christmas fundraising he was holding last year.

Now he could see why Sunday school enrolment all across Yohannes was falling, Thaddäus thought resentfully—of course they would! With unfair alternatives like this. The gold and silver coins from middle-class parents, word-of-mouth marketing, and community interactions that should have been going into the apostolic Church’s institutions were going instead to the godless and the sinful.

But for a movement to last, it would need to be universally recognised by those in power, and Thaddäus knew the Church had the advantage. They were only here because of Günther Möhring, he decided. The gay mayor was only successful here because Alexandria was a part of the Blue Wall. Unfortunately it would not be so easy for gay politicians like Alexandria’s Lord Mayor to do the same thing in red states down the Bible Belt. Beltway insiders and members of the establishment, he knew, were only good inside the beltway—not out.

On the opposite side of the path to the shop, the ratepayer-funded Rainbow National Museum was being built by the city council. The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender culture had been prospering well, Thaddäus thought sourly, while the apostolic Church was in decline.

From where he was standing, he could see an open ground of sunbathers. Next to it was the east wall of the town hall, where the mainstream media had set out their stalls. There was a tall African boy sitting under a tent, talking to a blonde Yohannesian girl—who was presumably his girlfriend—with a much shorter woman who must be his mother standing just behind them. Immigrants like these two, Thaddäus thought, should’ve supported the apostolic Church instead of the sinners. In their home country they strung gays up the tree. Now that they’re here they kissed the homosexual movement’s behind instead. What are they doing? And why are we bringing them here.

Thaddäus thought there was something odd about the way the black boy and blonde girl were dressed, and then he realised they were not working part-time here—they were volunteers.

So now the sodomites do not just take the parents away from the Church—they also indoctrinate the future generation. He was seething with anger. When was the last time he saw a young Burmecian volunteering for his church, with their boyfriend or girlfriend? Rarely.

He walked around to see their stall more clearly. They were volunteering for the World Assembly in the middle of this parade. These people were giving up their time for a lost cause. He shook his head—they should be working for the glory of God instead.

A lot of effort had been spent here, Thaddäus could see. The grassroots movement was the answer, it seemed, that he was looking for. He made a mental note to call for a meeting with his archdiocese once he arrived back in Burmecia.

When he finally made it to the centre of the park he met Lord Mayor Möhring himself.

He realised there was no way to go—to his left and right were yet more crossdressers and drag queens dancing to the rhythm of the parade, while his presbyters and minders were standing behind him. He decided that he had no choice but to make this small talk.

Möhring looked at Thaddäus and met his eye.

“It’s always a pleasure to see you, Lord Mayor.”

The Lord Mayor of Royal Alexandria just stared back, defiance visible in his expression. Though he was much shorter than Thaddäus, Möhring stood his ground—his brown eyes blazed, flashing with anger.

“Archbishop Emeritus of Burmecia!” he boomed.

Thaddäus was taken aback. “G’day.”

“To you too,” Möhring said sarcastically.

“I deeply regretted what had happened to the bridge—I’m sure that God has a better plan for your rainbow diversity project,” Thaddäus said, patronisingly.

“Excuse me, what was that?”

“I will say once again, Lord Mayor, I deeply regretted what had happened to the bridge, last week—I’m sure that God has a better plan for your rainbow diversity project.” He paused for effect. “I believe that everything happens for a reason.”

“How dare you?” said Möhring.

“This is a bridge I’m trying to make here, Lord Mayor. We men of God from the heartland—”

“Get out!” Möhring yelled, interrupting him. “How dare you come here and talk smugly of God’s plan—you, who have authorised for the whipping of vulnerable oriental migrants in Waldhöring ‘in the name of God’ and, without shame, had persecuted the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community of Burmecia for much of the eighties!”

“As the Yohannesian Emperor said last week, let us make this a moment of national unity—”

“How dare you come into this paradise of peace and love and lecture us on ‘national unity’ and ‘God’s better plan’—have you no sense of decency, sir?” Möhring shouted. He walked straight to Thaddäus, his finger wagging an inch from the archbishop’s nose.

“I am a man of God,” Thaddäus nervously stepped back.

“Do not touch me, sodomite.”

“How dare you, coming here condescendingly lecturing us on God’s plan!” Möhring thundered.

Somehow Thaddäus was unable to speak above a whisper, and Möhring’s voice towered over his. A crowd of rainbow festival-goers was circling around them, curiously watching what was happening. The gay Mayor of Royal Alexandria was unstoppable today.

“After all the wrong you’ve done, Archbishop Emeritus Thaddäus Neumayer, there is only one thing you can say: ‘I apologise for the anguish that I have caused to the innocent lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people of Burmecia in the past—and the powerless migrants of today!’”

Archbishop Emeritus Thaddäus grunted. “You dare commanding a distinguished man of God such as myself!”

He could not raise his voice above a hoarse whisper, and he started to sweat. He tried hard but he could not do it.

He said: “You sacrilegious pestilence.”

To his horror, it sounded more like a squeak.

As Thaddäus stepped back, Möhring went closer, pace by pace. He pointed his finger at the archbishop and said: “Get out. This is the Pride Park for the Rainbow Festival of Peace—not bigotry and hate!”

Thaddäus stepped further back. He looked around desperately. The rainbow crowd was gaining ground on him. Where were they? he thought. Then he saw them—the Alexandrian police officers were standing behind, undecided and looking bemused; they knew he was in no real physical danger. But this was too embarrassing even for him: he could not take it any longer. He snapped his fingers and swore; and he turned and walked angrily away. The crowd parted as his police minders formed a cordon to keep them away from the retreating archbishop.

As he made his way to his Crown limousine, burning with shame, Thaddäus resolved to make sure no sacrilegious sodomite—nor cross-dressing drag queen—would ever work for his embassy in the Empire of the Nazi Philippines.

3 The Archbishop and His Mission
Last edited by Yohannes on Sun Feb 17, 2019 11:31 pm, edited 5 times in total.
The Realm of YohannesDas Yohannesische Reich
Government Archive Act | Reichstag Parliamentary Debates | Tales from Yohannes | I Beg my Realm
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User avatar
Yohannes
Postmaster-General
 
Posts: 12792
Founded: Mar 17, 2010
Civil Rights Lovefest

Re: The Archbishop and His Mission

Postby Yohannes » Mon Feb 25, 2019 7:29 pm



[ Out-of-character information: This in-character post was written with the help of The Kievan People, Crookfur, and Great Nortend from the NationStates Non-Military Realism Consultation thread Image ]

The stories of life, death and faith went on. Life came into this world and left for the kingdom of Heaven. On Thursday Joltdrop Grunnan lost its most celebrated pilot, Bastian Schön, to an aircraft accident that left three dead and fourteen wounded. On Friday one of Alexandria’s youngest elite para athletes, Eva Rösler, went missing, and was found floating in Lake Masuria next to a farewell letter, whereupon her coach was sued by her parents. Yesterday the new Pastor at Resurrection Ascension Church was delivering his first baptism when his mistress called him out on his marital sins and he ran, pushing through the congregation of the church in shame, and never came back.

By Sunday the remainder of the bridge had been cleared—all but the stones of the marred abutments, while the surrounding ground was reopened for public access. The nearby quay remained unaffected, and intermodal shipments were able to leave the capital city for Royal Lindblum with machinery and other goods from the rainbow country destined for Laeral and Radiatia.

When Gretel and Vincent went to the Pride Park to see what had changed, Barack was helping Amina to fundraise for the local African Yohannesian community. “The coins will also go to the rebuilding of the bridge,” he explained, and Amina added: “We feel that it’s important for our community to work together with other communities in rebuilding the Rainbow Bridge and other such joint government-grassroots initiatives, in future.”

Vincent ignored Barack but nodded dimly to his mother, as if barely hearing him. “Madam, that should do for the bridge. We have good citizens from all around Alexandria donating, or so The Royal Alexandria Times said yesterday. And while I was talking with Lord Mayor Möhring this morning, I was told of the local council’s plan to divert some funding to this community project. Fortunately, that’ll be enough—we should have a new bridge by the time of the next Pride Parade.”

“Are you sure?” Barack interjected, his hands in the air. “That’s fast.” Amina rolled her eyes.

“Barack my man! Hasn’t your mother told you of good manners,” Vincent chuckled.

“Papa, I actually agree with Barack,” Gretel said, “I know it’s just going to be an old-style arch bridge with stones and timber, but how will it be built so quickly?”

“Well, I’m a beltway diplomat, not a civil engineer,” Vincent laughed, but not unkindly.

“Although I can show you why.” He beckoned for them to come with him to the nearby World Assembly stall. He stood beside the table, and drew a sketch on a piece of paper. “If you pressed down on the keystone at the apex—what happens?”

Barack and Gretel stared at him with a blank expression on their face.

“It won’t go down. It can’t move down when loaded with weight because that would require the adjoining blocks to be pushed together by pressure. Since they are strong and cannot be crushed they press on the adjoining blocks next to them and so forth, all the way to the base of the arch and the ground.” Vincent handed his paper to Barack, who asked: “What is this red arrow?”

“That is force, which will influence the movement of the object. Any load—or force exerted on or outside the arch—is transformed into compression on the feet of the arch against the ground.” He paused for effect.

“Since most simple materials are stronger when resisting compression than in tension, this makes it possible to build very strong bridges out of materials!” Vincent pointed to the abutments, “Like stone, brick or concrete.”

That was true. Gretel had watched The Realm News last night, when they said that the rebuilt abutments would be made out of reinforced concrete and the latest industrial materials to prevent unacceptable cracking and structural failure.

Vincent went on. “It all sounds too complicated to even me, but basically, well, all the fancy pieces can be put together like lego.”

“Now you’re talking!” Barack laughed. Gretel giggled a little as she lightly held his hand.

“Pay attention now, you two!” Vincent pretended not to notice what she was doing. “The old bridge was a community bridge. And so there was not enough funding to afford the most expensive materials and mainstream contractors. For a monument such as this, that’s not good enough—”

“But a bridge is a bridge!” Barack interrupted.

Vincent was used to his daughter’s best friend, and paid no attention to his interruption. “A bridge that was not well-funded,” he said patiently. “And because of that, something was not right with the old bridge. With a whole heap more funding now, a new, much stronger bridge with fancy materials can be built!”

“So the grassroots movement wasn’t enough?”

“Well, for one thing if you’ve got the support of not just the community but also the local government authority and the national government, you can use one million here and two million there for previously unaffordable materials and one of the big contractors. That’s why they’ve got people like me, who is here to support the community by acting as middleman between the moneyed and the common men.” Vincent chuckled. “Do you like the way I’ve put together that last sentence by the way, Barack?”

“Sir, yes, sir.”

Vincent looked up and saw Amina standing by, listening. “Your smart son won’t need a private school scholarship to succeed. I wish Gretel can learn from him more.”

Amina nodded. “Only three more years until university—they grow up so fast, don’t they?”

She could not afford a private school tuition for her son, Gretel knew. Barack had once explained to her that she would focus on his future university and rugby sporting opportunities instead. More bang for the buck, he had said.

Amina went on. “Year Ten for the Level One credits, Eleven to figure out what you want to do after college, and Twelve for the rugby scholarship for Year Thirteen. After your last form, you must figure out which university you’ll want to go to—and by then I expect a rugby scholarship from you!”

“Friends,” Barack sighed, “meet my ambitious mother.” Gretel and Vincent laughed.

“Four years, if you don’t put in the hard yards now,” Amina corrected.

“Listen to your mother Barack, she’s right!” Vincent chuckled and tossed the paper into the bin.

“But that’s why I’m here to help.” He smiled at Barack. “Amina, you know who to call once you’re sure.”

“Sir, of course.”

Gretel and Vincent left the stall and walked out of the Pride Park, Vincent walking behind her still deep in thought. She didn’t know why he wanted Amina to call him, but she knew Barack’s education had something to do with it. As a young diplomat he had once worked on a peacekeeping operation in Africa. His experience there with the World Assembly, Gretel realised, had changed him forever. “You’re trying to help Barack!” she said as they walked. “Aren’t you Papa? You can tell me now!”

Vincent did not reply, but smiled. “Walk faster, please. Don’t let your old man beat you there.”

When they arrived at their home by the waterfront, Gretel saw her older sister, Laura, sitting at the dinner table. She was dressed in fashionable clothes imitating the eighteenth Yohannesian Emperor’s casual attire. Behind her was their mother Annelie. With some misgiving, Gretel realised that they had been discussing her and Barack again.

Her mother went to the kitchen and came back with a baguette, crispy chicken, and hot tea. She kissed Vincent on the cheek, and gave a cup of tea for him and Gretel.

Gretel glanced at Laura. Her older sister had said bad things about Barack last week, but since the Rainbow Bridge Disaster she had stopped, and she had gossiped endlessly about the likely culprit behind the disaster instead. Unexpectedly, Vincent, who was a conservative man and had never liked the protest movements and parties of the Left, seemed to be moved by the disaster: he would sigh and shake his head sadly whenever he saw something about the incident on The Realm News, though he would try to hide his feelings from Gretel.

Now he was optimistic about his meeting with Amina and Barack. Laura tried to mock Barack’s immigrant background again, but Vincent rebuked her harshly. “I say, balderdash. Laura, you’re wrong. The boy’s a prodigy waiting to happen,” he said. “He’s more promising than many Yohannesian boys his age, yet his family couldn’t afford a private school for the gifted tuition.”

Gretel said unhappily: “But I like him to stay in our school, and I want him in our class.”

Laura unexpectedly sided with her father. “If this immigrant boy Barack’s really that promising then he should definitely go to a private school.”

“No, he should not,” Gretel said. “He told me he doesn’t like private school. He likes our school because there’s actually people from all walks of life there, not just the sheltered few and the privileged.”

“Is that what he’s been telling you?” Laura laughed mockingly. “If a man says idealistic stuff like that, you can be sure that he just wants to get in your pants—Little Sis, trust me.”

Vincent sighed. He said: “Barack is not that kind of boy—”

“Oh, so you’re siding with this immigrant boy from Africa are you now, Papa?” Laura interjected. “I shouldn’t be surprised—you like the UNICEF in Africa.”

“It’s not a question of liking an African charity organisation or not,” Vincent shook his head in exasperation. “There are two types of immigrant families: the hard-working and the doleful. Amina, who is Barack’s resourceful mother, has worked hard for more than ten years so that her son can have a good upbringing and holistic education. I’ve sided with your little sister this time, Laura, because she’s right: Barack has got an awful lot of potential. First Fifteen Rugby scholarship; World Assembly in Yohannes Secondary School Debating participant; and in case you didn’t know, he is also your little sister’s boyfriend—”

Gretel’s cheeks reddened. “Papa! He’s my best friend, not boyfriend.”

“Best friend, sorry Gretel, but yes—I’m impressed with Barack and I’ll have him earn his Year Ten Certificate of Educational Achievement credits in my chancery.”

“In your chancery? As in, you’ll bring the African immigrant boy with you to the Empire of the Nazi Philippines, Papa?”

“Yes. And I’ll bring Gretel with me too—just for this trimester, so that your little sister can see what it’s like to live in a third world country. Unlike a certain person here, I believe in your little sister’s ability to empathise with less fortunate kids from the other end of the world whom she’ve never met before.”

Gretel herself had persuaded him.

Laura made a disgusting sound. “You’ve always had a soft spot for that athletic nigger.” The table went quiet.

“Yes,” Vincent said. “And you’re grounded for the whole week, young lady—I’m sure your Mum will agree with this?”

“Of course I will, because how can we tolerate such language to be used in this house?” Annelie replied.

Both she and Vincent were staring at Laura, looking a little shocked. Gretel herself was flabbergasted. She could sense her parents’ anger, and she felt embarrassed on Barack’s behalf. She picked some of the crust off her crispy chicken baguette and nibbled it, but she had no appetite. She said: “Thank you Papa, I’m sure that Barack will learn a lot from you and the rest of the diplomatic team. I could also use some help with that extra Year Ten Certificate of Educational Achievement credit—and I’m sure Barack will too!”

Annelie said: “And very lucky for him to be able to do so! He’ll be one of the very few boys in the Kingdom of Alexandria to have practical credits in politics and diplomacy from such an accomplished diplomat as your father.”

“Mama, thank you for your support.”

“Why do we support him, really?” Laura asked with feigned petulance. “And what will happen when this chocolate-brown ‘best friend’ of yours will dump you in future, Lil Sis! Do you actually believe the nigger boy likes you for your personality—not your blonde hair and blue eyes?”

“I’ll not have that word be used in this house again!” With his whole force Vincent banged his fist on the table, and said in a hoarse voice: “Laura, go up to your room. Now!”

Gretel was disheartened by her older sister’s mockery. It was true that Barack had said she’s very pretty; she was aware of this. But she had known him since kindergarten, and she knew fairly well that he liked her for her personality too. Yet Laura’s words lingered in her mind, bringing both embarrassment and doubt.






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World Assembly: New Rainbow Bridge to be built by 2021



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Claudia A — Opinion Piece Editor: I don’t know which planet Mirjam was speaking from—because I don’t think she’s living on Planet Reality...

—Royal Alexandria Chamber of Commerce President Volkhardt Schönfinkel



Royal Alexandria, 1 July 2019—Originally projected to cost 21 million NationStates Dollars (NSD), a replacement for West Royal Alexandria’s Rainbow Bridge is “just reaching a quarter of the way there,” with only 10 per cent of the budget set aside to date; and the Royal Alexandria City Council is planning to get the most “bang for the buck” through a competitive royal grant, The Royal Alexandria Times has learnt.

Reported since 2013 as one of the most poorly built bridges in the Kingdom of Alexandria, work to replace the 10-year-old Rainbow Bridge will start next month.

Ratepayer associations have lodged multiple official complaints to the council about the poor state of the old bridge since 2013. The blockings, noise disturbances, and traffic delays that will accompany the repairs and extension for the existing overbridge overlooking the quay by the Pride Park will come as a big blow to West Royal Alexandria’s struggling shop owners, the Royal Alexandria City Council concluded Friday night.

That’s why councillors voted 8-2 at their special meeting yesterday to fast-track a local government statute approving the Royal Alexandria Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Association’s subsidy application for royal funding to replace the bridge. Besides the application to the Crown, the council also tabled a supplementary funding scheme totalling 1.7 million NSD for the project. Lord Mayor Günther Möhring has said the council will support the association by extending the reimbursement period to 2029 at 1.5 per cent interest.

Prior to the incident, the Royal Alexandria LGBT Pride Association had originally planned to fund the construction of a new replacement bridge with money from a new Goods and Services Tax that was promised by the December 2018 local government authority submission. Northern regional voters, however, rejected the submission, which would introduce a GST rate of 2.5 per cent on most goods and services and would be staggered in over 5 years.

Given the failure of the scheme, the association had then announced that it would not be able to complete a replacement bridge—with its existing budget of 7 million NSD—by 2023. The incident meant that without local authority and national government support, a project to completely rebuild the bridge would seriously disrupt commercial activities around construction sites, which could lead to customer losses for struggling small shop owners.

With council and national government support, local officials have agreed that disruptions during the week could be limited to late night hours.

Realm Road and Bridge Corporation senior infrastructure consultant Jürgen Schröpfer said the construction was going according to plan, and project completion report has shown that the new bridge will be ready by late 2021. The initial repair work—including but not limited to landscaping, Resource Management Amendment Act 1987 audits, and street realignment—should be finished by the end of August.

“The starting foundation of the bridge will be constructed then, which would take at least four weeks as the main contractor and starting subcontractors level the ground and refill the areas for improvements,” Schröpfer said.

“By December local residents will see the subcontractors sinking the piers, and the concrete columns should be started soon after that.”

The new bridge will have a width of 6 metres, making it wider than the old, historic bridge by almost 3 metres. According to a Ministry of Transport and Logistics spokesperson, “This means that the strengthened new bridge can now take heavier vehicles, because the width limit of an Alexandrian industrial truck with extra load is 2.6 metres.” The Realm Road and Bridge Corporation Rainbow Bridge Reconstruction website states that, previously, a vehicle wider than the specified width limit would require overweight and overdimension permits, or “they would not be allowed to cross the bridge.”

In his interview with The Realm News Breakfast this morning, Royal Alexandria Chamber of Commerce President Volkhardt Schönfinkel gave his go-ahead for the new bridge project. He said the gains it would bring to potential tourists and stallholders would improve local authority’s coffers.

Schönfinkel added that the new bridge has gained the financial support of member businesses during the chamber board meeting yesterday morning. He said the chamber would send a letter of financial support for the LGBT Pride Association to Her Majesty’s Government tomorrow.

Speaking from the Royal Alexandria Town Hall yesterday evening, Wolsno-Eastern Ward Councillor Mirjam Hartstein proposed for a by-law to be tabled and is asking for ratepayer submissions on behalf of the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment. “I want to see if it’s possible to design an even more expensive bridge that could accommodate heavier traffic instead.” Schönfinkel told Breakfast presenter Megyn Marie that he agreed with Hartstein’s opinion, but opposed risking completion of the bridge by tabling her proposal now. “The submission for royal grant must be completed next week.”

“I don’t know which planet Mirjam was speaking from—because I don’t think she’s living on Planet Reality.”

Today’s exchange rate: According to the International Securities and Exchange Commission, 1 NationStates Dollar or 1 Universal Standard Dollar (NSD/USD) (World Assembly and International Standard) can be exchanged for 115.59 Quertz russling (Yohannesian); that is, a Yohannesian must spend at least §115.59 to be able to afford $1 NS.



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Published by The Royal Alexandria Times




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Author: Claudia A
claudia.a@tratimes.co.yo
@claudiaa

Claudia A is one of the underpaid interns at The Royal Alexandria Times. She is a Macroeconomics postgraduate student and professional procrastinator in between lectures by day. She has previously attempted green policy analysis and social justice reviews, but was suck at both. These days you can find her in her natural habitat — writing for the Parliamentary Analysis Archive and The Royal Alexandria Times in her leisure time. She can sometimes be found tweeting together with her friends Baxter W, Erica B, Yohannes D & co. at the Maxtopian social networking website NationStates.



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Yohannes First

“Will come as a big blow to West Royal Alexandrias struggling shop owners...” —Who cares? Probably Asian Sweet and Sour Fly Lies shop owners anyway. They can go back to where they came from!

Share 2 replies▼ ▲14 I ▼39
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ShadesOfGreyDarker

Why bring the GOP’s dog-whistle politics here? As the 18th Yohannesian Emperor said, let’s make this a moment of national unity.

Share ▲25 I ▼3

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#metoo

The vast majority" is FOR a new, stronger Rainbow Bridge—not politics of envy @Yohannes First!

Share ▲40 I ▼29
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Theysaidwhat

Lets seeas a small business owner,already pay heaps of tax. Pay $$$ rates from property profits also taxed and now they want to propose extra Goods and Services Tax? Over my dead body!

Share ▲18 I ▼17

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iPost

Theysaidwhat, if you want to enjoy government benefits and good tax refunds, then be prepared to pay your dues by supporting the society that has supported your rise to prosperity!

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4 The Archbishop and His Mission
Last edited by Yohannes on Fri Jun 07, 2019 2:08 pm, edited 6 times in total.
The Realm of YohannesDas Yohannesische Reich
Government Archive Act | Reichstag Parliamentary Debates | Tales from Yohannes | I Beg my Realm
Currency Intervention | A Game of Thrones | The Archbishop and His Mission | The Financial Diary | Homofront Yohannes | My competition
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Civil Rights Lovefest

Re: The Archbishop and His Mission

Postby Yohannes » Wed Feb 27, 2019 11:19 pm



The 2019 storytelling series from the creator of the Realm of Yohannes on NationStates





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Gretel Kästner, Loving Daughter and Student


“… A young student and the loving daughter of a Yohannesian senior diplomat, Gretel wishes to learn more about the complex cultural and political identities of her nation—and to see why the Rainbow Bridge holds such a special meaning for the Kingdom of Alexandria.”





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Barack Omaha, Devoted Son and Student


“… The son of an ambitious Somalian mother, the Rainbow Bridge Incident has awakened Barack’s desire to know what it means to be an independent and confident first-generation African Yohannesian in the Realm of fiords and mountain.”





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Thaddäus Neumayer, Archbishop Emeritus and Ambassador


“… Archbishop Emeritus of the Kingdom of Burmecia, Thaddäus has been appointed as an Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary—he is fighting to preserve the apostolic Church in Yohannes; and he is aiming to spread the Will of God in the Nazi Philippines.”





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Vincent Kästner, Wise Father and Diplomat


“… Chosen as Charge d’Affaires to the Nazi Philippines, he quickly learns the daring game of politics and Statesmanship when Thaddäus makes him do all the hard yards in his chancery. Unbeknown to him, Vincent is about to uncover some of the deepest-held secrets of the Bible Belt.”





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Beatrix of Alexandria, General of the Nine Alexandrian Knights


“… General Beatrix is the head of Alexandria’s covert special assassination and tactical knights. She secretly helped Office of Elimination and Extradition Agent Oskar Schindler and his friend Feng Jiahao amidst a Game of Thrones then—and now, in the Nazi Philippines.”


5 The Archbishop and His Mission
Last edited by Yohannes on Wed Feb 27, 2019 11:34 pm, edited 2 times in total.
The Realm of YohannesDas Yohannesische Reich
Government Archive Act | Reichstag Parliamentary Debates | Tales from Yohannes | I Beg my Realm
Currency Intervention | A Game of Thrones | The Archbishop and His Mission | The Financial Diary | Homofront Yohannes | My competition
Embassy Exchange | VMK Industry | Bank of Yohannes | Automobil Yohannes | NS Hacking | Our posting history | Player information
We love NationStates! Do you? \__(^.^)_//
NS military project: Tank | Armour | Bomber
All In-Character things I’ve written on NationStates are open-source/Creative Commons that you can use :)
2018 had been my most productive (IC) NS year since 2011 — I won’t be as active on NS now due to RL obligations :)

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Civil Rights Lovefest

Re: The Archbishop and His Mission

Postby Yohannes » Tue Mar 05, 2019 2:49 am



Barack’s mother was a teacher. At her house in the poor side of town, at her practice in the education centre every weekday, and at the old college on the Terrace, she taught students sent to her by their families from the surrounding suburbs. She prepared them for life, each knowing that she was there to impart her wisdom, and showed them the wonder of science in the field at the back of the school. Once a month, when the beltway insiders sent their inspectors to watch her laudable, high-achieving class, Amina would impress them and ask for her pupils to say the name of every Yohannesian Emperor from first to last, where she would then receive their praise and recommendation of excellence in teaching for ministerial officials who had kept her record. So Barack openly told Gretel over ice cream, with that face which said that he was there for her just as she was there for him, there’s no need for her to hide her secret anymore.

His father had been jailed for selling narcotics, a charge the police dealt with heavy-handedly, for the inner city had long been victimised by the underground drug trade. Hearing Barack talking about it, Gretel felt sure that his father was a very bad man. His absence, however, had not impacted Barack heavily. For nine years he was not there to support his son: Amina was the household breadwinner. He was not around much to feed his family; he would always come home late and spend his welfare money to drink and smoke; and when he was home he would argue with his wife and neglect his son’s education, sleeping during the day and traversing unsafe streets at night. When Wednesday arrived he would take his dole money from the government and waste it overnight. He knew how to keep his money away from his wife and ignore his son. He had already been convicted thrice before, and now he would be jailed for life. However, Amina was respected by all and sundry, despite the stain on her husband’s back, for everyone knew of her achievements, and anyway she had been commended by the Ministry of Education too many times by now.

Barack and Gretel ate their last cone and drank their fizzy drink and lay by the tree holding hands until the sun went down; then they would leave the park to have the dreaded talk. Gretel was unsure how Barack would respond. Last time Amina told her that he would be fine. In her plan they would go to his house to first meet his mother, as clever and persuasive as ever, and when Amina mentioned her father’s grant she would be the one to clinch the deal. Then Gretel would assure him understandingly, saying she would have the time of her life in the Nazi Philippines and he should too. There was the possibility that he would be outraged by their carefully orchestrated plan to convince him, and say angrily that he would break his friendship with her. She would then add that he could always say no to the opportunities given by the Yohannesian Embassy Manila, but she was afraid that her diplomatic overture would be ruined by his mother, who had waited for years and tried her hardest to prop up his dreams. Amina would force her son to say yes, and that was not what Gretel would like to see.

She felt so worried last night that when she left her house this morning and realised she was thinking too much she began to feel at ease again, for she knew that Barack would say yes—that he had always liked challenges—and the daring opportunities presented before him would excite his young life.

“Winter is coming,” Gretel said. The howling cold wind from the North was sweeping through the trees of the darkening playground. All around them, parents were calling their sons to finish the game and their daughters to pack the bag. Soon the wardens entered the gate, rung the bells to indicate the night had come, and told everyone to go home safe and sound.

Barack and Gretel left the park quickly, and turned left to his house just three streets away. They paced through the rundown houses of Victory Square, hurriedly walked away from the man calling his name in broken pidgin Yohannesian, and then went up to the house at the end of the street. Gretel remembered what Barack had told her before, when he had asked her to keep the secret about his father from everyone in class. He had said: “The dodgy-looking old man by my house is a drug dealer—don’t look no matter what.”

Amina was there waiting for them. She had set up the table over fried chicken and rice to fill up their growing bodies, and Gretel told Barack to help his mother by bringing hot tea from the kitchen. She gave Amina the wink while he was away. Gretel wished they had prepared this much longer. She could spoil it by saying the wrong thing, but even if she had, she could not do more to convince him. Once a determined man had made up his mind, he’d set out to pursue it.

She said to Amina: “Is there anything that I can do now?”

“Not certainly,” Amina said. “Love, I know my son well, and he can be as stubborn as a rock in the road.”

“Father said this is Barack’s only chance.”

“At the diplomacy life? Yes. I want the same for him too. In Somalia, I grew up without enough money for breakfast almost every single day. And that’s why I want the best for my Barack. Well, we’ll see what he thinks soon.”

Gretel was slightly relieved to learn that Amina would make Barack decide for himself, free from her intervention, and she felt hopeful as he walked through the kitchen door into the room with two cups of tea in his hands.

Barack carefully put them on the table near the fireplace. He smiled at Gretel and looked at Amina. “Mother, you’re about to tell me something this morning?” he said.

“Your friend has good news for us,” Amina said. “And I want you to choose wisely for the single most important decision you will ever make in your entire life.”

“No pressure from our side,” Gretel said. “Father told me that this should be a decision for your family to make—and for Barack to choose.”

A revealing look came over Barack’s perceptive face, and he said: “Wait, I remember Mother talking about this with the World Assembly adoption guy last week—am I going to be adopted here?”

“Don’t be silly,” Amina said. “Senior diplomat Vincent and his wife have got their hands full raising two teenage daughters, and I don’t think adding one fast-growing boy to the crew is what they want.”

“No need for the sarcasm Mother,” he said embarrassingly. “I get it.” He gave Amina her cup of tea and sat next to Gretel.

“What is it?”

Amina said: “Your friend will still be here.” She took a folder from the table and drew a piece of paper, then gave it to Barack. His face looked undecided. “She knows me well,” he said, and he glanced at Gretel. “She’s my right hand man.” Then he quickly read the letter.

“I’m your right hand woman, not man,” Gretel chuckled, but Barack was too distracted to notice.

She glanced worriedly at him. Putting his head down, he started by reading the title of the letter, and straight to the very bottom paragraph. A bright light shone through the living room window, followed by the loud sound of a car parking outside. Barack finally said: “Is this a scholarship?”

Amina said: “The Von Bismarck scholarship for the distinguished in diplomacy and politics for pre-degree level practical study, my son.”

Barack took the second piece of paper from her mother and skimmed through its content. Amina handed Gretel her cup of tea and gave her a subtle wink.

The room was quiet but for the sound of the neighbours entering their house outside. Gretel temporised, waiting expectantly for the answer she was looking for. He said: “How much is it?”

Amina said: “The entitlement package?” She handed Barack another sheet of paper. “Ninety grand.”

“Ninety?” There was dubiety in his whisper. “Is this true?” It sounded like a dream, but felt real.

Gretel took a peek at the paper, moving closer beside him. He moved his right hand, the content now visible to her, and she gasped.

Ninety thousand NationStates Dollars.

The Von Bismarck programme had always been one of the most influential grants in Yohannes, but now she felt its real impact. A private school college tuition in the Kingdom of Alexandria averaged at ten grand, while a comprehensive tertiary level study could easily be three times that amount. But this was worth nine times more. “Wow!” she said. “This is wonderful!” She looked at his face, and it was like seeing the stare of a dumbfounded man.

At this, tears came from Amina’s eyes. She had tried hard to save for him, and then tried even harder. The entire package would be worth the full tuition amount and another fifty for accommodation and costs, making up a total of more than one hundred grand. She had personally saved up to thirty grand since Barack was young, and now this—this was too much for her to handle. She started to sob uncontrollably as tears of relief rolled from her eyes. “Oh, my Barack …”

He stood and embraced her, hugging her so tight that her voice sounded strain when she said: “Please thank the Kästner family for this, my son, and do not let them down …”

“Mother,” he said rigidly. “Not in front of Gretel like this, please.”

Gretel felt tears coming to her eyes. She said: “It’s okay, I’m a family friend.”

“Do not be embarrassed by warmth and affection,” Amina said candidly. “Many men have lost their way, and the ones they love along the way—all in the name of empty pride, my Barack.”

“Yes, Mother.” He tried to hide his tears, but now they kept flowing and would not stop.

Gretel skimmed through the first letter quickly, and felt pride deep in her heart when she looked at the mother and son, because they carried hope in their blood—hope in the face of difficulty, and hope in the face of uncertainty. “The audacity of hope,” she mumbled.

“Princess,” Amina was saying, “you can come with us here too! Just beware, because Barack hasn’t taken his shower yet.”

“No,” Gretel chuckled. “It’s okay,”

With an effort Amina regained her composure. She approached Gretel, still fighting back tears, and hugged her; then she withdrew, wiped her eyes, and sat beside the table.

“Mother, will you be fine if I go?” Barack said. He made his way next to Gretel, and stared at her mother intently. “I want to go, but I don’t want to leave you here by yourself. How can I? Who will look after you, because I feel bad—”

“Do not say that!” Amina interjected. “You’re not going to feel sorry for your old mother.” Amina looked at Gretel and paused, but finally, she decided to say: “I am the past. You are the future, my son. You are not going to hold yourself back because of me. I will not have my only son wasting his life away trying to hang around this neighbourhood of crime and poverty.”

Barack tried his hardest to hold back his tears, Gretel could see. She held his hand tightly and smiled up at him.

“I was born in Somalia, and I braved the open seas so that you, my son, can and will have a good education and brighter future. Leave this old woman here, where she belongs. You do not belong here. You are not an African immigrant. You are a smart and hard-working African Yohannesian—a citizen of the Realm of fiords and mountain. You will leave this house and show what it means to be a successful, independent and confident first-generation African Yohannesian.”

Barack looked down at the last letter and raised his eyebrows. “Mother, this is due tomorrow evening,” he said waveringly.

“Yes,” Amina replied. “You are to pack your bag now, and stay with the Kästner family tonight. There, I want you to help your friend’s father prepare all the paperwork for your diplomatic and consular corps application, and your school certificate transfer, Barack—”

“But I can’t do this to you so suddenly!” he said.

“Yes you can, and yes you will,” Amina said. “Now go up to your room and pack your bag, before the last inter-suburb bus will leave.” Amina glanced at Gretel in a friendly way. “This is the time for me to hang out with the ladies from the community—and so when I’m back from their place, Barack, I expect you to be out there already with Gretel, catching the late-night inter-suburb bus to meet her family.”

She looked at Barack and Gretel together—holding hands—and she smiled, a sheen of tears obscuring her vision. Then she turned away, went through the front door, and closed it gently behind her.






-✨✨✨✨✨✨✨-








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Das Reich: English Edition


The Von Bismarck Intercultural Scholar Awards



    Regency of Lindblum, 2019—Last week, The Royal Alexandria Times published an article with pictures of the Von Bismarck Scholarship, and surprisingly, it left many college students and their parents wondering: what is the Von Bismarck Scholarship?

    The Von Bismarck Scholarship is one of Yohannes’ two oldest intercultural exchange scholarships alongside the Physical and Intellectual Disability Foundation Programme, and has been a much cherished part of Yohannesian public diplomacy since 1871.

    One of the most competitive grants for promising secondary school and university students in the Nineteen Countries, the Von Bismarck Scholarship forces participants to go outside their comfort zones on a culturally enriching exchange programme outside Yohannes. The Scholarship is a wraparound programme, meaning that participants have their tuitions and accommodation costs fully funded by the government while partaking in the programme.

    For 100 years, the Von Bismarck Scholarship have sent Yohannesian college students and university undergraduate and research students abroad. They go to many places, from Fecaw to Majapahit and Soracana Islands to Tjorl.

    With a few exceptions, Von Bismarck Scholarship participants have always been known as a responsible bunch. Their applications and nominations have always been carefully vetted by not only their school authorities but also local government authorities. And this is for the very simple reason that once outside the Nineteen Countries, a Von Bismarck Scholarship participant is seen as an official representative of the Yohannesian nation-state—that is, they are acting as unofficial ambassadors for Yohannes while studying overseas. Their views and their actions reflect the views and actions of the Yohannesian government back home. On top of this they must also complete their academic studies and pass with flying colours.

    Some have criticised the government for the unrealistic expectations placed on Von Bismarck Scholarship participants abroad. For instance, in 2015 the Scholarship was criticised for expelling a grantee after he was caught sitting next to his drunk driving friend—and consequently was fined by a local police officer in Radiatia. One year later, a young undergraduate grantee from the Kingdom of Alexandria was caught running naked while binge drinking outside her campus: she was immediately expelled from the programme.



    Image



    Figure 1: Audo von Bismarck was the longest serving Chancellor of the Nineteen Countries by time in office.

    “I think it’s a bit high, really, this expectation,” says Cecilia Göring, a research student who graduated from the University of Yohannes with the help of the Scholarship in 2011. Now working for the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Trade, she writes, “I believe that beltway insiders have it much easier than actual scholars and young researchers who represent Yohannes out there, and I think that that is just a wee bit sad and wrong.” She concluded for her report last year: “We are being sent out there to act like official ambassadors of the Realm, when in fact we’re just young people who want to have some fun.”

    Cäcilia Hölder, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Kingdom of Nortend, Cardoby and Hambria, believes that Göring was wrong. She said, “Von Bismarck Scholarship grantees are not just there to polish their future academic credentials—they’re also there to represent the state. They’re funded by the state to represent our people in a positive way. They’re not there to get to know drunk drivers while eating Mcdonald’s Big Mac®, or burn couches with their new foreign university friends every Wednesday night.”

    “That is the Western culture and the Western way—not us. Yohannes is not an English-speaking nation, and we will never be an Anglo-Saxon Western nation. Chancellor Von Bismarck himself was a great statesman: he would never approve of such a thing.”

    However, 100 hundred years after the creation of the Von Bismarck Scholarship, there is still some lack of consensus about the future direction of the programme and its ideal home inside the beltway. Some beltway insiders believe they should be scrapped and subsumed under an existing agency to save taxpayers money, while others believe that its cultural and educational exchange structure can be used to supplement public diplomacy. They think that it can help preserve Yohannesian diplomatic neutrality while encouraging greater understanding of “Yohannes’ harmless and relatively isolationist foreign policy in 2019.” This is just one of many ways, they believe, Yohannesian trade and investment can be maximised in a safe environment and protected from avoidable harm.

    Media Contact: Aleksander Westwood-Wilhelm, Senior Press Gallery Reporter. Tel: +585 2 840 6510. Email: aleksander.wilhelm2@dr.com


    Image



6 The Archbishop and His Mission
Last edited by Yohannes on Tue Mar 05, 2019 7:44 am, edited 3 times in total.
The Realm of YohannesDas Yohannesische Reich
Government Archive Act | Reichstag Parliamentary Debates | Tales from Yohannes | I Beg my Realm
Currency Intervention | A Game of Thrones | The Archbishop and His Mission | The Financial Diary | Homofront Yohannes | My competition
Embassy Exchange | VMK Industry | Bank of Yohannes | Automobil Yohannes | NS Hacking | Our posting history | Player information
We love NationStates! Do you? \__(^.^)_//
NS military project: Tank | Armour | Bomber
All In-Character things I’ve written on NationStates are open-source/Creative Commons that you can use :)
2018 had been my most productive (IC) NS year since 2011 — I won’t be as active on NS now due to RL obligations :)

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Civil Rights Lovefest

Re: The Archbishop and His Mission

Postby Yohannes » Wed Mar 13, 2019 6:41 am



II




Parliament House was more intimidating than some palaces. It was formidably vast, and its large debating chamber was held by four rows of tall pillars. Here Thaddäus stood in the most important place in the Realm of Yohannes.

Queen Sansa was comfortably at home here. He saw the queen and her husband Nathan arrived in their majestic attires, with one side of their royal cape purple and the other white. Their swords were sheathed, jewelries and iridescent diamonds dangling from their garments; and they held their heads high. They were the prince-electors, and this was their place. Every attending baron and duke greeted them eagerly, but they ignored the lay people watching. They laughed at their own jokes, nodded to their knights with pride, and bestowed congratulations on the attending lobbyists and politicians. They were living in man’s glory, but in Jesus’ eyes they were just sinners, Thaddäus noted scathingly. He wanted to warn them that the hearing held in this chamber could take away their royal and worldly titles, even if they were beltway insiders.

He and his presbyters were talking in hushed voices, and they addressed one another quietly without making a scene. This was not out of humility, he knew, but anxiety and embarrassment. Thaddäus, his assistant Günter, and their presbyters were self-conscious here. He had never attended a Select Committee hearing before. The only politician he knew was GOP’s Johannes Bonner, but he was not here with Thaddäus. He did not know what to say; he was plainly dressed; and the donation he had sent, which he believed would be enough, was paltry in comparison to what he had seen today.

His presbyters were shifting uneasily in their chairs, and Father Günter’s eyes looked very distant, as if his mind was somewhere else—though it could not be right, for his most trusted lieutenant was not the type to succumb to great mental suffering and unhappiness. Thaddäus was now unsure of the outcome of today’s hearing. He was filled with trepidation. He was just a newly appointed ambassador, trying to oppose one of the greatest voting blocs in the realm: the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rainbow movement. The issue was more funding for his embassy. Without it, he could not travel often back home. And without his presence, the apostolic Church in Burmecia would decline. His mission, currently the only thing that could save the kingdom’s struggling dioceses, would fail miserably. He had not retired from his role as archbishop to abandon his flock.

He could not fail his mission, because there was too much at stake to surrender: God counted him worthy to fight for His name’s sake! But today he was standing in Rainbow’s Country—not the Bible Belt—and here the Church was not infallible. His vulnerability drove him mad.

As he stared up, he realised that the proceedings would soon start. His only comfort was that he refused to give up. Emperor’s Counsel Robert Praeton was here to speak for him. Forever indebted to Thaddäus for his divorce counselling nine years ago, Robert was a manipulative creature well acquainted with the instruments of law. As an eminent barrister who was appointed to be one of the Yohannesian Emperor’s Counsel learned in the law, the Select Committee hearing was his playground. He had helped Thaddäus and his presbyters many times in the past, and now he had guided them through the legal maze of Parliament.

Thaddäus lowered his neck and gave his old body a rest. He felt like a fish out of water. This, he thought, was what it was like to feel true fear.

He looked around the chamber, and he saw three things. His team of advocates—all of them barristers who knew Robert well—had tabled his case straight to the chairman of the committee, bypassing the dangerous ground of parliamentary debates. Then near the east wall were seven empty seats, which made Thaddäus realised that, somehow, Robert had convinced the chairman not to summon a working group of experts on Christian politics down south today. And finally, to his right, in the very centre of the chamber, stood Victor von Schönberger, a retired judge who had once been Queen Sansa’s right-hand man. Victor was the fortieth Minister-President of the Kingdom of Burmecia. His youngest son was the queen’s private secretary, and she was the chairman’s favourite: Victor was a social liberal like her; he had studied law with her late father; and her late father had approved his old government reforms. His predilection would be to favour the young queen’s cause over a senior clergyman’s, Robert forewarned—and Queen Sansa was a notable LGBT rights advocate.

The chairman seated himself in his chair, in front of the large window overlooking the Prince Friedrich Leopold Canal and the Little Wannsee lake. Behind him were two registrars who nodded and smiled at the queen. They ignored Thaddäus.

As soon as Victor had seated himself, Robert began. “Your Honour, the Queen of Burmecia has blocked the Archbishop Emeritus of Burmecia’s proposal to withdraw additional money from the Cultural Diplomacy Fund for the purposes of His Excellency’s embassy in the Nazi Philippines.”

“This is not the Queen’s right.” His simulated wheedling tone had been replaced by barely suppressed anger.

He went on. “As a retired senior clergyman, the Archbishop Emeritus of Burmecia has the moral responsibility to guide his flock. His new appointment as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, which would render him away from this Realm of fiords and mountain for most of the year, is most unfair for the many struggling dioceses in Burmecia! They need him to guide them. The new Archbishop of Burmecia requires his presence to show the way of the apostolic Church. I have tabled a supplementary paper which showcases that this has been the tradition for more than a hundred years.”

Victor slowly raised his left hand, and Thaddäus watched as the chairman revealed the tabled paper with his right hand. “Leave is sought to table the supplementary paper,” he said.

“Is there any objection?”

Queen Sansa raised her hand and objected. “The late king—my father—and his Prime Minister were generous enough to allow the tradition to continue.” She slowly stood up.

“But there’s no constitutional limitation which forbids me to do away with that archaic custom,” she said, looking at Thaddäus with disgust in her eyes.

Robert countered swiftly: “The late king kept the custom because it had generated sensible revenue for his kingdom.”

“I’m sure the apostolic Church’s congregation would bristle at seeing their donation money going into the state’s treasury coffer,” Sansa said. “Behind the scenes,” she added.

“And is it not the Queen of Burmecia’s duty to ensure that the state will receive as much revenue as it could sensibly acquire from her subject—something that the continuing growth of the apostolic Church in Burmecia would bring for her kingdom!” Thaddäus could just see the simulated indignation on Robert’s face.

“I have a sacred duty to discharge to the state,” Victor said. “Which is, to render my best assistance to the judicious administration of her revenue—and in this, I agree with Robert Praeton Emperor’s Counsel. Though they may be small, the Sunday markets’ taxes and the attendance donations given by the Church over the years have been important in the eyes of the Crown.”

Robert was not telling the whole truth, Thaddäus knew. There was a minor disagreement between the Church and the Crown from 1914 to 1918. But Queen Sansa did not know that, nor did the chairman and most politicians today. He felt hopeful. The chairman seemed to have disagreed with the young queen this time.

Robert made a peculiar face and spread his hands out in a gesture as he shrugged, as if considering what he would say next. “Your Honour, I agree that that has been the main reason for the late king’s passive support of the Church in Burmecia. The Crown has done this for more than a hundred years, and the Queen—unwisely—is trying to do away with this tradition.”

King Consort Nathan was behind this, Thaddäus had come to understand. Before his marriage to the queen, Prince Nathan was an influential civil rights activist. He had developed a huge following among university students and the environmentally conscious middle-class by decrying the influence of big banks’ money and lobbyists inside the beltway. Without his political support, the young queen would not be able to pull this off by herself.

Queen Sansa had a look of haughty disdain, as if it was unbecoming for a prince-elector to debate with lay people; but she was trying to mislead Robert: she knew perfectly well what she was doing here. “The agreement paper does not say the leader of the Church—spiritual or real—may leave this country for an extended period of time and still be deemed a senior clergyman.”

Robert countered: “In that case, why has Her Majesty not raised her objection thus far?”

The young queen was well prepared. “Former kings and queens of Burmecia favoured the Church—including my father—as their contributions to the Lord in heaven. It was a voluntary, non-obligatory act. But it will take more than two or three spiritual beings in heaven to convince me to support the Archbishop Emeritus’ application for more, and generous, funding. My loyalty outside my duty lies elsewhere.”

In an instant, Queen Sansa had gained the upper hand, and Thaddäus could tell by the subtle smile on her face that she knew it. And this was just a Select Committee hearing, he thought—not a parliamentary reading, which was more brutal and unforgiving.

Robert said: “And yet the Queen’s objection could spell the slow death of a hundred-year-old institution—”

“The Archbishop Emeritus is but just one man,” Sansa interjected. “I’m sure that the Church in Burmecia will do just fine.”

Victor said: “Then on this matter the Queen is in the right. The Archbishop Emeritus of Burmecia is now an Ambassador-Designate—not an archbishop in office. I see no reason why His Excellency should enjoy the privileges of both offices, and additional funding for what could be best described as a ‘pet project.’ To Robert Praeton Emperor’s Counsel, what does the current Archbishop of Burmecia say to the argument that he should be able to perform his duties well without the physical presence of his predecessor?”

“That he will fulfill his ecclesiastical duties to the best of his ability, and that was why he had been elected to become the leader of the Church in Burmecia.”

To Thaddäus’ dismay, the chairman seemed to agree. Still standing, Queen Sansa smiled triumphantly. She looked at Thaddäus with unbridled loathing.

However, Robert still had one card up his sleeve. He paused and turned to face the surrounding reporters. “Your Honour, the Archbishop Emeritus’ successful application would not just help the Church in Burmecia—it would also help one very deserving Von Bismarck grantee from an underprivileged family background. I seek leave to table a video recording from the Kingdom of Alexandria’s ‘Crime Street.’”

For the first time since Thaddäus had seen her today, Queen Sansa looked as though she was unsure of what to do. Suddenly, that air she had, which had tormented him throughout the proceedings, disappeared. Her soft eyes betrayed vulnerability!

Victor said: “Leave is sought to table the supplementary paper; is there any objection?”

The queen glanced at her husband.

“There is none,” the chairman concluded. “It can be done.”

The official paper, by leave, was then laid on Parliament’s table. Everyone turned their attention to the large, flat-screen television on the west wall.

A young African boy appeared on the screen, wearing a World Assembly T-shirt. A much shorter woman—who must be his mother—stood just behind him. With her slovenly hair and plain garments, she looked like a third world country refugee, by contrast with the gorgeously-dressed Queen Sansa, who was standing not far from the screen.

“My name is Barack Omaha,” the young boy said as his mother moved to stand next to him. “Without the generous Von Bismarck Scholarship, my mother Amina would struggle to afford my university education.”

What Thaddäus saw left him speechless, and it took him a few moments to make sure he was not dreaming. This was the African boy he had seen last week!

Amina said: “I love my Barack, and I will do anything for him. I’ve raised him to be a proud citizen of this Realm of fiords and mountain—an independent and smart first-generation African Yohannesian. A hard-working scholarship recipient, First Fifteen Rugby player, and obedient son.” Then Barack nodded, and gave the audience a thumbs-up sign.

“Archbishop Emeritus Thaddäus Neumayer, thank you for this opportunity to go to your embassy in the Nazi Philippines.”

The video ended with a message from the world’s governing body: “Without your assistance, the World Assembly will not be here today. We need your help. You can donate to the World Assembly National Adoption Boards to help give children the best start in life. You can do this today by visiting our website at https://www.nationstates.net/page=un.”

“Tabled paper concluded.” Victor looked around the chamber, and he saw that every press gallery reporter’s eyes were on him. The chairman leaned forward and paused, but finally, he decided to say: “What will the effect of this application’s rejection be for young gifted students such as Barack Omaha?”

Robert said: “The rejection of the application will result in the postponement of these underprivileged students’ scholarship grants.”

Queen Sansa did not say anything, not even as the press gallery reporters and their camera crew shifted their attention for a moment to her.

Robert looked expectantly at the young queen. She knew she had lost.

“I hereby announce the removal of my opposition,” Sansa said. This time, there was resignation in her voice. Thaddäus could not suppress a triumphant smile.

“That is, Mr Chairman, I hereby announce the removal of my opposition to the Archbishop Emeritus of Burmecia’s proposal to withdraw additional money from the Cultural Diplomacy Fund for the purposes of His Excellency’s embassy in the Nazi Philippines.”

After a long pause, Victor von Schönberger said: “The committee having concluded, the motion lapsed.”

7 The Archbishop and His Mission
Last edited by Yohannes on Wed Mar 13, 2019 9:57 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Yohannes
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Civil Rights Lovefest

Re: The Archbishop and His Mission

Postby Yohannes » Sun Jun 16, 2019 4:56 pm



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Maréchal-Le Men
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Wrote a shout out just a while ago:



“This morning, I’m proud to read the inspirational story of Barack Omaha and her mother Amina. Amina has braved the high seas so that her son can have the best education possible. She has made countless sacrifices for her son, for only in this Realm of fiords and mountain would his story be possible.”

“This morning, I’m proud to say their names before the Members and Elected Collegians of the Realm in Parliament assembled, because they carry hope in their blood—hope in the face of difficulty, and hope in the face of uncertainty. The audacity of hope.”

“The story of Barack and Amina Omaha is but just one of many stories of everyday people who are trying to reclaim the Yohannesian dream. This is what the culture of educational excellence, and the inspirational world of Von Bismarck Scholars is all about.”

“Our young people will be the leaders of tomorrow, and that is why the GOP will be there to support them. To the sons and daughters of hard-working Yohannesian citizens and legal residents—from the Main to the Menan, from the Rainbow’s Adige to the Bible Belt.”

“We want to tell you that we’ve got your backs.”

“Yohannes, Yohannes above all. Unity and justice and freedom for the Yohannesian fatherland.”

@Maréchal-Le Men Parliament House to the 116th Realm Parliament on the Von Bismarck Intercultural Scholar Awards.

#NationStates2019


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Vincent Kästner came within sight of the heartland’s capital city at noontide the next day, as his new boss had told him. He emerged from the wooded hillside and looked out across a landscape of bustling, expansive light industry halted only by the large port and its teeming ships to the east. There was no snow or ice to be seen, for even in the dead of winter snowfalls in the South of Burmecia were generally not abundant. A few miles away across the smoking outer suburbs and the valley, the Archbishop’s Palace stood on a small rise; a huge, historic building on the east bank of the Main River.

Vincent followed the road into a rise and Royal Burmecia disappeared from view. He drove his car along the chip-sealed road, through the open gates and up the hill to the turnaround loop on the south side of the vast estate. Vincent was impressed by Archbishop Emeritus Thaddäus. Thaddäus was so kind and gentle in his first meeting with Barack and Gretel last week that he made Vincent feel embarrassed and guilty, because he had doubted the clergyman’s sincerity. Thaddäus had generously approved their placements: he had fast-tracked their applications, listened attentively to Amina’s concerns, assured her immediately that under his watch Barack would thrive, swiftly realised that Barack was watching, and then promptly cracked a children’s joke—without, Vincent had seen, a second thought.

Vincent smiled contently as he realised how well things had been going for Barack and Gretel. Thaddäus had even pledged his promise that he would let them learn at their own pace, and without any religious interference. But Vincent felt worried that Thaddäus’ love for publicity would ensure that the media attention he had received would be used to benefit the Church somehow. Sometimes he even thought Thaddäus had orchestrated the whole thing for publicity.

Because he was somewhat impressed by Thaddäus, he was even more fascinated by the archbishop’s most obvious weakness—his addiction to glory and wealth. Vincent knew that was not how a senior clergyman should behave. Apparently Thaddäus had a limousine—which was not as bad as his palace here, of course. Vincent was flabbergasted when he saw the size of the estate. Thaddäus must have believed what he did was right, for he had told Vincent that he did all this for the glory of the Church. It sounded as if Thaddäus believed that God’s will was entirely on his side. He certainly should feel guilty about this palace, judging by the way he had preached against worldly pleasures in last week’s sermon.

Even this sign of weakness did not damage Vincent’s trust in Thaddäus. Thaddäus was an archbishop emeritus, not an active leader of the Church. Poverty had always been an important teaching of the Church in Yohannes, but it had never been enforced for publicly retired clergymen. Retired priests received donations, while Presbyterians and influential diocesans were often the brothers of important noblemen. Like the Church’s law against sex, the clerical war against worldly materialism was a doctrine too hard to be enforced. And anyway, if God was here and he saw how fat Thaddäus had become since his retirement, he would’ve killed the archbishop emeritus on the spot.

The Archbishop’s estate was in full view again as Vincent drove up the last hill. The place was dominated by the palace, with its facade of stuccoed brick. The majestic building had two wings and was three storeys high. There was an archer’s tower facing Vincent, one which was manned by actual hooded knights, all dressed in white and holding blazing torches. The Teutonic Knights. Vincent was unsure whether Thaddäus was still living in the past, or if Vincent himself was going mad. The ground facing Vincent from the east side was filled to the brim with grazing horses. They were received by the Church on behalf of the kingdom’s hard-working taxpayers. This knowledge never failed to upset Vincent, for the apostolic Church had for so long spent its finite resources on its extravagant senior clergymen, while the Church at the grassroots in Burmecia was in disrepair.

As Vincent arrived at the parking lot he saw the clerical dormitory, which stood on the same ground as the inner estate. It was utterly neglected, so devoid of charitable husbanding. Vincent could see a running tap and wine bottles stacked up high on the men’s area. It was nauseating to see such a display of unbridled incompetence. He could not believe that Thaddäus would allow such things to happen.

Vincent was already about to cry when he saw a frail old man guarding the gate of the palace. The Church in Burmecia brought shame on Jesus’ legacy, but nothing could be compared to this. However, Vincent knew that he was a diplomat—neither a clergyman nor a politician—and the feeling of helplessness deeply disturbed him.

As Vincent slowly parked his car, he noticed that the frail-looking, silver-haired cleric was in pain. The old man walked towards him with a slight limp and waved. Vincent opened the driver’s door and said: “Good sir, what are you doing outside in this cold weather?”

“My name is Anton von Hindenburg. You must be the Beltway diplomat … Deputy Ambassador Vincent Kästner?”

“Yes, Father Anton. Winter is coming. The Night King will arrive. You should not be out here.”

“Winter is coming, you’re right Mr Kästner. And that’s why I must be here.”

Vincent was startled. “But why?”

“By the order of the Archbishop Emeritus of Burmecia, I must keep my watch on his ancestors’s gate to see the Night King’s approach.”

“But the Night King and his winter are already here!”

“Yes … but we’re not approaching the Long Night yet, Mr Kästner.”

This is ridiculous, Vincent thought. He said: “You should come with me inside and have a wee cuppa, Father Anton.”

“It would be my pleasure,” said Anton. “But Archbishop Emeritus Thaddäus is inside, and His Grace will want me to stay here to fulfill my duty.”

“How much is the Archbishop paying you for this?”

“God wills it. My payment will come in the eternal life to come.”

“Well … I’m a diplomat and a Beltway insider, not a church leader. Father Anton, I will make you come inside with me, whether you like it or not.”

Anton looked worried. “Well, but please tell the Archbishop Emeritus that you want me inside. I don’t want to displease His Grace by disrespecting God’s will.”

“As a representative of the Yohannesian Emperor, I’m telling you, Father Anton, that your order will now come from her—not God.”

Anton blanched. Vincent held Anton’s hand as they went to the door of the great hall. The frail old clergyman’s limping was now even more noticeable to him. This kind of senseless waste angered him. Anton had served God faithfully through his prime years, and now when he should be given a rest he was instead betrayed by those who should’ve known better. It was not just senseless, it was also heartless.

“The Emperor watches over you, Father,” said Vincent. He opened the door to the great hall and sat Anton down in a folding chair beside the white marble statue of Saint Paul. Vincent wondered what the Apostle would have said to his followers had he known they’ve squandered his goodwill. It was not just about compassion. It was about common sense, for an old man such as Anton could have been given a better, more effective job—of looking after the archbishop’s living quarters, for instance—and the apostolic Church would benefit in the long run.

“I must now meet the Archbishop Emeritus,” Vincent said. “I hope to see you again, Father.”

Anton nodded and smiled sadly.

The great hall was a long vestibule with the Archbishop’s office at the end. The ground floor was laid out so that everything outside the living quarters was imposing and worldly, whereas what was beyond that door would presumably be private and sacred. There were two teutonic knights guarding the door. With their sheathed Valyrian Steel swords and Mithril plate bodies, they looked like brutes who belonged on the field of battle—not in a holy place like this. As Vincent approached closer they said: “Halt your entry.”

“Before you lies the door to heaven, where the servants of God belong. What business do you have here?”

They both looked unforgiving, so Vincent replied immediately: “Be it commanded by the Members and Elected Collegians of the Realm in Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows—Mr Vincent Kästner, designated Charge d’Affaires to head the embassy of the Realm to the Nazi Philippines in the Head of Mission’s absence, will hold a private meeting with His Grace The Lord Archbishop Emeritus of Burmecia.”

The two knights bowed respectfully and opened the door.

Vincent marched in, and they closed the door behind him. The head servant of the Archbishop Emeritus—a stupid looking oaf in his thirties—said meekly: “My name is Sween. Your Excellency, the Archbishop Emeritus is seated beside the fire.”

“Does he know I’m coming?” said Vincent.

Sween saw the expression on Vincent’s face and looked frightened. “His Grace was planning to tell the guards outside that you’ll be coming today, but you’ve arrived before he could do so.”

Vincent walked past him and went up the little narrow staircase at the other end of the long room. As he arrived at the Archbishop Emeritus’ office, he saw Thaddäus standing by the fireplace sipping his tea.

“I hear you’ll be working with me, Mr Kästner,” Thaddäus said, turning around to face Vincent. “The Yohannesian Emperor herself has informed me that you’ll be working in my stead—to carry on the chancery operations in the Nazi Philippines during my absence?”

“Your Grace, I believe that you want a productive deputy ambassador,” said Vincent.

“You will have one.”

Thaddäus detected a disapproving note in Vincent’s tone of voice. “Indeed, I believe that the Archbishop in Burmecia requires my assistance in some ambitious holy endeavours. And in my absence you will be running our diplomatic mission on my behalf. In doing so you will be helping the apostolic Church in Burmecia greatly—the Lord in heaven will remember your service in the afterlife.”

“Of course,” said Vincent. “On the surface as it is in heaven.”

Thaddäus glared at the diplomat standing in front of him. “You are a funny man.”

“I try to be,” said Vincent. “Your Grace,” he added.

Thaddäus moved to the table and looked down at the pile of papers. “All right, Mr Kästner,” he said. “Please have a seat … because I believe that we have some unfinished business to discuss.”

8 The Archbishop and His Mission
Last edited by Yohannes on Sun Jun 16, 2019 5:50 pm, edited 2 times in total.
The Realm of YohannesDas Yohannesische Reich
Government Archive Act | Reichstag Parliamentary Debates | Tales from Yohannes | I Beg my Realm
Currency Intervention | A Game of Thrones | The Archbishop and His Mission | The Financial Diary | Homofront Yohannes | My competition
Embassy Exchange | VMK Industry | Bank of Yohannes | Automobil Yohannes | NS Hacking | Our posting history | Player information
We love NationStates! Do you? \__(^.^)_//
NS military project: Tank | Armour | Bomber
All In-Character things I’ve written on NationStates are open-source/Creative Commons that you can use :)
2018 had been my most productive (IC) NS year since 2011 — I won’t be as active on NS now due to RL obligations :)


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