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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…



















_____________________

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 Empire of New Edom’s suppression of LGBT protests.”

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 Homofront 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.
Population: 379 million; [Realism — Real Life Modern Technology]
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Yohannes
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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.
Population: 379 million; [Realism — Real Life Modern Technology]
[Government Act] | [Reichstag Parliamentary Debates] | [Tales from Yohannes] | [I Beg my Realm]
[Currency Intervention] | [A Game of Thrones] | [The Archbishop and His Mission] | [Homofront Yohannes] | [My competition]
[Embassy Exchange] | [VMK Industry] | [Bank of 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 :)

User avatar
Yohannes
Postmaster-General
 
Posts: 12600
Founded: Mar 17, 2010
Civil Rights Lovefest

Re: The Archbishop and His Mission

Postby Yohannes » Mon Feb 18, 2019 4:54 am



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 yesterday, 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.

“But let me show you.”

[ Out-of-character information: Put unfinished draft here for safe record keeping Image ]

4 The Archbishop and His Mission
Population: 379 million; [Realism — Real Life Modern Technology]
[Government Act] | [Reichstag Parliamentary Debates] | [Tales from Yohannes] | [I Beg my Realm]
[Currency Intervention] | [A Game of Thrones] | [The Archbishop and His Mission] | [Homofront Yohannes] | [My competition]
[Embassy Exchange] | [VMK Industry] | [Bank of 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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