1618: Alternative Divergence [AH][IC-OPEN]

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Alt Div Admin
Posts: 186
Founded: Dec 15, 2016
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

1618: Alternative Divergence [AH][IC-OPEN]

Postby Alt Div Admin » Wed Jul 06, 2022 2:51 pm

1618: Alternative Divergence




“There's no such thing as chance, and what to us seems merest accident springs from the deepest source of destiny.”

~Albrecht von Wallenstein

History is often said to be dictated by destiny and by fate, beyond the control of man, but what if we could dictate fate?

What if we could change the history of an entire nation? What if we could change those moments that end up determining the fate of the world?

Welcome to Alternative Divergence, an alternative history RP where the world is yours to do whatever you wish. For the sake of continuity, the time now is 1618 AD. Europe is teetering on the brink of a religious war, as the Protestant Reformation has turned brother against brother in the Holy Roman Empire, and Catholic and Protestant states are gathering in leagues all throughout the continent, and the Christians and the Muslims fight over the Holy Land. In Asia, the Mandate of Heaven is disputed between two dynasties which are growing ever closer to war, while other nations wish to challenge that worldview and to create their own empires separate from that of the Middle Kingdom. In the Americas, the Europeans quickly expand their colonial empires while the natives are desperately trying to fight back and to maintain their independence. What will be your vision of a world shaped by a nation that you call your own?[/tab]

Rules for the settlement of disputes

If it is not in the app or in a prior post, it isn’t real
Do not make wild assumptions that aren’t based in facts, ask before assuming things.

Uniqueness = strength
We are not saying that you should throw ducks at people and call it unique, but clever tactics will be awarded. Throwing men at the issue like the Qing dynasty did in real life, or throwing money at it like the Americans would have will not always work. We should try to roleplay interesting events, not to play a game of Risk, after all.

Timeskips are announced by OP
The OP will decide the current year of the IC posts. It will be updated in yearly intervals, but the chronology of posts can be somewhat flexible if needed.

Assume that the situation is as in real life unless otherwise stated
Alternative histories can be difficult to follow, and paradoxes can appear. This is compounded by the lack of player nations in some areas of the map. Unless it is mentioned in an accepted application or by the OP or the CO-OP’s, assume that the history is as in real life at the earliest possible point. As an example, no Ottomans would lead to Egypt having to be still led by the Mamluks, no colonization would mean that the natives still exist, and so on.

Annexation Rules
  • When attacking a NPC nation without anyone's intervention, direct the OP or one of the CO-OPs to the post in question after one IC page has passed since your occupation post
  • you can claim up to five map provinces at once in this way
  • Should you be challenged before that one page has passed, the standard procedure for war and negotiations begins.

Roleplaying Battles
There are a few things that should be kept in mind when fighting with other players:
  • In all seriousness, battles should be planned rather than spontaneous. However, there is no rule against having spontaneous battles, but battles planned between players tend to be better written.
  • Tactics can be more important than the size of armies. This applies regardless of size difference. Realism will still rule supreme, but as proven many times on many battlefields, numbers are an advantage only in some situations.
  • Admitting defeat will stack in your favor. No one likes people who refuse to accept that they are defeated.

Unless the outcome of the war is predetermined OOCly between the players, the OP and the CO-OP’s will jointly decide who the winner is.

That being said... there are factors that will influence who wins and who loses.

This is in the order of significance... from the primary factor to less important factors.
  1. Diplomacy: An alliance can lead less attrition. Your supply lines are better established, your troops have higher morale due to there being an ally fighting on their side, and your navy isn't as overstretched covering all your colonies. Real life principles apply here, more participants leads to higher chances of victory.
  2. Military Strength/Weaknesses: We believe that everyone knows that this is important.. right? The OP and CO-OP's will be making a separate resource of everyone's military strengths and weaknesses from their apps. The system will work like this - the way in which you use your strength to your advantage and how you cover your weaknesses will work to your benefit.
  3. Previous Precedence: This is for fairness. If you lost a war/battle before, that will be stacked towards your advantage. Therefore, a clever tactician can lose smaller battles to prepare for a decisive battle that is to come. Similarly, a clever tactician can gobble up as much victory as possible, then make peace before they'd lose.
  4. Quality of Posts: As mentioned, quality will play an important role. Of course, quantity does not mean quality, so be careful not to overwrite when a few well-placed sentences would do. The quality that we are referring to is how clever your tactics are and how well they are described ... how you use your terrain, alliances, your own military, etc. to your advantage.
Last edited by Alt Div Admin on Wed Oct 05, 2022 12:02 pm, edited 10 times in total.

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Alt Div Admin
Posts: 186
Founded: Dec 15, 2016
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Alt Div Admin » Wed Jul 06, 2022 2:52 pm

Current Events in Progress - Updated 07.07.2022


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Sao Nova Europa
Posts: 2585
Founded: Apr 20, 2019
New York Times Democracy

Postby Sao Nova Europa » Wed Jul 06, 2022 5:34 pm

January 1618

Great Song - Jiangning - Estate of Grand Marshal

Lin Shu
Grand Marshal of the Great Song

Yang Kang
Chancellor of the Great Song

The eunuch Chancellor stepped inside the personal study of Grand Marshal Lin Shu and gently bowed before his superior. The Grand Marshal was seated behind a shiny wooden desk, holding a scroll in his left hand and a brush in his right hand. Lin Shu gently placed the brush upon the desk and picked up the small cup. He sipped the hot green tea and turned his attention to Chancellor Yang Kang. The cunning eunuch had gotten his office thanks to the support of Empress Chen, sister of the Grand Marshal. The man was shrewd and intelligent, and Lin Shu recognized he needed someone like Yang Kang: an unscrupulous plotter with a silver tongue.

Lin Shu softly recited a poem:

My wrath bristles through my helmet, the rain stops as I stand by the rail;
I look up towards the sky and let loose a passionate roar.
At the age of thirty, my deeds are nothing but dust, my journey has taken me over eight thousand li.
So do not sit by idly, for young men will grow old in regret.
The Humiliation of Jingkang still lingers,
When will the pain of the Emperor's subjects ever end?
Let us ride our chariots through the Helan Pass,
There we shall feast on barbarian flesh and drink the blood of the Xiongnu.
Let us begin anew to recover our old empire, before paying tribute to the Emperor.

"Do you recognize this poem?" the Grand Marshal asked.

"The whole river is red," Yang Kang replied. "Written by Yue Fei, the great general who fought against the Jurchen invaders. But why is your Excellency reciting this poem?"

"For far too long have we accepted the Humiliation of Jingkang and the loss of the North. I plan to accomplish what Yue Fei failed to; to recover the North, reunify the Empire and avenge the Humiliation. We shall feast on barbarian flesh and drink their blood. The empire, long united, must divide; long divided, must unite. Thus it has ever been."

"Your Excellency is a man of great ambitions. I am certain you shall be the one to restore the unity of the Empire."

Lin Shu nodded. "For too long have we been on the defensive. We need to prepare for the upcoming conflict. For a start, we shall create a new body of 10,000 men: they will be recruited from amongst the best soldiers of the Standard Army - those chosen for the new body shall be replaced with fresh recruits - and form the backbone of a new offensive force. It will be drilled and ruthlessly trained to focus on offensive operations."

The eunuch nodded. "I shall personally inform the Ministry of War."

Lin Shu sipped his tea. "The Dragon shall roar again..."

Great Song - Jiangning - Imperial Palace

Xianfeng Emperor
Emperor of the Great Song

Bai Jiang
Daughter of Governor Bai Cheng

The Hall of Festivities of the Imperial Palace was filled with officials, nobles and scholars. Long tables were laden with delicious food of all varieties. The Xianfeng Emperor himself was seated at the head of the central table. An ethereal zither music filled the air and a group of slender, fair skinned women were sensually dancing to the sound of the music. The Emperor raised his wine cup. "Cheers!" he exclaimed and gulped it down. The guests followed suit.

With the Grand Marshal being the de facto military dictator of the Empire, the Emperor himself had been reduced to a purely ceremonial role. Xianfeng certainly reinforced this impression with his wild parties, drunken antics and seeming unwillingness to intervene in political affairs. But this was all a clever deception, a façade used to hide the true self of the Emperor. Behind the party-going, naïve young ruler was a shrewd and calculating mind. Xianfeng understood that if he showed his true colors, he would be removed by the Grand Marshal and replace by another Prince of the dynasty. So he would party, get drunk and give the Grand Marshal a false sense of security while secretly working to overthrow him and restore imperial rule.

"Your Imperial Majesty," a soothing female voice spoke, "will you allow me to play music for you?" The woman was Bai Jeng, daughter of Governor Bai Cheng. Xianfeng was certain that the Governor had brought her to Hall to impress him; even if real power was held by the Grand Marshal, it was still highly prestigious to have marriage ties to the Emperor. Xianfeng had to admit that if this was the Governor's plan, that it was working perfectly. Ever since he had laid eyes upon her, he had been bewitched by her beauty.

"Proceed," the Emperor ordered and the Hall was filled with the melodious and graceful music of Bai Jiang. The melody of the tune started off gently before it took a shift and became vigorous. The music soared through the air like an eagle, taking with it the very souls of those who listened to it. Xianfeng loudly clapped and cheered. "That's the best music I've heard in ages!" he admitted.

The woman nodded. "Thank you," she softly replied. "Will your Imperial Majesty allow me to dance for you?"

Xianfeng gave her the permission. Bai Jiang handed over he instrument to an eunuch and got up. The eunuch handled elegantly the instrument and his music was soothing to the soul. Bai Jiang began dancing. She was fluid, ethereal as the music. Xianfeng could hear whispers from among the guests, praising her beauty and elegant movements. "Your dance was bewitching," he finally spoke. The woman simply bowed before the Son of Heaven.

"My daughter is looking for a husband," Governor Bai - who was seated at the same table as the Emperor - said. "Would your Imperial Majesty know of any man of great standing who would be willing to marry my daughter?"

Xianfeng smiled. His suspicions had been proven correct. But he did not care if this was the ploy of a Governor seeking greater prestige and influence. "Would you allow her to become an Imperial Consort?"

The Governor got up from his seat, rushed next to the Emperor, fell on the floor and bowed deeply. "This would be a great honor!"

Great Song - Huai River - Border Fort

Liu Zhao
General of the Great Song

Liu Zhao was in his tent, in a military camp near one of the many imposing forts. He was wearing a lamellar armor, made from small rectangular plates of iron laced into horizontal rows, and a steel helmet. He was flanked by his two loyal lieutenants. He leaned over a map on the wooden table in the center of the room. He pointed with his thick, calloused hand at a number of locations which he ordered to be reinforced. At that moment a eunuch entered the tent. He was holding a scroll in his hands. Liu Zhao and his two lieutenants at once fell on their knees and bowed deeply.

"Imperial Decree!" the eunuch shouted, though everyone knew that the decree had actually come from the Grand Marshal. "His Imperial Majesty recognizes that General Liu Zhao has been serving the Imperial Throne loyally for years. General Liu Zhao has proven his martial prowess and mastery of the classics of the art of war more than once. He is thus ordered to lead the new Red Banner Army. You may rise."

Liu Zhao and his lieutenants got up. The General had heard rumors of a new, elite force that would be able to undertake offensive operations but he had never imagined that he could be its commander. "I'll obey the Emperor's will," he said. The eunuch smiled and left the tent.

One of the lieutenants, Li Kun, - a hardened, well-muscled man - spoke. "Sir, congratulations. If anyone deserves a promotion, it is you." Li Kun was silent for a few seconds, as if he was hesitant to continue. He finally mustered up enough courage though. "Sir, I also got another letter you must read." He handed over a letter to the general.

Liu Zhao read it with great interest. It was from the Emperor himself - unlike the supposed Imperial Decree coming from the Grand Marshal:

I recognize that you, Liu Zhao, are a brave, honorable and loyal subject. I've heard tales of your heroism, swordsmanship and intellect. Which is why I am asking for your help. Imperial authority has been diminished. I am but a bird in a gilded cage, unable to fly freely. The Grand Marshal has imposed a ruthless tyranny on this great Empire. I need the support of men like yourself to restore imperial authority and sagacious rule.

"Did you know of the contents of the letter?" Liu Zhao asked. Li Kun simply nodded. "That's treason against the Grand Marshal."

"I know," Li Kun replied. "But we are subjects of the Emperor, not of the Grand Marshal."

"True... but would this benefit the common folk? The Grand Marshal might be ruthless, but he is a competent ruler. His Imperial Majesty has a... less than good reputation."

"It is but a ploy. His Imperial Majesty is a crouching tiger, a hidden dragon. He is waiting for the right time to strike. Once imperial authority is restored, he will rule with firmness but kindness. He cares deeply about the people of this country."

"I... I shall not report this letter to anyone but I am still unsure if I should commit to this endeavor. I'll have to think about it."

Great Song - Fujian - Quanzhou

Zhang Guoliang
Governor of Fujian

Bai Zihua
Taoist Priest

Governor Zhang Guoliang of Fujian was in his office, reading a book, when he suddenly heard a knock on the door. "Come in!" he exclaimed and Mo Yan, his personal secretary, entered. He bowed slightly before his superior, showing his respects.

"What is it?" Zhang asked. He wasn't one for small talk.

"Your Excellency, Bai Zihua has arrived," Mo replied.

Bai Zihua was a name that was heard a lot in the past years. A young Taoist priest, he was known for his wisdom, wit and excellent swordsmanship. He would regularly advice high ranking officials on state affairs and lecture them when he felt they were behaving immorally. He had managed to defeat many famous swordsmen in duels and he was nicknamed 'Wind Swordsman' due to his speed and ferocity.

"Send him in!"

Mo Yan obliged at once. Bai Zihua was a tall, handsome man in his thirties. He was dressed in a long white gown. He exuded a sense of calm and peace.

"Governor," Bai said while bowing slightly, "I am most pleased to meet you."

Zhang sized him up carefully. "Hmm... I expected someone more impressive."

"Why? I am but a humble priest. Why would you expect me to be impressive?"

Zhang laughed, his laughter echoing across the room. "Oh yes, I forgot, you've got maintain the act of the humble priest. Deep inside, though, you do know you are famous across the Middle Kingdom. You've recently defeated in a duel my nephew, Zhang Xuanlang."

"He was the one who challenged me. I simply obliged his request."

"I know. He told me about you. Apparently you made quite the impression."

"Governor, I don't think you asked me to come to your office to talk about my swordsmanship."

"Indeed. I will skip the formalities and go directly to the point. You've been criticizing me before state officials. You know this is an offense, right?"

"I wasn't criticizing your Excellency. I was simply stating the faults of Legalism."

"Don't beat around the bush, please. We both know what you meant."

"I believe that the harshness with which your Excellency applies the laws creates more criminals than a benevolent administration would. People are inherently good. Good behavior can occur spontaneously and naturally without the threat of canning."

"People are inherently evil. Without strict laws, there will be anarchy and chaos."

"Strict laws create criminals out of the slightest deviation. They oppress the populace and lead to revolts and anarchy."

"Without laws, people will act out their evil urges. Murder, theft, rapes and all manners of evil will become commonplace."

"Without laws, most people would still behave in an orderly manner because people are by nature good and virtuous."

"Fujian has not had a revolt in quite some time and has lower crime rates than other provinces."

"Fujian also has more supposed criminals in jails."

"You are naïve."

"You are cynical."

Zhang chuckled. "You are indeed as good a talker as they say. But are you equally good with the sword? Mo Yan, my secretary, served in the army and is a capable swordsman. Would you care to come with me to the courtyard to face him?"

"Your Excellency has ignored the points I've made and instead you challenge me to a sword duel. What good would that do? I came here to persuade you to see the errors in your ways. How would defeating your secretary serve that purpose?"

"It would not but it would please me and convince me not to fill my prisons with one more person."

Bai sighed. "Very well. I shall oblige, your Excellency."


Bai Zihua and Mo Yan were in the courtyard of Governor Zhang. A garden full of peach blossom trees, it provided the perfect place for a sword duel. While the literati of Song society preferred to solve their differences through poem contests and witty remarks, warriors with knowledge of China's traditional martial arts were known to duke out in duels. A whole informal martial culture had evolved, with its own rules of conduct and ethos that encouraged men to solve their differences through combat.

Zhang watched as Bai and Mo prepared for the duel. Mo unsheathed his sword. The blade of the sword was emitting a blue light and Mo's face reflected upon it. The blade was so clear that it was like a mirror. On the other hand, Bai's sword was old, rusty and covered with dust. That sword was also scarred, a sign that it had fought many battles. One would expect a more refined sword considering the fame of Bai. This sword looked like a cheap sabre which anyone with a modest income could buy.

Yet, in the eyes of a great swordsman, the difference between Mo and Bai and their respective swords was already clear. Mo was a man holding a sword. Bai had become one with his sword.
Bai Zihua

In a split of a second, the two swords had collided. A loud clang sound was heard and it seemed like the earth shook. Mo lunged forward and struck at Bai with vicious and quick attacks. Bai parried the attacks with ease, still smiling and absolutely calm. Mo grew agitated, his attacks becoming ever furious, while Bai retained his calmness and was content with blocking the blows.

Mo struck once more, this time his sword smashing a branch of a nearby peach blossom tree. The sky was briefly obscured by a shower of peach blossoms fluttering to the ground. Bai used the obstruction to strike. Unlike Mo, Bai's strikes were elegant, dance-like and precise. He was like a surgeon, picking the exact right places. His sword slashed Mo's arm, chest and right leg. Despite bleeding and his gown being thrashed, Mo did not give up.

The swordsman pointed his sword at Bai and thrust it forward. As the sword sped forward, a loud sound was heard, revealing the strength behind the thrust. Bai did not even move his feet. His sword flickered and stabbed Mo's shoulder. Mo let out a cry and let his sword fall on the ground.

Bai sheathed his sword and bowed slightly. "You were a most masterful opponent. Thank you for showing me your skills."

Governor Zhang clapped. "You've impressed me. You are indeed as good a swordsman as my nephew said. You are both eloquent and a martial hero. A true scholar-warrior. You are free to go."

Bai bowed slightly before the Governor. "Thank you for your magnanimity. I hope that you shall extend it to everyone in Fujian."
Last edited by Sao Nova Europa on Wed Jul 06, 2022 5:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

"I’ve just bitten a snake. Never mind me, I’ve got business to look after."
- Guo Jing ‘The Brave Archer’.

“In war, to keep the upper hand, you have to think two or three moves ahead of the enemy.”
- Char Aznable

"Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat."
- Sun Tzu

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Posts: 2357
Founded: May 25, 2018
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Draos » Thu Jul 07, 2022 11:35 am

Irunea kingdom of Navarre
Danel sat in his throne stroking his chin in thought,his mind raced on how to solve a dilemma his rightful lands were in foreign hands but he was not in a position to seize them with military force. Breathing a sigh he looked at a picture of Sancho the Wise one of many of the preceded him wondering how he would have dealt with this situation. The nobility was growing ever more vocal for him to re-seize the territory by any means necessary.he shook his head as a migraine began forming again the third of that week signalling a servant he spoke softly so as to not make the pain worse "send for the physician now tell him that it is my head again" nodding the servant ran off to follow the kings orders.
Prime Minister and former Foreign Minister of Union of Free Nations
Draosians are a species of Gigantic Reptilian extra-terrestrials resembling Bipedal monitor lizards standing at an average of 8 feet tall and weighing around 450 pounds

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Empire of Techkotal
Posts: 304
Founded: Apr 09, 2020
Psychotic Dictatorship

Postby Empire of Techkotal » Thu Jul 07, 2022 2:24 pm

January 1618
Residential palace Leipzig

The fire crackled in the Chimney and the rain splashed against the window. There on a great wooden stand a heavily decorated horse armor was mounted and on top of it sat Johann George of Saxony-Prussia. In a heroic pose, while several meters away from him behind a big canvas stood the artist Adam Elsheimer. Hired to make a painting of the elector in a heroic position on an imaginary scenery. While the artist painted, his close relative Johann Ernst of Weimar looked at a map laid out on a table. A map of the electorate of Saxony and surrounding territories.

"The Bishopric of Erfurt is mostly under our control and the people there have expressed their dissatisfaction over their catholic bishop. We have received an open letter from the city council pleading us to take bring them the true faith of god. But the problem is, that Erfurt is officially a catholic Bishopric the pope and the emperor wouldn't like it, if we just took it." Said Ernst, while stroking his goatee.

Johann George turned his head towards Ernst and spoke. "They are surrounded by us, heavy indebted to us and their own populace demands our rule. So we can just simply take their lands away. The church never had a right on those lands anyway and its not like the emperor said anything to our annexation of other Bishoprics."

"So we just go to the monastery and take their possessions. But who will administrate Erfurt then?" Asked Ernst.

"A person fit to rule of course. Now give me a cup of wine." Said Johann George.

After giving his liege a cup of wine and then putting the empty cup away. His liege looked at him with a grin. "Now that I think of it. Why don't I make it easy for myself. You shall now be in charge of Erfurt. In return I demand you to take the bishop out of the monastery and to throw him into the latrine." Said Johann laughing. "Let that be a warning to the other Bishops."

"I shall do as you said." Spoke Ernst grinning.

"There will be a big hunt at the Augustus Castle. Will you come? Several the elector of Brandenburg already assured me he would pay me a visit. It would be a good chance for you to make new contacts and to meet him."

A loud knock ended the conversation. "My lords with all respect silence and please don't move your electorate unless you want this masterwork to be ruined."

"I happily accept your invitation to the hunt and shall take this opportunity."

"I shall give you an official decree later Johann Ernst of Weimar and Erfurt. Now please don't distract me and let the artist do his work."
Last edited by Empire of Techkotal on Thu Jul 07, 2022 2:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Intermountain States
Posts: 2073
Founded: Oct 12, 2014
Capitalist Paradise

Postby Intermountain States » Thu Jul 07, 2022 3:38 pm

January 1618
Changdeokgung Palace, Hanseong
Empire of Great Joseon

Archery was the main ranged weapon of the militaries of Korea throughout the peninsula's history. Even before the contemporary Joseon Empire, many dynasties such as Goguryeo and Silla spoke of great warriors and kings who were skilled archers such as Dongmyeong of Goguryeo and Bak Heokgeose of Silla. The founder of the Joseon Dynasty, Taejo Yi Seonggye, killed a samurai commander named Agibaldo with two arrows, one to knock out his helmet and the other entering his mouth, in a fight against Japanese pirates. Although the Koreans utilized gunpowder based weapons ever since the late Goryeo dynasty, there were more archers than handgunners in the Joseon Army. In fact, prior to long wr between Joseon and Japan, many of the provincial militaries had zero handguns in their armories. The only gunpowder weapons employed by provincial forces were cannons and even then, they were situated at fortresses to fight against sieges.

It wasn't until after a rather forceful introduction of matchlock arquebus by the Japanese in the devastating eight year war between Korea and Japan when the reflex bow soon fell out of favor as the main long-range weapon for the Joseon Army. Under the reign of Emperor Seonjo and under the regency of Gwanghae himself, gunpowder based agencies sought efforts to improve on and mass production of the matchlocks. Pretty soon, there were more arquebusiers than there were archers, crossbowmen, and handgunners. The Imperial Court sought to focus on reforming the military to prevent the national disaster that was the war.

The reigning emperor, birth name Yi Hon, princely name Gwanghae, was a fan of the weapons employed by the Joseon Army and in his free time, would visit the palace armory to test out the weapons with some of the palace guards there. Unlike his father Emperor Seonjo, Gwanghae played a proactive role in the war, being the de facto ruler in commanding battles and leading reconstruction efforts while the Emperor fled to Manchuria to gather his Jurchen vassals and more experienced Korean soldiers. He would practice his aim with muskets, handgonnes, crossbows, and reflex bows; his favorite range weapon being the musket. Still, he would practice with the reflex bow, it was the weapons of kings and emperors in the past.

Pulling the reflex bow back, the Emperor waited a few seconds before letting go of the arrow. The arrow whizzed through and penetrated the bullseye of the wooden target. Satisfied, he nocked another arrow onto the bow and let loose another arrow, this time missing the bullseye by a few inches. The Emperor was relaxing after attending a court session with the ministers and court officials in regards to reconstruction of the Gyeongbokgung palace. But for now, it is a time of resting and he is no hurry to finish archery practice. He was about nock another arrow when a court servant approached him.

"Your Imperial Majesty, the Foreign Affairs Minister is here to see you," the court official said, keeping his head low to dare not to lock eyes with the Emperor else he would be disrespecting the Emperor's presence. "Should I let him in?"

"If the minister is here to see me, it's clear he has something important to say," the Emperor answered. "Let him in." The servant bowed and after a few minutes, Foreign Affairs Minister Wang Jun-min stepped into the Emperor's shooting range. The Emperor handed the bow to his servant and picked up a towel to wipe the sweat from his brow.

"Forgive my interruptions of your leisurely activities, your Imperial Majesty," the Minister started, also looking at the floor to not lock eyes with the Emperor. "But as you know, while we aren't exactly in the most precarious of situations, it is better to prepare for certain uncertainties."

"What do you mean by this, Minister?" The Emperor asked.

"Right now, we have two Chinas, one in the north and one in the south, both claiming ownership of the Middle Kingdom and the Mandate of Heaven. It goes without saying the Middle Kingdom divided by multiple dynasties is a blessing to the peninsula. It benefited Goguryeo until the rise of the Tang, and it benefited Goryeo until the rise of the Mongols. Right now, Joseon has benefited from China's division. Since the reign of Emperor Sejong, we were able to consolidate the former provinces of Balhae and restored the glory of Goguryeo and our suzerainty over the lands north of the Amnok River. But we've seen how we could be living in borrowed time when we face a mighty empire. Japan's invasion of Joseon had certainly shown us of our own vulnerabilities. You have seen first hand and even though you aligned with the Greater Northerners faction, you've heeded the words of Chief State Councillor Ryu Seung-ryong, a Southerner, to improve on the nations defenses after his departure."

"We need plans and contingencies, my Emperor," the Minister continued. "We cannot be so reliant on our Jurchen vassals especially if they've rebelled against us and aligned with a northern dynasty. We cannot simply just transport the Imperial Court to Ganghwa Island and hope that a hostile force is afraid of water."

"Well, I have expressed desires to explore the world east of the East Sea," the Emperor said. "Ever since we've heard news from European merchants of a great beautiful continent with vast resources. I feel that we can get our piece of this continent."

"I agree as well but that brings to my next point," the Minister responded. "Joseon is late to the overseas expansion into the Indian ocean. Japan has lead the way to islands and lands south, the world may be too crowded for Joseon to set up colonies there. While we have restored diplomatic and trade relations with Japan years earlier, we need to ensure a sort of parity with Japan to help Joseon from our possible enemies. That includes military treaties, establishment of spheres of influences, and possible cooperation efforts."

"The Imjin War and the Chongyu War are still living memories for many of my people," the Emperor said. "This may not do so well with the public."

"That is indeed true but that didn't stop your efforts to restore relations with Japan, your Majesty," the Foreign Affairs Minister responded. "In fact, you justified the move by stating that Japan was under the leadership of Toyotomi Hidetsugu, who was nothing like his father. Even now, there is a new Imperial Regent of Japan, Toyotomi Senchiyomaru."

"I suppose you are right," the Emperor said. "The situation in the Middle Kingdom may prove to be a threat to Joseon, we should focus on efforts to gather friends in this time of the world. Very well, I should send an envoy to Japan in hopes of establishing a meeting between the two countries in discussion of mutual security and trade. Can you do the honors in sending a letter out to Tsushima?"

"Yes, your majesty," the Minister said, bowing his head for a minute before departing the shooting range.

Addressed to the Lord of Tsushima and by extension, the Secretariat of Relations with Barbarians, the Imperial Regent of Japan, and the Emperor of Japan

On behalf of the Emperor of Joseon, the Empire of Joseon is hoping to extend diplomatic and trade relations between Joseon and Nihon, in hopes of establishing a consensus on the matters of trade, spheres of expansion, security, and on the matters of the Middle Kingdom. We hope that the Lord of Tsushima would bring the letter to the Secretariat of Relations with Barbarians and by extension, the Imperial Regent of Japan and allow our envoys to bring an official mission to improve on relations between the two nations.

With regards,
Wang Jun-min, Minister of Foreign Affairs
On behalf of the Emperor of Joseon of the Samjogo Throne, the Greatest King of Samhan and Balhae, Guardian of Heaven East of the Sea, Successor to the Legacy of Dongymeong,
I find my grammatical mistakes after I finish posting
"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed"
Lunatic Goofballs wrote:I'm a third party voter. Trust me when I say this: Not even a lifetime supply of tacos could convince me to vote for either Hillary or Trump. I suspect I'm not the only third party voter who feels that way. I cost Hillary nothing. I cost Trump nothing. If I didn't vote for third party, I would have written in 'Batman'.

If you try to blame me, I will laugh in your face. I'm glad she lost. I got half my wish. :)
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Iron Fist Consumerists

Postby Krugmar » Sat Jul 09, 2022 10:11 am

January 1618
Bergota, Java

It was a warm evening, and Jayr was sat alone in an alcove in the upper barracks. It had been an uneventful day, as had too been past few months. To complain about that was a luxury, for most mercenaries garrison duty could be a blessing. The pay was good, and the work easy. There were of course downsides, such as the boredom, and a lack of interaction with the local populace. But things could be worse. The populace could hate them, be rioting and seeking to throw them back to the sea. Or he could be dead on a battlefield somewhere.

That he had ended up here was a miracle, or perhaps a series of fortunate mistakes. He had arrived in Kilwa looking for new fresh start, having escaped the unbearable life dreamt up for him by his father Musa. There was work to be had, but the only one worth paying for a man of his talents, that is a good sword arm and little else, was raiding into the interior for slaves and plunder. Difficult and dangerous work, and not something he had elected to go into. Instead he'd jumped on the first ship to Kochi, where the Kilwa Sultan's master resided. He'd heard they were always looking for mercenaries, and paid well for Gharbi such as himself.

Now he was here, sent to garrison the town of Bergota. Originally a small and quiet port town, it had grown quite dramatically since the Cheriyan's had established a client king to rule over their portion of Java. The old capital of Poh Pitu had fallen into disrepair since then, not having been re-established after the Nasrani sacked it years ago.

"Ishbili, time for the evening rounds." Said Mahesh, a Kochi native who had arrived the same time he had. Jayr nodded and pushed himself to his feet.

Another day, another dinar.

January 1618
Kochi, Malabar Coast

"The north is not our primary concern. Control of the Straits of Malacca is essential to the security of our holdings in Nusantara. Pegan control of these areas is weak, they have over-extended themselves and will be unable to respond in time to any provocations. I believe that this will give those they have oppressed the hope and support they need to rise up and dismantle the Burmese tyranny." Spoke Niraj, a minister who was firmly in the eastern camp.

It would of course be Minister Idiculla who responded first. "While I respectfully agree about the weakness of the Pegan, I fear they cannot be our first priority. As of now the Pegan are content to allow our ships through the straits and have not disrupted our ventures in Nusantara, similar to the [Westerners]. The Musulman to the north present a grave threat. They sought the petty seats of the Deccan Sultans for themselves, and now seek to defile the land of St. Thomas.".

Skariah nodded, while he did not place himself in either the eastern or northern camps, he had come to agree with the latter. The Ajami had begun to present a minor threat to their place in the western ocean, while the Turkki to the north would no doubt seek to restore the short-lived empire of the mad Muhammad bin Tughlaq.

"Gracious lord." Skariah started, turning to the Maharaja seated upon a dais to their right. "I am inclined to agree with Minister Idiculla. We must neuter the threat of the Musulman before the continuation of our ventures to the east can continue. The homeland must be secured before Christendom and good governance can be extended to the pagans of Nusantara. I suggest we open dialogue with some of his vassals, the Bengali, the Rajasthani, and send gifts to the hill tribes to implore them to revolt. It may be wise to send a letter to the Emperor of Rum, imploring him to crush the Ajami and Ijipti and thus open a route between us."

A discussion briefly broke out between the ministers at the Mahapradhana's comments, but quickly ended when the Maharaja raised his hand. He spoke softly, "It is my will that the wishes of my Chief Minister are carried out. I shall write to my brother in Rum personally. We shall begin recalling some of the mercenaries sent to Nusantara, and replace them with levies. I expect our fortresses in the north to be inspected and made ready. In fact I shall tour them and our Deccan provinces myself, which shall give us the opportunity to bolster our garrisons in the area without alarming that wretch or giving him cause to assault my kingdom."

His Imperial Majesty, the Sisar of Rome, Faithful Defender of Christendom, Protector of Jerusalem and the Holy Sepulchre, King of Kings and Lord of Lords

I trust my letter finds you in good health, god given.

I wish to thank you for the safety provided to your protection of the faithful as they pilgrimage to Jerusalem. The restoration of the Holy Church in its homeland has inspired us to spread Christendom to the heathen lands to the east, alas we have found ourselves mired in our efforts by the Musulmans to the north, and the pagans to the east.

I pray that your majesty restore the land of Ijipt, which I have been advised belonged to the first Agasrras, and is your rightful fief. This would allow a true restoration of communication between our two most Christian lands.

Then I pray your majesty turn upon the land of Ajam and smite the infidels. It is known that the Ajami have been eternal rivals of the Rumi. They are my rivals too. I shall fashion a great fleet to raid their coasts, while their cities of Spahan and Rayya shall fall before you.

I place myself as your humble servant, and acknowledge your suzerainty over all Christian lands, lords, and kings.

Maharajadhiraja Pailan, Lord of the Jewelled Throne of St. Thomas, Protector of Brahmins and Cows, Lord of the Three Kings
Liec made me tell you to consider Kylaris

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Safavid Iran Post 1

Postby Elsbrat » Sat Jul 09, 2022 12:04 pm

January 1618

Safavid Iran, Baghdad

Suzerainty over the Bani Khalid

It wasn’t quite time for the Persian government to abandon Baghdad and flee to their Summer Capitol, but one of Abbas’ sons craved the fun that Summers in Isfahan brought or the adventures only the Arabian Veyalet made possible through places like Muscat and her culture. It was risky, but this particular son had given his father - the Shashanah of Persia - a grand plan to bring the tribal confederation to their West into the fold through diplomacy, bribery, and the offer to defend them. Inhabiting Nejd and the areas to the West of the Coast, the Bani Khalid were the largest independent power native to Arabia left on the continent after various conquerings by outside powers had taken place in the past. The offer that the son intended to make was one that let them stand at the foot of the Persian Empire rather than sink as a conquest. had the potential to prevent them from becoming another footnote in history - to prevent them from becoming another conquered territory. Like the Mongols did with a Persian Empire of the past, diplomatic envoys were to be sent to the Bani Khalid inhabiting Arabia to make them the same offer that the Khwarazmian Empire was offered in the past. The offer was risky, like he said, but as he took his leave with gifts, letters, and maps there were other going-ons in the Persian Empire.

Meanwhile, a letter was being drafted to the Pagan Empire to establish an official trade treaty and a non-aggression pact…

A Letter to Pagan

To the Overlords of Pagan,

We Persians are an Empire ancient and timeless. Our goods travel the world by land and sea. Our ports house many ships. Our fortunes flourish, and so too do yours. Words of your people have reached us for many a year, and we thought it was time to reach out and establish more official relations. Like your esteemed and proud nations, our Empire also controls one of the most valued trade routes in this part of the world and we want to protect it just as badly. We first believe that we should pose no aggression to each other, whether this be through foreign affairs or war. We would also like to suggest a trade treaty, if you are open to hearing such a thing.


Shahanshah Abbas the Great, Shah of Persia, Shah of Ormuz, Shah of the Afghans

Outreach to the Romans

The Safavid view on the heirs of the Roman Legacy to their West was complex and nuanced. The Persians and Romans were competitors for most of their history. Endless wars, however, were not something in the interest of this Empire. The trade that the Persians and Romans enjoyed in peace was far more valuable than what could be gained in territorial acquisition. The Romans also were at odds with the Egyptians. Integrating the Bani Khalid into the Persian Empire would give them a border with the holders of Mecca and Medina. The potential for an invasion would follow suit. First, however, the Bani Khalid had to be brought to the belief that the others surrounding them were a threat. The end goal was the conquest of Arabia and, importantly, bringing Hejaz under the suzerainty of the Persians. There could be common ground when it came to the Egyptians as far as the Romans and Persians went.

The question was not whether Persia and Rome could be friends. The access to the Temple Mount that the Romans have given to Muslim citizens under the Safavid Empire are proof enough that they are capable of being friendly. The question was whether or not the Romans would ally with the Christians of the rest of the world against them. That would determine whether or not the Persians aligned with the Muslims of the rest of the world against the Romans. That was the only thing that determined that, as the Persians sought peace rather than war. In sight of that, a letter recommending non-aggression between the two states in a treaty that promised the continuity of trade was sent to Rome, inviting them to a conversation, and asking them what their intention for the Holy Cities of Mecca and Medina were.

OOC: A dice roll took place, best 2 or 3 out of six, and 3 - the option for Client State begins to be diplomatically established - was the one selected

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Reverend Norv
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New York Times Democracy

Postby Reverend Norv » Sun Jul 10, 2022 9:16 am

There are times and places in history that shine. It's the light that draws your eye, I think; a certain brilliant glow of hope and innovation, a nimbus of minds and hearts that have been set free to think and feel in new ways. It glows like a sunrise after the long, long night, illuminating a new world in which anything is possible.

Yes, it's true. Most of the time, the light is all too brief: swallowed by war or tyranny or poverty, or simply by the old human need for things not to change too much, too fast. By the sword or by our own choice, we go back into the dark. You've seen it before. So have I. The light fades.

Maybe this time will be different. Come with me, into the light, and we'll find out.

* * *

The Hague
January 1618

The light is pale and fine, clear painter's light, this chilly winter's morn. The skies are clear over the North Sea and a cutting breeze blows in from the west. This is a new city; the old one was burned by the Austrians more than thirty years ago. See the tidy cobblestone streets, the lines of well-built brick houses, the small parks and fountains, the simple stone churches? No tangle of medieval wood and plaster; no ancient winding alleys. And where the city ends, the fortifications begin: an intricate fractal pattern of interlocking earthen bastions and moats, whose every angle corresponds to the field of fire of a battery of cannon. The defenses extend outward from the city for most of a kilometer in every landward direction, laid out with the geometric precision of an Andalusian mosaic.

Pass the fortifications. Move into the city. See the women at the market, in their plain dresses of Indian muslin with intricate collars of Flemish lace, buying the sort of fine white bread that only the nobility eats elsewhere in Europe. Step aside - quickly now - as a wagon passes on its way toward the waterfront, loaded with hundreds of pine planks all sliced, miraculously, to exactly the same thickness. Until twenty years ago, such a thing was impossible. Then Corneliszoon invented his crankshaft, and turned windmills into sawmills. Fewer things are impossible now.

Follow the wagon toward the waterfront. As we get closer, voices get louder, less refined. You don't just hear Dutch anymore: you can pick out Scandinavian, German, Spanish, Greek. The streets become crowded with wonders. Men wrestle dozens of gleaming elephant tusks onto a wagon, under the anxious eye of a man in plain black clothes and a broad-brimmed hat. Two tough-looking Dutchmen with muskets stand watchful guard as Javanese laborers carry crate after crate into a warehouse, and as you pass the open warehouse door, the smell is overwhelming: nutmeg, cloves, pepper, cinnamon, cardamom - an intoxicating breeze from seas seven thousand miles away. On a street corner, a portly older man speaks urgently to a younger one, and you can overhear: "-tell my agent to buy, buy now, before the others know the ship is here." The young man nods and grins wildly, and then grabs his hat and leaps onto a horse, and the horseshoes strike sparks from the cobblestones as he gallops toward the north road - and the Amsterdam stock exchange.

Turn the corner, and suddenly you are here: the docks. Look left; look right. For a kilometer in each direction, there is only a continuous cobblestone plaza, from which protrude more than a hundred stone piers. And beside each of those piers - to each side of them, in some cases - lies a ship: shallow-draft, pear-shaped, armed with six or eight cannon, its sails reefed to the yards. Overhead, great wooden cranes creak and groan, moving bales of cargo from ship-deck to lading yard and back. And when you peer between the docked ships, well - even for a traveler in time and space like you, the sight can take your breath away. All the way to the horizon, the blue-gray harbor teems with white shapes, like a migrating army of seabirds floating on the waves.

Sails. Hundreds of them. Sails as far as the eye can see.

The world has never seen anything like this before, you know. It's seen many wondrous things, from the Roman aqueducts to the Great Wall to the jungle cities of the Yucatan. But nothing quite like this.

And this is only the third-largest port in the Netherlands.

Turn back, now, away from the harbor. Find a way through the crowds of men from three continents hauling goods of every kind. Note the crowd of men around that office - Dutch ship captains, weathered men in worn leather and yellowed linen. That building is the impost office, and the ship captains are registering their cargos and paying taxes. But you don't hear any coins changing hands, only the rustling of papers. The last few years, the States-General have started accepting bank drafts in fulfillment of impost taxes. Most ships are owned by companies now, not by their captains, and so the corporation's bank pays the tax. Papers change hands, a few numbers get noted in the ledger. That's money, these days. Welcome to the seventeenth century.

And speaking of the States-General - we continue now, away from the harbor, back toward a small lake in the middle of the city; children play in the little park at its edge, while a middle-aged woman in a white lace coif sits on a bench and reads through her correspondence. On one side of this lake stands an unusual building: in this city of modest brick, where every building looks much like every other building, this structure is a relic of ages past. It is stone, with a steep gabled roof and two towers, and a great gothic rose window. This is the Ridderzaal: the seat of the States-General of the Netherlands, and the center of government for the first true republican power since Ancient Rome. The States-General still meet in the same fifteenth-century building where the Dukes of Burgundy gave the Dutch their ancient liberties - and the same building where the Austrian regents denied those liberties to their newly Protestant subjects. The States-General never moved to a more modern structure. There is history here that they do not want to forget.

Inside, faded heraldric banners of the Ten Provinces hang from the medieval timbers of that steep roof. Wooden benches face each other across a central aisle; behind them is a long table on a low dais. But today, the members of the States-General are not sitting at their benches, and the members of the Council of State do not wait behind the table. Instead, they are crowded together - a sea of black clothes and pink faces, stiff white ruffs and short greying hair - and they are watching with rapt attention as a man rests one hand on a cloth-covered cage. He's an interesting character, this man: lean, his face tanned to the color and consistency of old leather, his blond hair worn a bit longer than is proper for a Protestant, his horsehide coat still smelling faintly of the sea. And listen to how he talks: a born talker, this one, leaning into his tale and relishing every syllable.

His name, as it happens, is Willem Janszoon. He came from nothing: a cobbler's son-turned-orphan, his parents killed by the Austrians in the massacre at Naarden. So like so many others, he took to sea as soon as he was able. And fickle though she is, the sea can be a loving mother. She was kind to Willem, and made him an able seaman, and then a ship-captain, and then a privateer, and then one of the East India Company's most successful administrators. And now he is home again, at the age of thirty-eight, telling the leaders of his country about his latest adventures in the Antipodes - exploring the seas at the ends of the Earth.

Like I said, he's a born talker. But look at the men of the States-General, at where their eyes keep going. They want to know what's in the cage under that cloth.

"And so, with the spears of the natives still dangling from my gunwhales, I set my face to the sea and made the Southern Cross my guide - for there are strange stars, there at the bottom of the world." Many of the audience nod knowingly at this; the sea leads to wealth in this country, and wealth leads to power, so Janszoon is not the only man in this hallowed hall who has sailed far from home. "And I returned to Batavia, where my squadron loaded our cargo and took on fresh water, and made for the long sail across the open ocean to the Seychelles. But before I left that strange country and its sun-blackened people, my Marines were able to acquire a small sample of its wonders: which I now present to you, gracious gentlemen, on behalf of your most loyal Company."

And with that, Willem Janszoon whips off the cloth, and reveals a finely worked pewter cage, about large enough for a big dog. And what is that inside? An animal - grey - perhaps two feet long - huge head - big fluffy round ears - bulbous leathery nose - fine soft fur. It sits on its backside, looking miserable. Around it are strewn half-chewed leaves. You, being a traveler in space and time, may recognize it as a koala bear.

As if with one breath, the leaders of the Netherlands suck in a single fascinated gasp. Several balance newfangled eyeglasses on their noses as they crane their necks for a closer look. One turns to Janszoon. "Is it a kind of possum?" he ventures. "Like one sees in New Amsterdam?"

"It has a pouch like a possum," Janszoon confirms. "Or at least the females do. But it eats only leaves, and it eats all day long." He shrugs apologetically. "We are running low on the leaves. It does not seem to like anything else, even tobacco. It used to be much fatter."

"Fascinating," murmurs the curious legislator, and the men around him nod in enthusiastic agreement.

Toward the back of the crowd, a slightly-built old man with a bushy grey beard - one of the oldest men here, this one - watches with an indulgent smile. Janszoon waved toward him. "And what does the esteemed Pensionary of Holland think of this curiosity?"

"The Pensionary of Holland is a lawyer, not a botanist, Heer Janszoon." Johan van Oldenbarnevelt smiles with only one side of his mouth, and you can see his thoughts on his face: don't play the carnival barker with me. His expression softens. "But I think it's extraordinary. Quite extraordinary." Oldenbarnevelt crooks an eyebrow. "Did you find anything more - marketable on your travels?"

Janszoon shakes his head. "It is a strange bleak country," he replies. "And this is but one of many strange creatures. Who knows what wondrous uses such plants or animals might have? Perhaps the leaves this little bear-thing eats can cure the plague."

"And perhaps the fingerbones of a saint can do the same," says another man: a solemn, intelligent face framed by dark greying hair. This is Isaac Le Maire, Governor-General of the East India Company, and you will note that his tone is only partially in jest. "But since we can't guarantee it, we don't sell them under warranty - not even to papists." Le Maire nods at the koala. "Any more than we can sell this creature's leaves."

"I have, if nothing else, added a new continent to the maps." Janszoon spreads his hands. "I trust that is not nothing, mijn heeren?"

"No." Oldenbarnevelt nods thoughtfully. "No, it is not nothing. And no venture was ever begun in certainty, or without risk." He gazes, reflective, up at the roof of the Ridderzaal. "I was here when we signed the Act of Abjuration. Had we waited for certainty then - had we required a warranty for our Republic - we would all still be hiding from the Emperor's inquisitors."

Le Maire's expression is unreadable. He nods. "True enough." The Governor-General turns back to Janszoon. "But the Company still requires some assurance of its investment in this Terra Australis of yours. Find a harbor; build a fort; quell the natives. And find me something I can sell. I think two hundred marines and fifty thousand guilders should do the trick." Le Maire turns to the assembled politicians. "With the States-General's consent, of course."

Most of the delegates look at Oldenbarnevelt. The old lawyer nods. "You may call upon the Company's accounts, and we'll issue you a commission pro tempore for the East Indies Squadron. By consensus?"

There is a murmur of agreement. Nobody bothers to tally provinces for and against. Most votes in the States-General happen this way. A few men look dissatisfied, but none objects. The malcontents are Gelovigen - believers, loyalists - the faction of the States-General that believes the Republic is focusing too much on colonial adventures and not enough on threats to Protestantism at home in Europe. But fifty thousand guilders, while a fortune in most of the world, is a trifling investment for the Dutch government. It is not worth picking a fight with the Grand Pensionary - not over this, and not right now.

"Hearing no objection, the motion carries." Oldenbarnevelt - who is formally also the Speaker of the States-General, as well as the Chairman of the Council of State - nods with evident satisfaction, and turns back to the explorer. "When do you sail again for Batavia, Heer Janszoon?"

"The end of the month," Janszoon replies, "when we have finished unlading our spices, and taking on glass and muskets and tobacco from New Amsterdam. And when my men have seen their wives."

"Then God go with you." Oldenbarnevelt raises a hand. Janszoon bows and begins moving toward the Ridderzaal's door; the men of the States-General disperse back to their benches to continue the day's business. Oldenbarnevelt and Le Maire are left still standing together in the center of the ancient stone floor, staring at the pewter cage and its strange occupant - who stares disconsolately back at them.

"What should we do with it?" Le Maire finally murmurs with a reluctant, bewildered smile.

"It's still your company's property," Oldenbarnevelt replies. "What do you think?"

The Governor-General ponders for a minute. "Janszoon said it was ailing anyway. Send it to Leiden, to the university. Have them dissect it. See if they learn anything interesting."

Oldenbarnevelt inclines his head. "Reasonable enough. I assume I'll find it taxidermied at your Cabinet of Curiosities in a few months' time?"

Le Maire chuckles. "Well, you heard the good captain." He shrugs his shoulders. "The world is full of wonders."
For really, I think that the poorest he that is in England hath a life to live as the greatest he. And therefore truly, Sir, I think it's clear that every man that is to live under a Government ought first by his own consent to put himself under that Government. And I do think that the poorest man in England is not at all bound in a strict sense to that Government that he hath not had a voice to put himself under.
Col. Thomas Rainsborough, Putney Debates, 1647

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

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Remnants of Exilvania
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Founded: Mar 29, 2015
Iron Fist Consumerists

Postby Remnants of Exilvania » Mon Jul 11, 2022 1:18 pm

January 1618
Kingdom of Bohemia

The bells of St. Vitus Cathedral were tolling, their deep, reverberating sounds carrying out of the castle, across the Vltava and reaching much of the city, though few of the people hurrying across the streets paid any mind to it, snow falling from the sky in thick flakes. Smoke rose from many chimneys, colouring the city skyline in its dark pillars. People were tucking in for the knight, trying to keep warm and feed their families, a difficult thing to do for many, even here, in the capital of the Kingdom of Bohemia. No doubt many would flock to the preachers again, the churches always cared for the downtrodden with warm food and holy fury, caring for their bodies and souls in equal manner. King Vilém generally appreciated such good deeds but with the church he was always running the risk of more people running on his streets with the opinion that the Kingdom of Christ had to be established in Europe by force of arms right now.

There was a knock at the door, though Vilém didn't react. He already knew who was coming and why. Only when there was a second knock did he move from his position at the window and sat down behind his desk, taking long enough for his visitor to knock a third time. Now finally he beckoned them inside with a simple:


The man that entered was a man of excellent stature, his receding hairline well kept and curled and his great bushy beard well maintained. It was the Count of Thurn-Valsassina, the current chancellor of the parliament and the Defensor of Bohemia.

"Your majesty, the parliament has decided upon the exact text of the missives you proposed to send. You need only approve of them with your signature and they can be sent at once."

The King merely made an inviting gesture, pointing at his desk and showing that it was free of anything so the missives only had to be laid before him so he could read them. The Count approached before stiffly handing the missives to Vilém, who proceeded to read through all of them under the light of a candle before pulling an inkwell and a quill towards him, dipping the quill into the inkwell and then swiftly putting his signature underneath every single one of them. Then he blew a little onto the ink to help it dry before handing the missives back to Von Thurn-Valsassina. The chancellor accepted them with a stiff bow and turned to leave, yet before he could, the King asked:

"Any news from Vienna, chancellor?"

The count stiffened before turning and replying with a clipped:

"It appears to become a long winter, your majesty."

"Very well, inform the other Defensors that I wish to see them."

"As you wish, your majesty."

To his serene higness, the Elector of Saxony and Duke of Prussia, Johann George I,

His royal majesty, King Vilém František Kolowrat-Žehrovský of Bohemia seeks to meet with his serene highness Johann George I to discuss matters of foreign policy that would be of concern to the Electorates of both Saxony and Bohemia. Considering recent developments in Vienna, it appears that the last imperial election was a great mistake that must be rectified by any means necessary as soon as possible. It would be beneficial to both our nations if we were to meet and discuss the means available to us to let Vienna see reason.

His royal majesty, King Vilém František Kolowrat-Žehrovský of Bohemia

To his serene higness, the Elector of Brandenburg, [...],

His royal majesty, King Vilém František Kolowrat-Žehrovský of Bohemia seeks to meet with his serene highness [...] to discuss matters of foreign policy that would be of concern to the Electorates of both Brandenburg and Bohemia. Considering recent developments in Vienna, it appears that the last imperial election was a great mistake that must be rectified by any means necessary as soon as possible. It would be beneficial to both our nations if we were to meet and discuss the means available to us to let Vienna see reason.

His royal majesty, King Vilém František Kolowrat-Žehrovský of Bohemia

To his royal majesty, the King of Poland, [...],

His royal majesty, King Vilém František Kolowrat-Žehrovský of Bohemia seeks to meet with his royal majesty [...] to discuss matters of foreign policy that would be of concern to the relationship between the two kingdoms. His majesty seeks to open up amenable relations between our fair nations and people and would be thrilled to discuss the matter more closely through envoys.

His royal majesty, King Vilém František Kolowrat-Žehrovský of Bohemia
Ex-NE Panzerwaffe Hauptmann; War Merit Cross & Knights Cross of the Iron Cross
Woodhouse Loyalist & Inactive BLITZKRIEG Foreign Relations Minister
Furchtlos und Treu dem Hause Württemberg für alle Ewigkeit!

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Tracian Empire
Postmaster of the Fleet
Posts: 25664
Founded: Mar 01, 2014
Father Knows Best State

Postby Tracian Empire » Mon Jul 11, 2022 2:38 pm

Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων
Basileia tōn Rhōmaiōn
The Empire of the Romans

Βασιλεία Ῥωμαίων
Basileía Rhōmaíōn
The Roman Empire

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

Βασιλεύς Βασιλέων Βασιλεύων Βασιλευόντων
Basiléus Basiléon Basilévon Basilevónton
King of Kings, Ruling Over Those Who Rule

Christ conquers, Christ rules!
May Christ guard the Emperor!

The soldiers shouted, arranged in a line, as a man was inspecting them. Pikemen and musketeers, in colorful tunics, long to the knee, and head-cloths - to some, those who were wearing helmets, arranged in a simple manner, just coming from beneath the helmet, while for those who did not, it was arranged more like a turban. Armor varied a lot - the musketeers only had simple gambesons and gorgets around the neck, while the pikemen had cuirasses, with fringes of leather straps and and colored tassels. The footwear, most important, ranged from lace shoes to thigh boots. And even this general attire varied - since the soldiers paid for their equipment, and the officers were only concerned in the lower limit of what their gear must entail, some had more expensive items, like helmets with decorations - even if most of the richer soldiers favored the cavalry.

Many years for the Emperor!
Many years for Mikhail Palaiologos, great Emperor and Sovereign!
Many years for the divinely-appointed Emperor!
Many years for the divinely-preserved Emperor!
Many years for the peace-making Emperor!
Many years for the wealth-creating Emperor!

The man inspecting them was, as their chanting indicated, the Emperor of the Romans. Light brown hair, slightly long and elegantly curled, amber eyes, and an almost full imperial attire.The long white tunic, the rigid sakkos, with its large and puffed sleeves, with small enameled plaques sewn into it, girded with a belt decorated with precious stones, the crimson shoes, embroidered with the imperial eagles, were all present. The he heavily jewelled Imperial loros. The decorated loros was like a long strip, dropping down straight in front to below the waist, with a portion behind pulled round to the front, the part that was supposed to hung gracefully over the left arm of the monarch. The crown and the scepter were of course, also there, the crown made out of gold, decorated with many precious stones and with its golden pendoulia, while the scepter itself was made out of thick gold, heavily encrusted with precious stones and pearls, with a holy relic hidden in its center. The cross on it was also golden, but encrusted with rubies. An outfit that must have been incredibly uncomfortable, and yet the young man wasn't showing anything to indicate that - even if a servant with a parsol and a servant with water were both situated somewhere nearby. The only two men that were following the monarch were two guards, tall and muscular, one blonde and one with red hair and beard, with richly decorated armors, rubies in their ears and Dane-style axes in their hands. Varangians.

Son of God, rule together with him!
Son of God, favor us with him!
Son of God, grant him long life!
Son of God, multiply his life!

Michael had been crowned less than a year ago, following the death of his father, Andronikos. While he had not been crowned Kaisar in advance, a practice that had somewhat fallen out of use in the past two centuries, he had been serving as the Despot of the Morea for the year before that. He was however, all too familiar with the life of the themata soldiers standing in front of him. His father's views were that his sons had to experience life like normal citizens of the Empire - for it was the soldiers of the themata, fighting and dying, that had protected the Empire for centuries and had recovered the Holy Land. So before that, he had spent two years in the Theme of Palestine, fighting alongside the soldiers in their skirmishes against the last of the bandits, as the rule of Romans pacified the last corners of the province. The prince had nearly died, but it did not matter. His father was a practical man, who believed that the Roman nobility of Constantinople had grown weak, as it had in times past, and that the future of the Empire had to lie in the hands of the military aristocracy of Eastern Anatolia and of the Levant, as it had been in the times of the Isaurians. The Palaiologoi had enough princes to guarantee the succession anyway.

May the faith of the Christians increase!

From the beginning, the Romans had based their restored rule in the Levant in the help of the local Christian population. The ancestors of those who had shunned Rome in the times of the last days of the Heraclian dynasty, who had opposed the Orthodoxy of Constantinople were eager to now support Christian rule - as long as the Romans accepted their faith. A small sacrificed, even so opposed by many in Constantinople, but one that had to be done, for Christians, even if they deviate from the right path, are better than the Muslims. It's not like the Muslims were massacred en masse - they were not as rebellious and as resistant as those Bulgars that the Macedonians had extinguished. They were granted basic rights and they were just very easily encouraged to convert - but the administration was now in the hands of Christians, Orthodox people coming from the Balkans, Maronites and Melikites and Assyrians. Those that refused this new order and rebelled were indeed dealt with, and regions were either taken by force and purchased cheaply for the development of komai and chora - towns and villages of the stratiotai - the peasant-soldiers of the theme system. Some were brought from the other lands of the Empire, some were local, and some were refugees from the Copts of Egypt. And now, four decades later, the system had almost fully proven its worth - with its results standing at attention in front of the Emperor right now.

May the imperial power of the Romans increase!
May the victory of the Roman armies increase!
Many years for the Christ-loving army!

And he was now tasked with continuing the legacy of his ancestors. Plans were being made, roads were being built, supplies were being gathered. Acheiropoieton icons were brought from Constantinople, and the True Cross itself had been restored to Jerusalem as a statement of defiance. A war with Egypt was inevitable, sooner or later. Like Emperor Heraclius had restored imperial rule to Egypt after the wars with the Sassanids, his duty was to liberate the land that had once belonged to Augustus from the hands of its oppressors. Even the Muslims suffered under the rule of the corrupt Mamluks, and so did the many Christians - Copts as they called himself. Their land was still recovering from the loss of the Holy Land and the interruption of the direct path by land to Mecca and Medina. Their power had to be broken permanently, and Alexandria - a Hellenic city, a Roman city and a Christian city - had to be liberated, once and for all.

Many years for Anthimus, the most holy and ecumenical Patriarch!
Many years for the sacred senate!

The Church was fully supportive of this campaign, as the restoration of the Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria would bright the fourth member of the ancient Pentrarchy under Roman rule. The Pope and his Papists in the West were busy in their endless arguments and wars with the Protestants, the broken nature of their faith and the corruption of their church for all to see. But here, the Romans were, step by step, restoring the Universal Church. And they had to do it with care. Many Emperors, from Zeno to Justinian and Heraclius, had tried to bring the Miaphysites and Monophysites back to the Church, only to further anger them. But now, after centuries of Arabic oppression, some of them, particularly the Maronites, were a lot more open to dialogue. And calmly and through theological discussions, maybe an agreement could be reached.

And the senate? The aristocrats back in Constantinople chafed at the cost, but even they were attracted by the opportunity. If the coasts around the Red Sea were secured, then the Romans could finally send their own ships to the Red Sea and beyond, to India and maybe even again to the land of Seres, where his father, Andronikos, had sent a few monks as an embassy. Without having to deal with the Mamluks as an intermediary, access to the sea trade combined with the riches of the Silk Road could greatly enrich them. And the military aristocracy, the strategoi of Anatolia - a new war was all they were waiting for.

The Emperor stopped, saluting his men with the scepter, as they once again shouted, the cheers of the army that had been passed from generation to generation since the days of Heraclius.

May God make our faith strong!
May God make our Emperor strong!
We are servants of the Emperor!
May God make your holy reign long-lasting for many years!

Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων
Basileia tōn Rhōmaiōn
The Empire of the Romans

Βασιλεία Ῥωμαίων
Basileía Rhōmaíōn
The Roman Empire

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

Σταυρὲ βασιλέως βασιλέων βασιλεύων βασίλευε
Staurè Basileùs Basiléon Basileúon Basíleue
Cross of the King of Kings, rule in reigning

To His Majesty, Maharajadhiraja Pailan, Lord of the Jewelled Throne of St. Thomas, Protector of Brahmins and Cows, Lord of the Three Kings

Mikhail, having faith in Christ our God, great sovereign and emperor of the Romans, to Maharajadhiraja Pailan, the overlord of India and my spiritual brother,

I thank you for your letter from the far away lands where Saint Thomas the Apostle preached the faith in Jesus. I trust that my response will find you in good health too, and that each year will bring more strength and glory to the Jewelled Throne of St. Thomas.

Protecting the faithful as they pilgrimage to the Holy City of Jerusalem is my duty, and it brings me great joy that our restoration has inspired you to spread and to protect the True Faith in a land so beset my Mohammedans and pagans. May God help you in your battles, and we hope that the people from our lands to travel all the way to India to put their swords under your command and under the command of Christ are of help.

The land of Aígyptos, Ijipt as your people call it, is indeed our rightful land, as it stood beneath the throne of the Romans before it was stolen from us when the hordes of Muhammad first left their deserts. But now, with the help of God and with the help of prayers of Christians from all over the world, I hope that my armies will be granted victory in the name of Christ and will restore the rule of Rome to those lands. As soon as that happens, I pledge to do whatever it takes to restore proper communication between Rome and the Christians of the East, that for too long has been broken by the greed of Islam.

The land of Ajam has been the rival of my ancestors from before it was even Musulman, and long have we fought. But now, as we hope to recover the lands of the Nile, we can not yet allow ourselves to be caught in a war against them, as they could strike against the Holy Land and bring untold pain to the Christians there, like they did centuries ago when they stole the True Cross which had been found by the Saint Empress Helene, and ravaged Jerusalem, before my ancestor, Emperor Heraclius, was able to beat them and to restore it.

However, the ruler of Ajam knows that I am the King of Kings, the Viceroy of Christ and the Protector of all Christians, and he will not dare to move against the Christians of the East.

For my brother in India however, I can not stay and do nothing - as soon as a ship can be safely sent with the merchants through the Erythraean Sea and towards the seas of India, I will gather soldiers with a strong faith in Christ, who have fought in foreign lands and who are trained in the weapons and tactics of the Romans, and send them to India to fight under your most noble command.

And one day, God willing, the Mohammedans will once again bow before the Cross, everywhere in the world.

His Imperial Majesty, Mikhael Palaiologos, in Christ Basileus and Autokrator of the Romans, Kaisar, Kyrios and Despot of the New Rome, Forever Sebastos and Sotiras, Sebastokrator and Nobelissimos, Hypatos, Arkhistrategos and Arkhiexarkhos, Porphyrogennetos, Viceroy of Our Lord Jesus Christ on Earth, the Pious and the Blessed, Defender of the One True Orthodox Faith, Great Protector of the Holy Cities of Constantinople, Antioch, and Jerusalem, Protector of the Church of Divine Wisdom, of the Church of the Golden House and of the Church of the Golden Sepulchre, Protector of the Holy Council Cities of Nikaea and Chalkedon, Despot of All Moesia and All Anatolia, of Greece, Macedonia and Dacia, of Thrace and of Scythia Minor, of Armenia, Syria, and Palestine, Sovereign of the Holy Order of the True Cross, Grand Master of the Order of Saint Andrew, of the Order of Constantine the Great and of the Order of Justinian the Great, King of Kings, Ruling Over Those Who Rule

Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων
Basileia tōn Rhōmaiōn
The Empire of the Romans

Βασιλεία Ῥωμαίων
Basileía Rhōmaíōn
The Roman Empire

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

Σταυρὲ βασιλέως βασιλέων βασιλεύων βασίλευε
Staurè Basileùs Basiléon Basileúon Basíleue
Cross of the King of Kings, rule in reigning

To His Majesty, Abbas the Great, Shah of Persia

Mikhail, sovereign pious in Christ, great and sublime augoustos, Emperor of the Romans, to my dearest friend, the most-nobly born Shah of Persia

I have received your letter, and I assure that the Throne of the Romans wishes not to fight against the Persians. For too long have we fought, and seldom has any of our ancestors managed to win anything more than desert and blood. As long as the Throne of the Persians does not harm Christians, there will be no hostilities between our lands. And I will not harm my Muslim subjects, and much like I have given the Mosque on the Temple Mount, which the faith of the Mohammedans finds holy, under the authority and protection of your clergy, I will give other Musulmans who come under my rule under the authority of your clergy also.

I have no interest in the holy cities of Islam - unlike the Arabs, we, the Romans, have not sought to conquer lands which were not others, but to reconquer the lands which have been ours since time immemorial, lands which were stolen from us through treacherous attacks, and to protect those who have faith in Christ our God. The holy cities of Islam and the deserts of Arabia Felix do not interest us, and it would not upset us if the Shah of the Persians would move to liberate them from the accursed rule in which they find themselves right now.

Our enemies right now lie in Egypt, so we would be interested in signing a treaty, but how can we trust the Persians, when your ancestors are the ones who broke the Perpetual Peace? And how many treaties did the Caliphates of centuries past break? Instead, we propose a treaty of peace and of non-aggression that is to last five years and to be renewed by a meeting of our ambassadors every five years. Only through constant cooperation, trade and negotiation can we truly break the cycle of war, for even ink dries on paper in time.

His Imperial Majesty, Mikhael Palaiologos, in Christ Basileus and Autokrator of the Romans, Kaisar, Kyrios and Despot of the New Rome, Forever Sebastos and Sotiras, Sebastokrator and Nobelissimos, Hypatos, Arkhistrategos and Arkhiexarkhos, Porphyrogennetos, Viceroy of Our Lord Jesus Christ on Earth, the Pious and the Blessed, Defender of the One True Orthodox Faith, Great Protector of the Holy Cities of Constantinople, Antioch, and Jerusalem, Protector of the Church of Divine Wisdom, of the Church of the Golden House and of the Church of the Golden Sepulchre, Protector of the Holy Council Cities of Nikaea and Chalkedon, Despot of All Moesia and All Anatolia, of Greece, Macedonia and Dacia, of Thrace and of Scythia Minor, of Armenia, Syria, and Palestine, Sovereign of the Holy Order of the True Cross, Grand Master of the Order of Saint Andrew, of the Order of Constantine the Great and of the Order of Justinian the Great, King of Kings, Ruling Over Those Who Rule
I'm a Romanian, a vampire, an anime enthusiast and a roleplayer.
Hello there! I am Tracian Empire! You can call me Tracian, Thrace, Thracian, Thracr, Thracc or whatever you want. Really.

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Posts: 6091
Founded: May 02, 2016
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Orostan » Wed Jul 13, 2022 5:32 am


Khanbaliq - Palace Compound

There was nothing more the Great Khan (or Emperor, as most of his subjects called him) Khaidu Temur hated more than court politics. He could appoint reliable men to the highest offices or maintain the most incorruptible army but he could never totally control those that were closest to him. There wasn't any better example of this than the situation right in front of the throne he was sitting on. Two eunuchs had credibly accused the other of the crime of poisoning a good advisor to the Khan and both had been brought in at the same time to bow to their Khan.

The Khan leaned forward in his chair to look down at the two men. "You, on my right. What was your name again?"

"I am Feng Yin, your majesty."

The Khan looked at the man on the left. "And you there are Zhan Huo?"

"Yes, your majesty. The criminal next to me will lie about anything other than his name!"

Khaidu ignored the man. "Who accused who of a crime first?"

Zhan spoke again. "I reported a crime after Feng it to me in private conversation."

"Yet you were also arrested first"

"Only because Feng was able to slander me to the Captain of the Palace Guard directly - and quickly."

The Emperor sat back in his throne and looked past the eunuchs. The weather was good this morning, and the doors that exposed the throne room to the outside light were open. He could see the buildings of the city from his seat and while he looked to the men in front of him like he was considering the facts of the case he was in truth thinking about he'd like to be doing anything else with his time. No investigation he had been able to produce any evidence firmly implicating one more than the other and the former servants involved in the plot had not been able to give any useful information under interrogation even if they confessed to the crime. The only information of use that he had was that the food taster who was supposed to protect against poison had been replaced that night with a new (presently in the Palace's jail) man who said that only a eunuch who was near the advisor that night could have committed the crime. That was only two of them - the two men in front of the Emperor now who he was tired of after days of trying to work through this.

The Emperor looked at the soldier above the two eunuchs who had not left their pose of submission and pointed to Zhan. He then made a cutting motion across his throat and the soldier immediately brought down his sword on the poor man's throat. Feng was shocked for a moment and wiped a splatter of blood off his cheek before he began to blurt out his thanks.

"You have made a very wise choice your majesty! I am sure that-"

Khaidu gave another gesture to the soldier and Feng was cut off by a sword cutting his spine.

The Emperor then turned his head to a few servants who had been surprised by sudden display of violence. "Get this garbage out of my throne room" he ordered them, and they complied.

Peace at last, Khaidu thought.

Diplomatic Message to the Foreign Minister Wang Jun-min of Joseon

To the Honorable Wang Jun-min,

The Emperors of the Great Yuan have for many years permitted your state to govern itself freely and without interference despite expansion we have found harmful to our own interests. We have not requested tribute from you or asked that you contribute men and supplies to our campaigns. Neither have we asked you give up territory taken during the Red Turban Rebellion or other times of instability even though we have a large and strong army. Despite this we will forgive the debt your country owes to us and deal only in terms that benefit everyone. This is why we are asking your King to consider that in exchange for a guarantee of security and assistance in times of war from the Great Khan it may benefit him to give up some southern sections of Liaoyang which were originally taken from the Yuan by his ancestors in a time of chaos. The annual tribute we might demand from you would also be very small and outweighed by the gifts my Emperor is interested in delivering if your state enters into a mutually beneficial relationship with ours. I hope that this message reaches you and your King quickly and in the spirit of friendship.

From Lian Hong, Minister of Rites of the Great Yuan State and loyal servant of the Great Khan
“It is difficult for me to imagine what “personal liberty” is enjoyed by an unemployed hungry person. True freedom can only be where there is no exploitation and oppression of one person by another; where there is not unemployment, and where a person is not living in fear of losing his job, his home and his bread. Only in such a society personal and any other freedom can exist for real and not on paper.” -J. V. STALIN
Ernest Hemingway wrote:Anyone who loves freedom owes such a debt to the Red Army that it can never be repaid.

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Intermountain States
Posts: 2073
Founded: Oct 12, 2014
Capitalist Paradise

Postby Intermountain States » Wed Jul 13, 2022 8:09 pm

January 1618
Changdeokgung Palace, Hanseong
Empire of Great Joseon

"What the Mongols are demanding is unacceptable," Defense Minister Yi Yi-cheon said while reading the message the Foreign Affairs Minister brought. "Their ruler wants the Emperor to demote himself to that of a king and return to Yuan's vassalage system during the Goryeo dynasty if we do not want hostilities between Joseon and Yuan." The Defense Minister gave the letter to Chief State Councillor Yi Won-ik who also read through the letter.

"The Mongols are also demanding Joseon to cede the Yodong Peninsula which we cannot abide to as part of our ongoing settlements into the Yodong peninsula," the Defense Minister continued. "Are we to tell families to pack up their bags and make the trek south of the Amnok River?"

"Are we prepared for war against Yuan if it comes to it?" The Chief State Councillor asked.

"We have made large improvements in our military, these are men experienced fighting wokou pirates and wild Jurchen barbarians but also against organized army formations like the Japanese from the Imjin War and the Chongyu War," The Defense Minister boasted. "We have completed our restoration and renovation of Goguryeo fortresses and the Cheolli Jangseong under the reign of Emperor Myeongjong. We have been building our defenses at the northwestern provinces to deal with a protracted war with the Yuan if it comes to it."

"What about contingencies?" The Chief State Councillor asked. "How can we be sure that our defenses would be more than enough to stand against the full might of the Mongol's army? Emperor Seonjo and the Imperial Court scoffed at Toyotomi Hideyoshi's drive for power and Joseon suffered through years of warfare."

"We have plans to deliver the Imperial family and the Court to Ganghwa Island if news of breaches into the northwestern provinces reach Hanseong," The Defense Minister answered. "The Mongols have always fared poorly in the seas and Royal Protector Choe Woo use that to his advantage to ensure that the Goryeo Imperial government would be safe at Ganghwa while the military battled the Mongols in the mainland. This would largely be a defensive warfare, we want to utilize castles and mountain fortresses to negate any advantages the Mongols had."

"We have loyal vassals like Nanai but what about allies?" The Foreign Affairs Minister asked. "We have experienced officers and soldiers but we also need allies. Yuan is a massive empire with Mongol, Jurchen, Han Chinese inhabitants. Song is their counter, we could seek alliance with Song to contain Yuan."

"The Songs are rather traditional with their foreign policy," the Chief State Councillor responded. "I think they consider their emperors the only true sons of heaven and others as barbarian pretenders. Anyone who isn't part of their tributary system is locked out of relations."

"It's possible that Joseon and Song can see eye to eye in containing Yuan just enough to form a defensive alliance," the Foreign Affairs Minister suggested. "If anything else, we may have to humor their sensibilities and operate on a Emperor at home, King Abroad type of relations with Song."

"I can't say that it wouldn't be a hard thing to swallow but this is in interest of national security," the Defense Minister said.

Addressed to the Office of Barbarian Affairs of the Empire of Great Song

On behalf of the Throne of the Three-legged Crow, this humble servant writes as an outside to Song's Imperial Court to request an audience with the Son of Heaven in hopes of establishing at least flourishing trade and common security between Song and Joseon in regards to the threats of the northern barbarians claiming their own titles of the Mandate of Heaven. This humble servant and an outsider hopes that the letter would be brought to the sovereign of Song with great haste in the interest of greater cooperation and mutual beneficial relationship.

With regards,
Wang Jun-min, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Joseon
On behalf of the Throne of the Three-legged Crow, the Greatest King of Samhan and Balhae, Guardian of Heaven East of the Sea, Successor to the Legacy of Dongymeong
Last edited by Intermountain States on Sat Aug 06, 2022 11:20 pm, edited 2 times in total.
I find my grammatical mistakes after I finish posting
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Northern Socialist Council Republics
Posts: 2435
Founded: Dec 13, 2020
Left-wing Utopia

Postby Northern Socialist Council Republics » Thu Jul 14, 2022 12:07 am

When winter calls and souths-men scream their cries
When roars of hearths do flicker down to sighs
Will we then look through all the smoke and lies
And see the truth that lay there right besides?

The nobly-bred and those of rougher clay
Must lock their shoulders side by side in fray.
If battle-brother trusts not his comrade’s say
How will they live to see the break of day?

When else but in the darkest depths of night
As ocean-white throws down a storm in sight
Can people prove to all their breath-warmth’s right
And challenge fate united in their fight?

Konungsríkið Norðurland
(Jan. 1618 AD)

As he watched his servants shiver in the morning winds, Gustav II Adolf, King of the North, had to fight down his urge to smile. As was tradition, he had spent the latter part of his education touring the realm that he was to rule, and after wintering in Viborg Castle the relatively inoffensive Copenhagener climate felt almost mild to him. If anything, he’d have preferred to make the short ride from his residence in Rosenborg Castle to Parliament House on horseback, but alas, protocol and decorum demanded a carriage.

How his ancestors could possibly have found this contraption comfortable was beyond his understanding.

While some in the citizen and peasant estates constantly called for weakening the nobility further by opening up the officer corps of the Nordic Army further to those of competence from the commoner classes, he had always felt that sitting in the high offices of state and commanding an army in battle were similar in a way that resulted in a lot of men who performed the former having a lot of transferable skills that could be applied to the latter.

Namely, one had to get used very quickly to being in situations where it was far more important how you did something than what exactly it is that you did, because what you could do was painfully limited in the first place while thousands looked up to how you did things to reassure themselves that you deserved to be there and that you would lead them well.

Ceremony, ceremony, always ceremony! Gustav understood the necessity, but that didn’t mean that he liked any of it.

After having his sabre inspected and returned to him and the doors of the debate chambre closed and once more opened to him, the king finally stepped forwards towards his seat at the head of the hall, normally occupied by the Speaker of the Chambre who was, in the king’s presence, merely sat at one of the benches along the walls.

“Announcing His Majesty Gustav Adolf Vasa, the second of his name,” the herald cried, “King of the North and Protector of the Four Nations!”

He carried plenty of other titles, too. Guardian of Christ’s True Faith, Duke of Holstein, Livonia, and Estonia, Captain-General of the Baltic Alliance, et cetera, et cetera. But in this chamber, none of those other titles were important. The relevant thing was that he was King and Protector, and so that was what he was announced as. He’d have a much fuller introduction at the banquet that evening, held somewhere outside of this building.

One of those parliamentary symbolism things.

“My parliamentarians,” he began.

There was much to talk about, opening the Spring Parliament of 1618. The Nordic Army had recovered well enough over the generation of peace following the wars of the late 1500s, but in many ways it felt like the situation of the state had only gotten worse. The Nordic Kingdom’s traditionally warm relationship with the Bohemian Hussites had fallen apart over religious disagreements in the past few years, while the increasingly unhinged pronouncements being spewed out of the court at Vienna with ever-greater frequency unnerved the Kingdom’s allies south of the Baltic even as the Saxon-Prussians grew ever bolder in their attempts to emerge out of the strife in the Holy Roman Empire as the pre-eminent north German state.

There was truth in the saying that those that chose not to manage their neighbourhood would come to be managed by their neighbourhood. The problem was, of course, that the more wars the Nordic state won, the more its neighbourhood pushed out further from the heart of its power, and the more formerly unrelated powers came to be included in that neighbourhood.

The Kingdom had won a lot of wars in the last century.

The coalition that he had put together in this assembly, the king hoped, should suffice to drive enough voices towards more money for the army. For the peasantry it was arms and armour for their sons and brothers, the nobility was, at least for the moment, placated by his reaffirmation of the officer corps as a noble domain, and even the citizenry was feeling unnerved with the recent developments in the Holy Roman Empire.

Of course, the Nordic clergy could always be counted upon to have a certain, shall we say, inflexible stance when it came to dealing with the Catholics.

The speech closed, with the king asking his parliament to appoint more staff to represent their interests in the Netherlands. With it, the most prominent parliamentarians rose in descending order of seniority to give their statements.

The formation had been decided upon, the sabre had been raised, and now there was little more for the general to do but to watch his small actions play out and hope that his subordinates could carry out their designated roles in this carefully orchestrated charge.

The Spring Parliament was open.
Last edited by Northern Socialist Council Republics on Thu Jul 14, 2022 12:12 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Previously on Plzen. NationStates-er since 2014.

Social-democrat and hardline secularist.
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The National Dominion of Hungary
Posts: 2293
Founded: May 31, 2012
Iron Fist Consumerists

Postby The National Dominion of Hungary » Sat Jul 16, 2022 9:08 am

Kingdom of Rus - Королевство Русь
Royal Palace - Moskovskyi Kreml - Moscow

A warm fire crackled in the fireplace, casting it's warm orange glow across the room. Beyond the windows, the dark winter night held the city of Moscow in a dark embrace. Vsevolod, seventh of his name, stood leaning over the table, a map of the lands in the south-west sprawling across it. The pitiful remnants of the once oh so mighty Crimean Khanate dwelt there, as did the Zaporozhian and Black Sea Cossack Hosts. Hell, he didn't even have to look as the map to see them personified. They were right here, with him. Or at least the men who led them were. Timofey Cherkasskyi and Ihor Zagloba, clad in heavy zupans they leaned back in the finely carved chairs that surrounded the table. They had traveled far to meet their King, but their talk were of great importance, for they entailed the final retribution against the scum of the earth held up in the Crimean peninsula, soon, perhaps even during his very lifetime. The menace that for so long had terrorized them men of Rus, that so long carried their women and children into slavery, that once sacked proud cities like Kiev and even Moscow itself, would be gone. The last retribution against the Tartars, may come soon.

"So that, is why I need you to send sotnias of your horsemen, led by your finest pathfinders into the plains south and east of the river. We need to find the best paths for our army to take on the march to Perekop." The King said grimly, his finger pointed firmly at the dot on the map representing the mighty Tartar stronghold that, along with it's sister fortification at Chondar protected the entrance to the peninsula from the mainland.

"Do not trouble yourself, your Majesty." Cherkasskyi said. "My men are more than up to the task."

"As are mine." Zagloba chimed in, in his ever low and tone of voice. "My men can find the proper path."

"And we'll set the Tartar lands on fire from the Dniepr to the Berda." Cherkasskyi was quick to add.

"That is all well and good, I would rather have the Beys think we are merely raiding them, not finding paths through their realms." The King said and snapped his fingers at the servant girl standing in silence by the door who soon arrived to top of the men's goblets with warmed mead.

"Those are lean lands, sire." Zagloba whispered after sipping his mead. "Moving a large force against Perekop will be hard, there is only so much one can forage to feed men, and if the Tartars set fire to the plains grass, ther will be even less to feed the horses with."

"Any host that marches against the south will need to rely on a large baggage train." Cherkasskyi added.

"Aye, a large and exposed one at that, sire. The Tartar Beys will surely target the wagon trains especially." Zagloba said with a nod.

"I am sure your men will be more than capable of protecting them alongside our Kalmyk riders, my good Atamans." The King said, looking up from the map at the two men before turning. "I shall give orders to have grain payed as tax in kind to be taken south, to the village to Krivoy Rog. I hope that you will be able to construct granaries to store it?" Vsevolod looked at Timofey Cherkasskyi.

"The winter isn't the best time to undertake large earthworks... but it would sure be after the harvest so... I can manage."

"Very good, I am glad to have such a loyal servant."

Cherkasskyi gave a barely notable smile. "Thank you, sire."
Last edited by The National Dominion of Hungary on Sat Jul 16, 2022 9:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

Plotek i medialnych bredni nie daj sobie wmówić,
Codziennie się rozwijaj i nie daj się ogłupić,
Atakowi propagandy stawiaj czoło dzielnie,
Nie daj sobą sterować i myśl samodzielnie.

Mass Effect Andromeda is a solid 7/10. Deal with it.

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Old Tyrannia
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Founded: Aug 11, 2009
Father Knows Best State

Postby Old Tyrannia » Sun Jul 17, 2022 9:45 am


January 1618
Year 3 of the Shōgen Era (正元三年)
Southern Zambales, Luzon

It was never truly silent in the rainforest. The singing of the birds, the rustling of the trees in the gentle winds blowing in from the western coast, the familiar gurgling of running water, and the buzzing of insects; the cacophony never really ceased. For Akutagawa Koichiro, the sounds of the jungle were more disconcerting than silence would have been as he and his unit creeped cautiously through the trees towards the clearing in which the enemy had set up their encampment. It was still relatively cool at this time of year, but already many of the more recently arrived troops from Japan were complaining about the heat and humidity. Akutagawa, who had arrived in the Southern Islands (known as the Philippines by the West) almost five years ago now as a wet-behind-the-ears twenty year old recruit, wondered how they would cope with the soaring temperatures come March. Japan itself, of course, was no stranger to hot and humid weather; but somehow the heat in the rainforest was more oppressive. Perhaps the claustrophobia that came of being unable to see more than a few metres ahead of you due to the thick vegetation contributed psychologically to the feeling of hotness and stuffiness. There was something suffocating about the air here; thick and gloopy, it oozed rather than flowed between the towering trees.

Akutagawa glanced to his left, and caught the gesture of a fellow ashigaru a few metres away indicating to stop the advance. He complied, and passed the message along to the next soldier in the advancing line. The men with him were mostly fellow veterans of the brief and bloody Japanese campaigns against the Iloko and Igorot peoples of northern Luzon. Despite their unfamiliarity with jungle warfare, the Japanese troops had the benefits of overwhelming numbers, technological superiority, and a veteran samurai officer corps who had served in the various wars of the daimyo as well as, in many cases, the failed invasions of Korea and the later, more successful acquisition of Taiwan. The fragmented tribes and city-states of northern Luzon had failed to offer any serious resistance, although ongoing guerilla actions against the Japanese forces remained a nuisance. Gradually, the general population of the north had come to terms with Japanese rule- which, after all, was not terribly different from that of their prior ruling aristocracy. It helped, too, that the sinicised Pangasinan kingdom of Caboloan along the north-west coast, with its longstanding cultural and economic ties to the nations of East Asia, had fairly quickly accepted the overlordship of the Japanese Imperial Courts in place of that of the Song emperor and even volunteered their own troops to future Japanese actions in return for retaining autonomous rule over his kingdom.

Now, with a mandate to bring the whole of the archipelago under Japanese control, Shogun of the Southern Territories Lord Akashi Takenori had decided to push further south and bring the whole island of Luzon into the Japanese fold. The death of the kampaku, Toyotomi Hidetsugu, the previous year had not altered his ambitions at all. Confident of the support of Lord Senchiyomaru, Hidetsugu's son and successor, Lord Akashi had launched his campaign in early December, almost as soon as the wet season had passed. For Akutagawa, the resumption of war was an opportunity he had long awaited. His service in prior campaigns had earned him the commendation of his unit captain, and he had reason to look forward to the highest reward that any ashigaru soldier could hope for- elevation to the rank of samurai, with a fief awarded to him carved out of the newly conquered territories. It was this opportunity that drew many common soldiers, now largely obsolete in a more peaceful post-Sengoku Japan, to enlist for service in Japan's colonial expansionist campaigns. But the resistance in this new war was expected to be more rigid than it had been previously. They were intruding upon the territory of the powerful hegemonic state of Tondo, which dominated the southern part of Luzon. The troops they were about to engage were those of a datu, a regional ruler, who operated under the loose suzerainty of the Lakan of Tondo. Their party of two hundred was smaller than the five hundred odd Tagalog soldiers, but they had the element of surprise, and considerably more firearms. Akutagawa's captain had deemed the odds acceptable.

The battle Akutagawa was about to face was just one of many skirmishes taking place across Central Luzon as the Japanese pushed forward in their conquest of the island. Their goals were to first take the Bataan Peninsula, then capture the city-state of Maynila, and then Tondo itself. With Tondo and Maynila under their control, the Japanese would have defeated the most significant resistance to their rule on Luzon, and the rest of the archipelago would be open to them. For Akutagawa, however, such matters were far above his paygrade; he could think only of the battle ahead of him, and making sure that he survived it. The final moments before battle seemed to stretch out to an eternity; a century passed between each heartbeat. But then, as sure as the sun rose each morning, the loud crack of a gun firing echoed through the forest and was answered by a cacophony of shouts from the enemy camp. Battle had been joined.

Akutagawa quickly sprung forward and took a position at the edge of clearing alongside the other ashigaru in his unit. The order to fire quickly followed as Tagalog soldiers armed for melee combat assembled nearby with the clear intention of charging the Japanese line. The enemy troops showed remarkable discipline and organisation given that they had clearly been caught off guard, but although they were quick to form up into ranks and raise their shields, the wooden wall proved ineffectual at protection them from gunfire at such short range, and many Tagalogs dropped dead after the first assault. Undeterred, the surviving enemy rushed the Japanese; not having time to reload his gun before they closed the gap, Akutagawa drew his katana and prepared to engage the foe in close quarters combat. In the blink of an eye he saw a Filipino soldier thrust his spear towards Akutagawa's chest; Akutagawa barely managed to sidestep the attack, and answered with an upward strike of his sword, leaving a deep gash across the enemy soldier's chest from which blood spewed like a fountain. Akutagawa fell back towards the treeline; neither he nor his commanders had anticipated such a fierce counterattack. Nonetheless, the first volleys of gunfire had taken a devastating toll on the enemy. Akutagawa noticed the soldier who he had struck with his sword take a threatening step towards him, then topple forward, his face twisted in pain and rage. The victor turned and, no longer under attack, considered his options. His unit were more accustomed to fighting at range using their tanegashima, which had emerged as the main weapon of Japanese footsoldiers since the latter days of the Sengoku Jidai; now, though, they were being forced to fight in close quarters. Clearly the enemy had recognised the advantage that the Japanese gained from their superior numbers of and skill with firearms, and had planned accordingly to neutralise that advantage.

Realising that retreating without orders would only mean being hunted by both his own side and the enemy, Akutagawa summoned his courage and threw himself back into the fray, coming to the aide of a nearby comrade who was wrestling with a large and fierce looking Tagalog soldier and his spear. Akutagawa took advantage of the enemy's openness and bit deep into his thick neck with the blade, causing the Tagalog to sink to his knees, gasping for air, eyes bloodshot.

"Nippon banzai!" came the battle cry of the unit's samurai commander from a few metres away; the Japanese took up the cry, Akutagawa included, and began to push back against the enemy. His arms quickly grew tired of the hacking and the slashing, and his head began to feel light. The smell of blood and the cries of dying soldiers on both sides filled his nostrils and his ears. In the end, though, the fight lasted little more than half an hour before the remaining Tagalog soldiers broke lines and, realising the day was lost, fled into the woods. Akutagawa felt he had been holding his breath for an age; finally able to breath again, he sunk to his knees and began taking in great gulping gasps of air. He'd received some minor injuries in the course of the battle- though he couldn't have said when or how- but he was alive. The Japanese had suffered worse casualties than expected, but the day was theirs. Now there could be rest until the next battle, and the next one after that, and the next after that, until the whole archipelago was subject to the burgeoning Japanese Empire.

January 1618
Year 3 of the Shōgen Era (正元三年)
Jurakudai (聚楽第), Kyoto (京都)
Japan (日本)

Lord Toyotomi Senchiyomaru had risen early in the morning as was his custom, to be greeted by the unusual news that a messenger had just arrived from Sō Yoshinari, daimyo of Tsushima Domain, conveying a message that had been entrusted to the aforementioned lord from the Emperor of Joseon. Relations between Joseon and Japan had mostly returned to normal since Senchiyomaru's grandfather Hideyoshi's ill-fated military campaigns against the Koreans, at least at an official level, but a degree of mistrust and resentment still simmered between the peoples of the two East Asian powers. Traditionally, Korea had tended to dismiss the Japanese as island barbarians and pirates, much as the Chinese did. This cryptic outreach therefore came as something of a surprise to Senchiyomaru as it was read to him in one of the Jurakudai's smaller audience chambers by his Chief Secretary of Relations with Barbarians, a recently created office established to manage the increased contact between Toyotomi Japan and foreign governments.

"...the Empire of Joseon is hoping to extend diplomatic and trade relations between Joseon and Nihon, in hopes of establishing a consensus on the matters of trade, spheres of expansion, security, and on the matters of the Middle Kingdom. We hope that the Lord of Tsushima would bring the letter to the Secretariat of Relations with Barbarians and by extension, the Imperial Regent of Japan and allow our envoys to bring an official mission to improve on relations between the two nations," concluded the official. The message held some clue as to the motivation for sending it; the mention of the Middle Kingdom- China, traditionally the centre of the world and all of civilisation according to the sinocentric worldview it had aggressively promoted for centuries- made it clear that Joseon had concerns about the situation in its much larger neighbour, long divided between the Yuan in the north and the Song in the south. Concerns strong enough to seek the cooperation of a recent enemy in addressing them. Well, Japan had a vested interest in the Chinese situation as well. The Yuan dynasty had attempted to invade Japan by sea twice in the past. The Korean peninsula itself constituted an ideal staging ground for a military incursion against Japan- it had been likened, indeed, to a dagger pointed directly at the heart of Japan. If Korea could not be subjugated to Japanese rule, then- and the events of the prior century had made it clear that it could not, not for any price that Japan was willing to or capable of paying- it was in the best interests of the Japanese that Korea remained a strong independent power, not so strong as to pose a threat itself, but enough to form a buffer between Japan and any potential expansionist dynasty that arose on the Asian mainland.

Senchiyomaru's father Toyotomi Hidetsugu had recognised this some years ago, and the topic had been discussed within the inner circle of the ruling government within the secure walls of the Jurakudai and Osaka Castle. But both Hidetsugu and Senchiyomaru had hoped that the need for Japan to involve itself militarily on the continent would not arise in their lifetime. Japan's focus now was on building a colonial empire that would bring it the same wealth and prestige that the Europeans had gained from their own colonial exploits, of which their sailors boasted in Asian ports. It had been the preferred policy of the Japanese government to remain aloof from the affairs of the East Asian mainland, but with Joseon seemingly seeking some accord with Japan, perhaps that policy had outlived its practicality. Apart from the "Chinese Question," the letter from Joseon also hinted that the Korean court was interested in expansion- expansion which, if Joseon felt it necessary to consult the Japanese about it, would almost certainly mean overseas colonies that could interfere with Japan's own grand ambitions. However, if Joseon was truly committed to pursuing a colonial empire of its own, the opportunity to gently nudge Korean interests away from those areas where Japan had set its sights would not be one to dismiss lightly. Ultimately, friendship with Japan's nearest neighbour was in almost all cases preferable to hostility.

"Please draft a response to the Joseon court," instructed Senchiyomaru. "Inform them that we would welcome an emissary from the Emperor of Joseon to our country, and sincerely hope that good diplomatic relations between our nations may lead to widespread cooperation in the common pursuit of universal harmony, to which both the Emperor of Joseon and the servants of Their Majesties the Emperors of Japan are equally devoted."

"Forgive me, Excellency. Is it your intention to host the Korean delegation here in Kyoto?"

"Yes, that is so. It is a significant concession of prestige for Joseon to send a mission here, to the Land of the Rising Sun, rather than expecting a Japanese mission to attend upon the Emperor of Joseon at his own court. Such an act of magnanimity must be answered in kind. The mission from Joseon should be treated with the highest of honours, as an envoy from the Middle Kingdom itself might have been in days long past. Audiences with the emperors of both courts should be arranged, and appropriate honours distributed to the visiting delegates. It is important that Joseon feels Japan is genuinely interested in answering its calls for closer relations."

"Yes, Your Excellency." The Secretary bowed his head to the floor three times before rising to his feet, and, keeping his head bowed, backed away slowly from the regent before leaving the room through the sliding doors opened by attendants to the left and right of them. Alone with only servants in the room, Senchiyomaru, sat cross-legged upon a dais, raised a cup of jasmine tea to his lips and took a delicate sip. Too cool, he thought, irritated. The unscheduled morning appointment had taken longer than he had expected, but given its importance would likely outweigh that of almost all of the rest of the day's business put together, he could hardly complain.

Almost all of the day's business.

Senchiyomaru's next task would be to read the report delivered from Osaka Castle on his cousin Hideyori's actions over the last week. Senchiyomaru had been keeping his cousin as a virtual prisoner in the castle since the death of his father, Hideyori's uncle, Toyotomi Hidetsugu. As the blood son of the late Taikō, Toyotomi Hideyoshi- Japan's great unifier- Hideyori was in the eyes of many the rightful ruler of the country. This made him a threat; but he was still family, and Senchiyomaru could say earnestly that he loved his younger cousin, with whom he had maintained a warm friendship through their early youths. The political considerations that had put the two young men at odds were forever a cause of regret to him, and, he hoped, to his cousin as well. Carefully he read through the report that had been waiting by his side throughout his meeting with the Secretary. "Today, the young Lord practiced archery in the castle firing range... His bowmanship was well-remarked upon by all present." The tone of the reports always reflected the careful line tread by those set to watch Hideyori by his older cousin; always they strove to avoid any suggestion that the younger cousin was in any way superior to the ruling one, whilst at the same time striving to say nothing outright insulting about the Taikō's son, given the family connection and well-known boyhood friendship that existed between prisoner and imprisoner. Mild flattery of Hideyori's skills was thus the norm. The report was as uneventful as usual- there were no indications of suspicious activity or speech by the young lord.

Senchiyomaru let out a soft sigh as he came to the end of the letter. Was this to be his life from here on? Living forever in fear of those whom he should have been able to place the utmost trust? Not just his cousin and one-time best friend, but his own brothers, his advisors, his most relied upon retainers? It was a life to which the self-admittedly idealistic youth felt he was ill-suited, but he nonetheless rose to the challenge as best he could; duty and honour demanded it of him. For now, like an actor in a noh play, he would wear the mask of the ruler and play the part as best he could until the day came that his story reached its end.

To the Court of His Imperial Majesty the Emperor of Joseon,
From the Secretariat Responsible for Relations with Barbarians,

Your Majesty,
On behalf of Their Imperial Majesties the Emperors of the Northern and Southern Courts, His Excellency Lord Regent Toyotomi Senchiyomaru bids me to wish Your Majesty and the members of Your Majesty's court well, in particular the honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Jun-min. His Excellency humbly agrees to Your Majesty's request that a mission from the Court of Joseon be admitted to the Land of the Rising Sun, and assures Your Majesty that the representatives of the Imperial Court of Joseon will be received with the highest courtesy and full honours in the Imperial Capital of Kyoto. His Excellency also wishes earnestly to discuss the matters raised by Your Majesty's honourable servant in the previously received missive, and hopes that discussion between our governments might prove fruitful in resolving historic tensions and shared challenges in the present.

With our humblest regards,
樺山 瑞希
Kabayama Mizuki
His Excellency's Secretary for Relations with Barbarians
Last edited by Old Tyrannia on Sun Jul 17, 2022 12:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Anglican monarchist, paternalistic conservative and Christian existentialist.
"It is spiritless to think that you cannot attain to that which you have seen and heard the masters attain. The masters are men. You are also a man. If you think that you will be inferior in doing something, you will be on that road very soon."
- Yamamoto Tsunetomo

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Tracian Empire
Postmaster of the Fleet
Posts: 25664
Founded: Mar 01, 2014
Father Knows Best State

Postby Tracian Empire » Mon Jul 18, 2022 7:11 am

Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων
Basileia tōn Rhōmaiōn
The Empire of the Romans

Βασιλεία Ῥωμαίων
Basileía Rhōmaíōn
The Roman Empire

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

Σταυρὲ βασιλέως βασιλέων βασιλευούσῃ βοήθει
Staurè Basileùs Basiléon Basileuoúse Boéthei
Cross of the King of Kings aid the Ruling City


Ἱερὸν Παλάτιον
Sacred Palace

1618 μ.Χ.
6649 ε.Κ


People standing in front of the Chalke Gate of the Great Palace, the Bronze Gate with the icon of Christ Chalkites, watching as the Logothete of the Military directed his men a breastplate, a sword, and a shield outside of the gates. An old tradition from the times of Constantine the Great, symbolizing one thing - that the Emperor, great and mighty sovereign of the Romans, has decided to go on campaign and to mobilize his troops against an enemy. The bells of the Hagia Sophia started to ring as the city was sent into a frenzy, with the tagma regiments mobilizing, and all the churches in the city offering prayers for victory. In the Augustaion, the Great Square, the priests of the city would lead processions with holy icons, while the greatest relic of them all, the True Cross, found by the Saint Empress Helena, saved from the Persians by Emperor Heraclius and brought back to Jerusalem, from where it was saved again in front of the Arabs and brought to Constantinople, was taken out of the Hagia Sophia, to be moved back into the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

Each and every step, from the mobilization of the soldiers, the steps they would take outside of the city, the speeches of their officers, the prayers that were to be said, the baggage that were to be prepared, which troops would move by sea and which would move by land. Everything had already been decided, everything had already been planned and noted down. Everyone would move in perfect synchronicity like the gears of a clock. The supplies that were required, the baggage train of the Emperor, even the meals that were to be prepared each day until they would reach Palestine - all had been decided in advance.

The troops were to be gathered next to the city. The Basileus was to leave the city first, after attending a religious service in the Hagia Sophia, and would move outside of the city alongside his officials, servants, priests, and his bodyguards - of which there three units. The native Roman Vestiaritai, the Imperial Hetaireia, the Company, mostly of foreigners, and of course, the Varangian Guard. There he would wait as each of the tagma regiments would be prepared for inspection, and after the inspection, each of the regiments would then leave towards the imperial harbors - where some would be shipped over to Anatolia for the route by land to Palestine, while others would be taken by sea directly. The Scholai, the Schools, the descendants of the Scholae Palatinae of Emperor Constantine the Great. The Exkoubitoi, the Sentinels of Leo the Great. The Hikanatoi, the Able Ones of Emperor Nikephoros the Arab. The Optimatoi, the Best Men of Emperor Tiberius Constantine. The Tessarakontarioi, the Marines of Emperor Michael the Amorian. The Archontopouloi, the sons of the Archons of Emperor Andronikos Palaiologos, the unit formed by orphaned sons of imperial officers, raised in Constantinople. The Vigla, the Watch, the guards of the imperial palace and of the imperial camps of Empress Irene. And even the officers of the Imperial Fleet, who would come and pay their respects to the Emperor.

At the port of Pylai, on the Sea of Marmara, from where he was able to look at Constantinople, the Emperor rose from his couch, and stood, facing east. Raising his hands, he made the sign of the Cross three times with his hands over the City, and prayed in accordance with the ceremony. "Lord Jesus Christ, my God, in your hands I place this city of yours. Preserve it from all the adversities and difficulties befalling it, from civil strife and foreign attack. Keep it impregnable and unassailable, for we place our hopes in you. You are lord of mercy and father of compassion and God of all consolation, and yours is the power of mercy and salvation and deliverance from temptations and dangers, now and forever more. Amen. "

Turning around, the Basileus faced the first of the tagma regiments to leave the city, the cavalry men of the Athanatoi. The soldiers remained mounted on their horses, as the officers, the domestikos, the strategos, the droungarokometes, the merarches and the komes, all stopped at a closer distance from the Emperor and his guards and officials, dismounted from their horses, and fell on the ground, prostrating and making obeisance before the Emperor. The ceremony continued. "Well met! How are you, my children? How are your wives, my daughters in law and the children?", he asked, as the officers stood back up. "While you live and reign, we, your servants, also enjoy health!", they replied, in one voice. "Thanks be to the Holy God, who keeps us in health."

Then, facing both the officers and the soldiers, the Basileus declared. "Strive, soldiers of Christ and my children, so that in time of need you will show your nobility of spirit and bravery and your Orthodox faith and love for God and our imperial power, so that our imperial power, in acknowledgement, may worthily repay and reward the favor of your bravery and nobility of spirit and Orthodox faith and love, and may honor you with various honors and show as worthy those previously not deemed worthy, and declare countless benefits for you."

Many years for the Emperor!


A merchant ship flying a banner of a golden cross on a red background arrived to the country of Tzinista, or Sinae as it had been known in older times, carrying on it a few monks and officials serving as an embassy of the Empire of the Romans. They had been sent by Andronikos, in Christ Emperor and Autocrat of the Romans, to the Emperor of the Tzinista, with lavish gifts for the court, glassware, gemstones, coral, cinnabar, gold and silver, ivory, rhinoceros horns and tortoise shells, and a few animals, lions and antelopes.

Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων
Basileia tōn Rhōmaiōn
The Empire of the Romans

Βασιλεία Ῥωμαίων
Basileía Rhōmaíōn
The Roman Empire

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

Βασιλεύς Βασιλέων Βασιλεύων Βασιλευόντων
Basiléus Basiléon Basilévon Basilevónton
King of Kings, Ruling Over Those Who Rule

To His Excellency, Johan van Oldenbarnevelt, Grand Pensionary of the United States of the Netherlands

In the name of the Christ-loving Mikhail Palaiologos, emperor of the Romans, to Johan van Oldenbarnevelt, the Consul of the Batavi, salutations from the Emperor, Senate and People of Rome

The reputation of the people of the Netherlands has since long ago reached the lands of Rhomania, in no little part due to the Dutch merchants that reach Constantinople and the other ports of the Empire. Through their stories, His Majesty the Emperor has been informed of the great skill of the people of the Netherlands in building forts and fortifications, a skill which has surpassed even that of the famous engineers coming from Italy. The strength of the Roman engineers still lies in walls and not in bastion forts, which is why the Basileus wishes to hire experienced Dutch engineers to build a fort in the theme of Thrace, to the north of Constantinople. These engineers would be well supplied with workers and materials and would be paid good prices for their services. I, the humble servant of the Emperor, the Logothete of the Course, have decided that contacting the nation of the Netherlands directly would be better than seeking to hire individual engineers, as I believe that a direct contact with the Republic of the Netherlands and the construction of this fort would be viewed very favorably by the Imperial Court, and that it could improve the relations between the Empire of the Romans and the Republic of the Netherlands, something that would be profitable for both nation even with the presence of Germans and Muslims in between our nations.

On the same note, Constantinople would be delighted to receive an embassy from the Netherlands for a longer period of time, as the Basileus expects Roman ships to be sailing in the Erythraean Sea in the next few years, a sea of the world in which we know that the Dutch people have their interests.

Nikephoros Doukas, Magistros, Vestes and Patrikios, Logothete of the Course, in the name of

His Imperial Majesty, Mikhael Palaiologos, in Christ Basileus and Autokrator of the Romans, Kaisar, Kyrios and Despot of the New Rome, Forever Sebastos and Sotiras, Sebastokrator and Nobelissimos, Hypatos, Arkhistrategos and Arkhiexarkhos, Porphyrogennetos, Viceroy of Our Lord Jesus Christ on Earth, the Pious and the Blessed, Defender of the One True Orthodox Faith, Great Protector of the Holy Cities of Constantinople, Antioch, and Jerusalem, Protector of the Church of Divine Wisdom, of the Church of the Golden House and of the Church of the Golden Sepulchre, Protector of the Holy Council Cities of Nikaea and Chalkedon, Despot of All Moesia and All Anatolia, of Greece, Macedonia and Dacia, of Thrace and of Scythia Minor, of Armenia, Syria, and Palestine, Sovereign of the Holy Order of the True Cross, Grand Master of the Order of Saint Andrew, of the Order of Constantine the Great and of the Order of Justinian the Great, King of Kings, Ruling Over Those Who Rule

Οἰκουμενικὸν Πατριαρχεῖον Κωνσταντινουπόλεως
Oikoumenikón Patriarkhíon Konstantinoupóleos
Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople

To the leaders of the Catholic and Protestant Churches of Europe

The Fathers of the Church who met in the Year of Our Lord 381 in the city of Constantinople in order to protect the correct faith and to fight against the many heresies which were attacking the Christian faithful believed that the Four Marks of the Church had existed from the very beginning of our faith. They believed that there was but one Church, one body and one Spirit, that there was no distinction between us and that we are all one in Christ Jesus. And yet for centuries, the Church has been broken, divided by petty rivalries and secular interests, by arguments and accusations. Differences in the faith were not solved through councils and theological dialogues, or through prayer, but through war, blood, and death. We would be unworthy of the tradition of the Apostles and of their mission if we were to let this continue without doing anything.

That is why, in the name of Jesus Christ, the Orthodox, Maronite and Syriac Patriarchs of the Pentrarchy propose the organization of a new Ecumenical Council, with bishops from the Orthodox Church, from the Catholic Church, from the Syriac Church, from the Maronite Church and from the many Protestant Churches. Jesus prayed for us, prayed for all of us to be one, and while that might be impossible due to our own imperfection, we believe that at the very least theological dialogue is necessary in order to avoid bloodshed between brothers in Christ.

His All Holiness Cyril Loukaris, by the grace of God Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch
His Most Godly Beatitude, Theophanes, by the grace of God Patriarch of the Holy City of Jerusalem and all Holy Land, Syria, beyond the Jordan River, Cana of Galilee, and Holy Zion
His Holiness, Athanasius Dabbas, by the grace of God Patriarch of Antioch and All the East

His Holiness Ignatius Hidayat Allah, by the grace of God Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, and Supreme Head of the Universal Syriac Orthodox Church
His Holiness Yuhanna Makhluf, by the grace of God Patriarch of Antioch and All the East and Supreme Head of the Antiochene Syriac Maronite Church

Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων
Basileia tōn Rhōmaiōn
The Empire of the Romans

Βασιλεία Ῥωμαίων
Basileía Rhōmaíōn
The Roman Empire

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

Βασιλεύς Βασιλέων Βασιλεύων Βασιλευόντων
Basiléus Basiléon Basilévon Basilevónton
King of Kings, Ruling Over Those Who Rule

To His Majesty, Vsevolod VII Rurikovich-Moskovsky - King of All the Rus

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, our one and only true God, Mikhail, having faith in God alone, emperor of the Romans, to my beloved spiritual son, the most illustrious and admirable King of the Rus

Peace and mercy to you, joy and glory from God. I hope this message finds you well and in good health, and I hope that the Queen, the boyars and the common people of the Rus are all well. It has come to my attention that the lands of the Tartars are weak, and it is my firm hope that your armies will move against them and will liberate the lands of Taurica from the scourge of the Tatars and of their Islam. My predecessors on the throne of the Romans have all received the news of the destruction of the many Tartar and Islamic khanates in the East with great joy, and I will be praying for the victory of your armies the next time they move against the Islamic hordes. We know them all too well, and we have suffered at their hands much like your people have, and Taurica itself used to be one of our lands, as part of the Perateia, before it was lost to them. But I am confident that your armies will be able to gain victory in the name of Christ.

If you wish to move against Taurica, I want to let you know that my ships in the Euxinos Pondos would be able and willing to offer assistance if it were to be asked. My only request for you would be for once Taurica comes under your noble rule. Once the remaining Romans in the area become your subjects, I hope and I know that they will be treated well, for they too have long suffered under the oppression of the Tartars.

And I hope that if the Muslim threat in the Euxinos Pondos is destroyed, the relations and connections between our nations, old from the time of Basil and Vladimir the Great, will slowly be restored to what they one were, a relation of friendship and brotherhood between two nations and two thrones following Christ our Lord.

His Imperial Majesty, Mikhael Palaiologos, in Christ Basileus and Autokrator of the Romans, Kaisar, Kyrios and Despot of the New Rome, Forever Sebastos and Sotiras, Sebastokrator and Nobelissimos, Hypatos, Arkhistrategos and Arkhiexarkhos, Porphyrogennetos, Viceroy of Our Lord Jesus Christ on Earth, the Pious and the Blessed, Defender of the One True Orthodox Faith, Great Protector of the Holy Cities of Constantinople, Antioch, and Jerusalem, Protector of the Church of Divine Wisdom, of the Church of the Golden House and of the Church of the Golden Sepulchre, Protector of the Holy Council Cities of Nikaea and Chalkedon, Despot of All Moesia and All Anatolia, of Greece, Macedonia and Dacia, of Thrace and of Scythia Minor, of Armenia, Syria, and Palestine, Sovereign of the Holy Order of the True Cross, Grand Master of the Order of Saint Andrew, of the Order of Constantine the Great and of the Order of Justinian the Great, King of Kings, Ruling Over Those Who Rule
Last edited by Tracian Empire on Wed Jul 20, 2022 2:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Hello there! I am Tracian Empire! You can call me Tracian, Thrace, Thracian, Thracr, Thracc or whatever you want. Really.

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The V O I D
Post Marshal
Posts: 16289
Founded: Apr 13, 2014
Iron Fist Consumerists

Postby The V O I D » Tue Jul 19, 2022 8:47 pm

The Hofburg (Royal Palace)
Vienna, Austria
The United Kingdoms of Austria and Bavaria
July, 1618

Ferdinand, the Second of His Name to rule as the King of Austria and Bavaria, as well as the Holy Roman Emperor, was peering out one of the grand windows of the Hofburg. It was a quiet midday, but he was... well, suffice to say, he was not precisely pleased with the current state of affairs in his Realm. Embarrassed by the Dutch affair, and the continuing existence of those who may as well be heretics in the Holy Roman Empire? It was as if the universe itself sought to mock him. Or, as the Archbishop of Mainz told him, perhaps it was a test of Ferdinand's faith from the Lord, Himself.

Ferdinand had plenty of faith. Oh, certainly, he had to grit his teeth in his assurances when it came time to elect him to the position of Emperor, no matter how much it galled him to do so. But the current state of affairs within his Realm personally, let alone his personal view for the future of the Empire, would not do. No, things would need to change; and Ferdinand had already made some headway in doing so within Austria and Bavaria, along with the Realm under his authority as the King, even if he had to offer some platitudes or favors to the Dukes in return for this progress. The people were slowly but surely being roused; recatholicization was, definitively, heading towards success within his lands, of that there was no doubt in his mind.

“Your Majesty,” a servant interrupted Ferdinand's musings, causing him to turn to look at them. Ah. The Royal Messenger. That could only mean one thing, and the next words spoken confirmed it: “The Presidents of the Royal and National Council have arrived.”

“Send them in,” the King assented, dismissing the servant as they stood from their kneeling position and left. A few moments later, two men entered: Francesco de Medici, Duke of Genoa, served as President for Ferdinand's Royal Council, whilst Maximilian Wittelsbach served as the Duke of Nordgau in Bavaria and his President of the National Council there. The King took his seat at the small table, after which point the men themselves sat.

“Gentlemen,” the King greeted, “We have much to discuss. Our business, of late, concerns not just Our Realm, but the entirety of the Empire. Is there any immediately pressing business you believe needs Our attention?”

“The Kingdom of Bavaria, as always, is leal to you, Your Majesty,” Maximilian proclaimed, “but I do not believe I have any such pressing business, as of yet, beyond the typical formalities.”

“The Kingdom of Austria and its Duchies are still monitoring a few... situations, Your Majesty, but none that should be so immediate for the moment,” Francesco said next, “however, His Holiness, the Pope, I have heard has received a message from the Eastern Romans. I know not yet the contents, Your Majesty, but surely His Holiness will counsel you as a fellow leader among those faithful to Our Lord.”

“Hmmm,” Ferdinand hummed in agreement, “then, let Us commence with Our business. Our first matter of business is thus: with the Recatholicization of Our Realm nearing its completion, do you believe We are ready to implement a ... similar policy for the Empire? We are considering issuing an Imperial Edict to such an effect, but wish to seek some counseling in regards to where We may seek allies in this endeavor.”

“The Realm entire will certainly answer any such call to arms, though it may take some time to properly arm and train them, Your Majesty,” Francesco answered, to Maximilian's nod of agreement, “and we may yet count on the rest of Italy, for they are surely true and faithful Catholics. As for other potential allies... it is difficult to say, Your Majesty; the Protestants have, of late, become emboldened by the Dutch Affair. I fear it may only grow worse, especially if they rightly fear that we intend to bring the Lord's Judgement to them for their heresy against His Holiness and the Church.”

“That is, indeed, most troubling to Us,” Ferdinand admitted, “is there no one We might seek for aid?”

“Perhaps Gaul may yet be amenable, though their... loyalty and faith to the Church is questionable at best,” Maximilian finally proposed.

“No, We shall seek no aid from heretics to ... correct other heretics. It would be most distasteful to Us to have to utilize such aid,” Ferdinand decided, before amending, “although, it seems to Us that, as the Dutch have abandoned the Church and been exiled from the Empire's own protection, We will have very little more than nominal obligation to come to their aid. It is therefore in Our interests to monitor Gaul and its intent for the future; for, perhaps, the Dutch may yet realize how cold and alone they are, so astray from God, that they may repent to Us and rejoin Our Realm.”

“Certainly, that is a possibility,” Maximilian conceded, though he seemed rather doubtful of the idea. Ferdinand was not quite sure if he believed it himself, so he could hardly blame the man.

“Trust in Our Lord, that He may guide them so,” Ferdinand advised, before sighing, “We suppose that there is little to be done. So, Our command is thus: issue a general call to arms, under the reasoning that banditry and whispers of rebellion have become intolerable. Once you believe that Our Realm is ready for such an action, We shall begin with Our northern neighbors, before We move to strike down all between Our Realm and the Dutch. And this time, We shall not stop until the fiery judgement of the Lord claims every heretic in those lands, or they repent and ask for forgiveness. You have Our assent, in this regard.”

“It shall be done, Your Majesty,” both men responded at once, bowing their heads respectfully. Ferdinand stood, waving the men to stand as well. As they walked with him to leave the room, Ferdinand considered if he should tell them what happened next.

“We shall be issuing an Imperial Edict on the morrow,” Ferdinand began, “that will proclaim all lands owned by the Catholic Church currently to be unable to be claimed by any power for any reason or by any means, except by His Holiness' direct and public assent. We trust you understand the precedent and implication of Our intended Edict?”

Both men paused, as Ferdinand briefly glanced at them, before bowing their heads in acknowledgement.

“Very good,” Ferdinand nodded, “now go forth and ensure Our Realm is prepared for the path forwards.”


An Imperial Edict has been issued by His Royal Majesty, Ferdinand II, by the grace of God elected Holy Roman Emperor, forever August, King in Germany, King of Austria and Bavaria, Croatia, Slavonia, Count of Habsburg, Tyrol, Kyburg and Goritia, Marquess of the Holy Roman Empire, etc. etc. titled as the Edict of Insurance.

The Edict of Insurance, as defined by His Royal Majesty, is a general act of insurance for all lands belonging to the Catholic Church within the Holy Roman Empire. This Edict acts a general affirmation that all lands belonging to the Catholic Church, and thus, His Holiness, the Pope, within the lands of all the Holy Roman Empire are under solely the responsibility and ownership of His Holiness Himself.

Any disregard for this, such as the seizure of any such lands, shall be seen as a Crime of Heresy against the Church - unless the lands were, under His Holiness' authority and assent, allowed to be turned away from the Church's sole responsibility and governance.

The Edict of Insurance also further mandates that, henceforth, the punishment for Heresy against the Church shall solely be death by burning, unless such a Heretic shall be repentant and immediately seek the forgiveness of a Father of the Church.

His Royal Majesty also affirms and reassures that the Edict of Insurance does not command currently the return of lands already outside of the Church's responsibility and governance from before the issuing of this same Edict, unless His Holiness shall request the return of such lands, in which case the refusal to return them shall be seen as the same such act as seizing such lands from His Holiness to begin with.

In the name of Our Lord, this Imperial Edict shall go into effect no later than the end of this month by order of His Royal Majesty, and as immediately as possible besides.

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Northern Socialist Council Republics
Posts: 2435
Founded: Dec 13, 2020
Left-wing Utopia

Postby Northern Socialist Council Republics » Tue Jul 19, 2022 11:01 pm

"Come, come, my friend, come and see: the myriad nations, disparate and insular, united only in the fervour of their shared hatred for each other."

To all ecclesical, secular, and republican Princes of the Holy Roman Empire subscribing to the Confessions of Prague, Augsburg, to Nidaros to whom this missive shall arrive: We, the duly elected mayors of the Free and Imperial City of Lübeck and of the Free and Imperial City of Stralsund, send greetings, friendship, and the warmest of wishes.

We have no doubt that the injuries sustained by peace and law within the Empire due to the most recent Edict of the Emperor is among your Excellencies already well recognised. The Religious Peace proclaimed in the Diet of Augsburg, on the Year of Our Lord 1555, binding on His Majesty Emperor Ferdinand, by the Grace of God Emperor of the Romans, and all of His heirs and descendants, guarantee to the followers of the Confessions of Prague, Augsburg, or Nidaros that the practice of these aforementioned faiths shall not be interfered with in the estates and principalities of those Imperial princes who follow them, that no estate, the Empire itself not excepted, shall induce the subjects of another estate that follows one such Confession to abandon the faith of their estate or principality, and that the right of burghers in the Imperial Cities to practice the Confession of their conscience shall be respected until the final settlement of Christian unity.

By prescribing to the Papacy, not merely an estate of the Roman Catholic Confession but a foreign estate outside of the Empire, the powers and rights to demand and receive titles within and subject to the estates and principalities of the aforementioned Confessions for the Roman Catholic Confession, His Majesty Emperor Ferdinand II, by the Grace of God Emperor of the Romans, have denounced the lawful obligations placed upon Him by the 1555 Diet of Augsburg and have in doing so demonstrated His contempt for the Imperial and Christian peace upheld by that Diet. Furthermore, such an interference in the internal relationships of lawful vassalage within the estates and principalities of the Imperial princes, through an Edict issued unilaterally by the Emperor without convening the Imperial Diet to receive the customary advise and consultation of the Imperial princes, is an overt and illegitimate attack on the ancient and established rights of the Imperial princes as clarified in the declarations of Frankfurt in the Years of Our Lord 1220 and 1232.

Consequently we are forced by most regrettable circumstance to call upon the ecclesical, secular, and republican princes of the Empire subscribing to the Confessions of Prague, Augsburg, or Nidaros to take the necessary measures to secure not only the confessionary rights guaranteed to us in Augsburg, 1555, and the public peace within our most beautiful Empire, but also the ancient and customary rights of the Imperial princes in this Empire and our own prerogatives as the defenders of the rights and liberties of our respective subjects.

For the purposes of deliberation on what these necessary measures shall be as well as to coordinate and organise our collective response to this flagrant violation of His Majesty's duties, we, the duly elected mayors of the Free and Imperial City of Lübeck and the Free and Imperial City of Stralsund, invite all subject princes of the Empire interested in discussing these aforementioned matters of mutual interest, whether they be ecclesical, secular, or republican in nature, or duly accredited plenipotentiaries representing the interests of the same, to the Free and Imperial City of Stralsund, on this coming 3rd September of the Year of Our Lord 1618; we further affirm to any such princes and to their duly accredited plenipotentiaries all the rights of free and safe passage through our respective principalities, guarantees of personal security, and all those other ancient and customary duties of hospitality as are necessary to ensure a free, amicable, and courteous deliberations.

Signed and sealed on this 20th day of the month of July, since the birth of Christ our Lord 1618 years, in the Free and Imperial City of Stralsund,

Steinn Reynisson, Mayor of the Free and Imperial City of Lübeck, and
Christopher Sturluson, Mayor of the Free and Imperial City of Stralsund
Last edited by Northern Socialist Council Republics on Tue Jul 19, 2022 11:03 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Intermountain States
Posts: 2073
Founded: Oct 12, 2014
Capitalist Paradise

Postby Intermountain States » Wed Jul 20, 2022 1:43 am

February, 1618
Empire of Great Joseon

Wang Jun-min sat at his desk, writing a letter to respond to his counterpart in Yuan. The Emperor wanted the response to be respectful of Yuan's authority but still rebuff its demands. He has been stalling for a while, having been busy with communicating with Nanai's Ministry of Rites over trade relations and disputes between Korchin and Solon. Now that the disputes between Korchin and Solon had resolved, it was time to return to the letter to his Yuan counterpart.

"As Joseon is an empire with its own tributary system and Son of Heaven, it would be unthinkable for an Emperor to be in a master-servant relation to another Emperor," the Rites and Foreign Affairs Minister begins. "While Goryeo accepted the Son-in-law status of Yuan, Joseon has not."

"As such, the Emperor of Joseon will not enter into Yuan's tributary states and Joseon will not cede the Yodong Commandery to Yuan," the Minister continued.

Knocking on his office door caused him to stop writing the letter. "Who is it?" He asked, resting the ink brush on the ink fountain.

"Defense Minister Yi Yi-cheom," the voice replied behind the door. "The Chief State Councillor has called for your attendance to the Imperial Court over the diplomatic mission to Japan."

"Very well, I'll be out in a few minutes," the Minister said, putting on his official wear before leaving his office. He never got a chance to finish the letter.

March 1618
Japanese Empire

The travel from Busan to Tsushima and later to Nagasaki only took a couple of days, yet they were quite long as they were on boats. O Yun-gyeom could never get used to the sea sickness, he must commend the navy escorts for dealing with sea sickness in their patrols. The Korean delegations were received by Japanese officials at Osaka and were escorted to Kyoto, taking brief rests along the way. The envoys soon reached Kyoto and were invited to meet with the Imperial Regent.

Lord O Yun-gyeom stood with his entourage of envoys at the building where the Imperial Regent of Japan resides in. He visited Japan nearly a year earlier in the 9th year of Geonmun to restore diplomatic relations between Japan and Joseon. Now he returns to represent the interests of the same Emperor of Joseon in what is planned to be a goodwill mission detailing trade and security with Japan. Four envoys stood with the ambassador. Flanked by other officials, the ambassador bowed at the direction of the Imperial Regent as a sign of respect."

"I thank the Imperial Regent of Japan to allow this humble servant of Joseon to appear at this court of the beautiful city of Kyoto, the seat of the Rising Sun," O begins. "While relations between the land of the Morning Calm and the Rising Sun may have strained due to years of warfare, we were able to look past the tragedy and the bloodshed as both nations were under new sovereigns eager to restore relations. We are also eager to improve relations and the Emperor of Joseon wishes to start by wishing the Imperial Regent, and by extensions the Emperors of the Northern and Southern Courts, 10,000 years of prosperity and stability."

After the introduction, the ambassador's tones switched. "Now, this mission is not just out of Emperor's goodwill but an effort to discuss matters of the potential conflict between Song and Yuan. And to a certain extent, addressing our own spheres of influence within this continent and the oceans beyond. We hope that consensus can be reached between the great nations in regards to the matters of this area of the continent."

"To say that Joseon and Japan benefitted from the division of the Middle Kingdom is an understatement. We've established a balance of power with our worldviews and spheres of influence because of the divide within the area of China. It is because of Yuan's weakness that Joseon was able to restore the territories of Goguryeo. Song is not out to challenge Japan's suzerainty in the Southern Islands and Formosa; they probably don't even have a navy that goes further than their coastline. But what if either of these Chinas woke up from their slumbers? What if one of these Chinas begin to assert themselves against their neighbors, against each other? A bigger issue would be if either wins against each other and assert their dominance against their neighbors. A unified China destroys the balance of power we have."
Last edited by Intermountain States on Sun Jul 24, 2022 8:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Empire of Techkotal
Posts: 304
Founded: Apr 09, 2020
Psychotic Dictatorship

Postby Empire of Techkotal » Wed Jul 20, 2022 4:18 pm

March 1618
Ore Mountains, Augustus Castle

The doors opened and Johann George of Saxony-Prussia enters the courtyard of the Augustus Castle with Johann Sigismund of Brandenburg. Both of them in their ceremonial hunt attire. As they walked to their hunt horses servants brought a variety of Spears and muskets.

"You have a good eye for muskets George. I like this one the most." Said Sigismund and choose a musket decorated with a golden deer for himself.

"One needs to have a good eye for suitable tools, if one wants to hunt." Said George after choosing the one musket left. For the spears he choose the longest around 6 foot long.

The servants took the weapons and mounted their own horses. Then two servants helped Sigismund and George to mount their horses. Looking across the courtyard their were nearly one hundred horses and around 40 nobles attended the hunt. There were young and old mans in plain hunting attire armed with muskets, spears and sometimes even crossbows. Everyone was ready to move. The hunting dogs were already nervously going around. After looking around one more time George straightens up in his saddle and shouts.

"Here by I declare the hunt as started may you lords have a good hunting."

And with that they started trotting out of the gates followed by their hunting dogs and servants. Everyone slowly followed and once they were out of the gates they started to scatter. So that no one would come in each others way, while hunting. Johann George rode alongside Sigismund the path down from the castle towards the forest. The hunt had been carefully prepared and it was time for the game to be hunted.

"Hows your heart doing Sigismund?" asked George in order to start a conversation.

"Not great. Ever since I suffered a stroke my health has deteriorated and I'm nearly incapable of ruling. I have already planned everything. My son shall succeed me next year and I shall retire." Said Sigismund.

"So it has come to this. Is there really no other way?" asked George "I mean you could just let him organize things and do the talks, while you recover. Or do you think he is already fit to take up the seat of an elector?"

"You don't understand. I have been feeling extremely unwell and I can hardly concentrate on state affairs. So it is only right for him to succeed me now before I commit any grave mistakes. He might lack my bravery, but I can proudly say, that he is several times smarter then me and once he makes decisions he should also bear the full responsibility for them." Answered Sigismund.

A loud shout ripped them out of their conversation. "My lords there!" One of the servants pointed at a small group of red deer in the forest. They stopped their horses and dismounted. The servants loaded the muskets and after finishing gave the lords their muskets.

Slowly but surely George and Sigismund approached their prey. Their servants following close by with another two loaded muskets and their spears. Johann took his musket and put it on his ramrod. Slowly aiming at the biggest deer in the group. The stench of the fuse filling the air. He aimed at its body and let his fingers slide over the trigger.

Baam! A loud noise erupted from the musket with smoke filling the air. A lead bullet shot forth piercing its target. Though they couldn't see what exactly had happened, due to the loud shriek from the animal they knew it was a hit.

Johann gave the servants the musket and took his spear, while Sigismund already strode forth with his spear. The deer tried to run, but the hunting dogs brought it down and Sigismund finished it of.

While the servants were binding the deer and throwing it on a horse to transport it, Sigismund and George walked back to their horses. After everyone had gathered again and the hunting dogs had been recalled. They started to go back to the castle.

A little bit out of breath Sigismund moved his horse close to George. "You know there is something bothering me. The situation in the empire is rapidly worsening and both sides seem to be on dangerous path. I might be a bit dim, but even I noticed, that atmosphere has changed. Did you notice it too." Asked Johann Sigismund.

"I did. However we shouldn't make any rash decisions right now. Even though the emperor has openly showed his dissatisfaction with the current situation in the empire. I doubt, that he would actually dare move against us. Since that would risk another religious war in the empire and this is surely not in his interests. Unless he wanted to establish a more absolute rule." Answered Johann George.

"Things are changing George. The emperor has become bold his stand towards Protestantism is all to clear. I fear, that the pope might give him some dumb ideas." said Sigismund.

"I know. According to rumors the emperor still hasn't let go of the old fool in Rome. One could say the pope has infested his mind and corrupted him." Said George.

"That is, if our esteemed emperor even had the capability of thinking for himself." Said Sigismund and both chuckled. "But its is still worrying me. The emperor has nearly finished rooting out the reformation in his realm and he might come for us soon." Said Sigismund.

"You seem to be sure, that the coming year might become hard, but what do you suggest an alliance. We already have the union so there are few things to worry about. Ah there is something which I forgot to talk to you about. I received a letter from Prague. The Bohemians want talks, but I'm not yet sure how to answer." Said George.

"I got a letter from Prague too. Though considering the message it contained, I think we should be a bit more careful. The Bohemian king seems to dislike the current emperor a lot. Which in it self is fully understandable, but the wording of the message made me doubt the real reason. He mentioned rectifying the mistake made in the imperial election." Whispered Sigismund to George.

"It seems you got the same message as I did. Regarding the emperor I agree, that it might have been a mistake, but we cannot move until the emperor makes gives us a reason to do so. But then again I'm still unsure about the intentions of Prague. It seems to me like someone in Prague is rather ambitious, if you understand what I mean. One might think he had plans to rebel against the emperor and crown himself." Said George.

"But what if he didn't? Anyway I intend to send my son as an official representative to Prague to see what this is all about. What will you do?" Asked Sigismund.

"I might attend it myself, but we have to be cautious. We shouldn't give the Liga unnecessary material for their propaganda. But be assured even, if the talks aren't in our interest the Union is still the second strongest force in the empire and the emperor wont dare mess with us." Said George.

Thus ended the conversation and the two lords returned to the Augustus castle enjoying a rich banquet and all the meat and wine one could ask for.
Last edited by Empire of Techkotal on Thu Jul 21, 2022 12:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Posts: 6251
Founded: Feb 02, 2015
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Khasinkonia » Wed Jul 20, 2022 10:52 pm

Bróirich in Galáthé | Kingdom of the Gauls

Cenáv, The Archking’s Palace
April 1618

Several rays of sunshine danced through the leaves outside of a bedroom window. On any normal day, the inhabitant of this room would have long awoken, but today the servants were in agreement — if the Archking still slept, let the man lie. The room did not suggest itself to be that of a king, not one of any respectable realm, anyway. Perhaps a well-off merchant, but little more. Luchsorich was a notorious stoic in the court. He demanded little of the palace staff, for he dressed himself, bathed himself, and would even, on occasion, make his way to the kitchen rather than summoning a snack. His bedroom reflected this fact, for his bedroom lacked much appearance of luxury. The covers were soft, the comforters were warm, and his desk was wide, but these were not particularly exceptional.

As a ray of sunlight crossed peacefully closed eyes, thick grey eyebrows began to furrow. The old man in the covers let out a sigh, and sat up for a moment. As he rubbed his eyes, he looked to the window. He had slept late. With a sudden jolt of energy, he began to move faster, as though he was late for an appointment.

Out past the window, in the early morning’s sun, the palace gardens were being tended to with the utmost care. Among those pruning the plants and planting seeds was a stout little woman dressed more nicely than those around her. Head Druidess Cenrath was the youngest on the council, and newest. This youthful energy had impressed the Archking in particular. The Druidess had awoken with the staff, before the first light of morning peaked past. After walking the streets and speaking to a baker, she had made her way to the gardens, and had taken to personally inspecting the pear trees.

The morning calm was interrupted by a deep laugh.

“And is your work so easy that you must garden to appear productive?” chuckled the man, who was dressed in priestly garb, “With such time on your hands, perhaps you might join us in the cathedral for the Sixth Hour?”

“But will the psalms bear pears, Your Excellency?” retorted Cenrath.

“Perhaps not pears, but the fruit of the soul they will indeed bear.”

As Cenrath descended the ladder, she continued, “I’ll see you on the Sabbath, but for now I must see to the palace gardens, unless the Good Lord has decided to take up planting seeds for us now!”

As the two Head Druids made jest at one another, the sun rose further. Within the palace walls, the scent of freshly baked bread permeated the halls. At his seat upon the dais, all alone, the Archking sat and ate a light meal of bread and dried fruits. As he neared the end of his meal, two men approached him, and sat on opposite sides of him. One was a short, bespectacled man perhaps 60 years of age, with jet black hair pulled tightly into a bun and a stern expression on his face, while the other was an athletic fellow, bearing long, free locks of red hair, and a bit of dark stubble across his face.

“Good morning, your highness,” said the shorter man.

“Good day,” said the other.

Wiping clean his grey moustache, Luchsorich sat back in his chair, “Is it that I have woken so late, or had you both woken so early that you’ve already eaten?”

“A bit of both, I imagine,” said the short man.

“Perhaps so, Ianwaru,” agreed Luchsorich, “But while I would expect perhaps Sáeth to come and chat, what brings you and Arióthal before me together, and unaccompanied by anyone else?”

Arióthal, the taller man, leaned forward on one elbow, and laid a document on the table.

“Since last night, we’ve been trying to figure this puzzle out. It looks like, from these reports, the road repairs in Narvu have been under budget, but we don’t know what’s happened to the unused funds. Having been down there this winter, I saw the work proceeding normally, so I’m inclined to think it’s just a clerical error, or maybe someone treated themselves to a feast for a job well—”

“I think we need to send down someone to double-check,” interrupted Ianwaru, “And to scold them for not reporting exactly what they did with the surplus.”

Ianwaru placed his pointer-finger firmly on the table as he leaned forward.

“I don’t care whether it’s corruption skimming the funds or workers slacking after finishing early; I want to know where that money is, when it was spent, and why they didn’t write it down.”

“To be clear,” Arióthal responded, “I don’t think we should leave it be. I think we just tentatively cut their budget to what they spent, and give it a look as usual. If we send someone down, we’re taking them away from somewhere else, and sending someone specifically over the matter is a bit of an overreaction. Mutual trust is as important as accountability, and showing up randomly might come off as if we don’t trust them.”

Ianwaru began to shake his head and was about to speak, but was cut off by Luchsorich.

“I see both points here, but before we continue further, why is this matter not being discussed with Head Druidess Gwesucha? Is her job not to resolve disputes?”

Ianwaru looked to Arióthal, rubbed his nose, and then spoke after a moment of silence.

“Well, you surely know she is rarely awake this early. But we already discussed this with her, anyway. She agreed more with me than she did Arióthal, but I think I speak for both of us when I say that she was noncommittal about it.”

Luchsorich nodded. There was silence for a moment, and the two Head Druids looked awkwardly at one another as the Archking finished his breakfast.

“Ianwaru, have someone write a message with your concerns. Run it past Gwesucha and Arióthal, to make sure it doesn’t come off as overly harsh. If you don’t get a satisfactory answer in due time, then we can consider actually sending a new inspector. No need to immediately use the Consideration of Gold’s resources on something that might be easily explained, right?”

Arióthal nodded and darted his eyes from Ianwaru to Luchsorich, as if beckoning Ianwaru to agree. Ianwaru sucked in his lips and frowned for a second, bobbing his head from side to side as if weighing his options.

“Very well,” he agreed with a sigh, and then stood from his seat, “I suppose this is a sensible compromise.” Looking to Arióthal, he continued, “Expect my draft to cross your eyes by this evening.”

Without another word, Ianwaru departed.

“Thank you; I’ll leave you to work,” Arióthal said. Luchsorich gave a nod of approval, and the two departed as a servant came to clean up from the Archking’s breakfast.

From breakfast, Luchsorich soon retreated to his favourite part of the palace grounds — the gardens. Surrounded by nature, he would spend the morning sitting and contemplating the matters compiled for him by assistants to the various Head Druids. These Royal Affairs were often a bit dull, so during the warmer months, he preferred to brighten it with the pleasant atmospheres cultivated in his favourite spots. After perhaps an hour, someone foreign to the gardens entered.

“Your Highness!” a male voice beckoned. The Archking looked up from his Affairs, and acknowledged the presence.

“My name is Shiúmar Lóvech. I come on behalf of the Baker’s Guild, and wish to petition you to hear a matter regarding the preparations for the feast on Resurrection Sunday.”


“Those of us who will be preparing the meal for the official celebration wish to incorporate some sugar into the sweets, but have found that funds run tight. Would it be possible to have our allowance expanded slightly to accommodate this expense? We feel that a small decadence is worthwhile for the Feast.”

With little further consideration, the Archking responded, “I see no issue with the matter. You have my tentative approval. See to it that you bring this to the attention of the Head Druids of the Consideration of Gold and the Consideration of Celebration respectively and discuss the specifics of this matter with them, to ensure this will not be unduly burdensome to the treasury or accidentally inflammatory to the Church. Assuming there are no issues, I will eagerly await the fruits of your work.”

“Thank you, Your Highness,” the baker conceded with a bow.

With a languid gesture, Luchsorich bid the man farewell. He stared off into the distance for a moment and then returned to his reading.

Outside of Durchóthr (Reims), the estate of the King of Rém
April 1618

“I must admit that your men never cease to impress me, Arothál,” said Corenthn as he cast off his cloak after the morning’s inspection. Though the man had an imposing stature, with vast shoulders and a body as stocky as an ox, his deep laugh was warm and friendly, “Hah, if I had things my way, perhaps most of my generals would be from Rém!”

“I appreciate your confidence, but really, it would be unfair to say it’s all me,” the thin man said. Arothál was by no means a small man, but even as he was the same height as Corenthn, he lacked the same presence, save for his magnificent voice.

“Many other kings lack the asset I have when it comes to training. I always tell you this; all we need to do is make sure the boys are well fed, dressed well, and then I march them out to the border and point through the thickets. Not everyone has a border with such rapacious cockerels. If you can swear and curse a Frank, and do so loudly, then I think anyone could do it. These are young men we’re talking about — they do half the job on their own once you’ve roused them.”

Arothál smacked the table with his hand, “Once they’re ready for a fight, then you can teach them how to do it right.”

Corenthn laughed once again, “You humble bastard! You’ve given me good troops for what, twelve years now? Eighteen? Long enough that a fool could see a pattern. But if you want criticism so bad, so be it.”

Corenthn’s face grew stern quite suddenly, “There’s one thing your boys can’t do well. They don’t march properly; well, they don’t march fast enough, anyway. I want to see better footwork so they can keep up with the boys from, say, Lémvich. They can march and run with the best of them. If you want, I’ll send for someone to come and they can help coach you and your boys. That’s the only area for improvement I can see, by Belen’s beard.”

Arothál smiled and coughed, “That said, I’m famished. How about calling the drills good enough for now, and resuming after we’ve had a hearty meal?”

Arothál leaned closer to Corenthn.

“I went out hunting the other day, and my chef put together these delightful meat pies. I won’t tattle if you won’t.”

Corenthn smirked, “You old dog, of course I’ll have some! Do your boys know?”

“Some of the ones I like and can be sure aren’t going to snitch or go about bragging in front of that old killjoy in the city. They’ll make for nice conversation as we dine. The others will eat just fine, though. Don’t you start worrying about me having favourites now!”

Luídhan (Lyon), Luídhan School of Druidry and Statecraft
April 1618

“...and so, under the given parameters for agricultural production, what could this farmer expect to pay in taxes?”

The room was completely silent, until the unkempt man standing at the podium let out a sigh, and pointed at a young boy in the second row.

“Amíl, what is our result?”

After a moment of hesitation, the boy hesitantly spoke, “Two gold, eight s—”

“No! No!” exclaimed the professor, “Raise your hand if you think you can provide me with an answer!”

Only one student raised their hand.

“Fávrich, what do you say?” the professor said,

“Actually, I have a question,” the student began. The professor raised an eyebrow, but gave a nod, indicating permission to proceed.

“Professor Iancindh, is this harvest occurring during a time of famine?”

“No, it is not.”

“Then…we just need the area of the land, right?”

“Yes. Students, remember this! You have access to the library, and should make use of it to review. We have several copies of the tax code available, and I expect you to organise yourselves into groups to review it after dinner. Your task this week is to summarise the code for rural land tax, with a formula and the basic rules.”

Before Iancindh could dismiss the class, he was interrupted by a knock at the door frame.

“Professor, I trust I am not intruding?” came a flowery, bright voice. In the doorway stood a well-dressed woman of average height and a bit on the stouter side, with most of her curly black hair up in a pristine, white bonnet.

Professor Iancindh’s head snapped to look at the new figure. His stern scowl suddenly faded as he took note of the figure.

“I’m Head Druidess Lúiswa,” she began as she entered the room and turned towards the students, “I will not keep any of you from your lunch for long, but I need your ears for a few minutes. I have come here to inspect this class, and will be sitting in on the next lesson. However, of importance now are three questions that I have for each and every one of you. I hope you will provide them with due consideration, as they are essential to my evaluation. Be prepared to write them down, now. My assistants and I will be interviewing you all after dinner. Ask yourselves: Firstly, why are you in the Consideration of Gold? If you had no choice in the matter, then substitute this question by asking yourself why you should continue to pursue this line of study. Secondly, what do you believe your area of interest to be? What is it, within this discipline that fascinates you most? And finally, where do you believe you might find yourself in, perhaps twenty years? I would like you all to consider these questions with the utmost care. Thank you all for listening so politely.”

She looked back at the professor, who promptly dismissed the class. As students filed out from the room, Lúiswa clasped her hands together.

“Professor Iancindh, was it? Would you be so kind as to join me for lunch? I would like to have an assistant of mine pick your brain.”

Cenáv, The Archking’s Palace
August 1618

It was not often that the highest echelons of the Gaulish government sat together for a meal, for they all kept quite busy with the affairs most important to them. For his part, Luchsorich only bade Gwesucha to summon everyone when he felt the opinions of all were needed. Summons for the Council often took time, as, other than certain holidays, only part of the Council was present in Cenáv.

In a private room, gathered at a round table, the Archking and the Council sat. The food and drink was laid out, and all but a few necessary and trustworthy servants were ordered out.

“Friends, I trust you have all had a chance to read the Edict of Insurance, the one by the Austrian King?” began Luchsorich. He took a beat and looked to ensure everyone had done so. He leaned forward, putting one elbow on the table.

“Before I express my thoughts, given the ecumenical matter at hand, do you have any initial opinion, Sáeth?”

“On a personal note, as a good Catholic and an ordained minister of the Church, I couldn’t express anything but my genuine approval,” Sáeth started. He shot a glance at Corenthn, who had let out a small puff of air from his nose. “As a Gaul, I have to be a bit more thorough, of course. Taking for granted, Your Highness, that we are not fond of the Austrians on the best of days, I do think this is an important development. I may have little hand in our foreign relations, but I think expressing our public approval of the edict could be worthwhile. I know the Pope’s approval doesn’t officially matter that much to anyone else in this room. It does, however, matter to others, the Austrian King being one of them. It’s not as if there’s much Church land here to seize, so I think approving of the edict publicly would have little actual cost to us. If we commend the Austrians for the edict, perhaps we could thaw relations, maybe even open a dialogue?”

Luchsorich nodded in approval.

“That’s along the lines I had envisioned. Now, I don’t know how receptive Ferdinand will be to any overtures we might provide, but our interests aren’t exactly secret either. I don’t know that we could convince him to sacrifice any proper imperial land, but we have to consider our interests in Flanders, as well. I have my reservations about conflict there, but perhaps, if we make the first step, we could compromise with him for a start, and come out on the other end with something to show for it.”

An apprehensive expression grew on Ianwaru’s face.

“I know the papacy isn’t exactly a prominent landowner here,” he began, “But if we express approval for this, we’re going to put ourselves in a difficult position if we want to exercise any sort of rights over clergy lands in the future. I’m going to be as plain as I can, so do excuse my Frankish, but I think the tithe is bullshit. It’s bullshit, plain and simple.”

Sáeth glared at Ianwaru, while Corenthn nodded in approval.

“If we could, I’d love to put a stop to the whole tithe and go further to tax clergy property like any other. I know that’s not an option, but the ultimate point here, to me, is that if Gaul were to express approval publicly for the Edict of Insurance, we’re putting ourselves or someone who comes after us in a difficult position—and the Consideration of Gold needs another barrier to budget balancing like I need gout.”

“Duly noted,” Gwesucha conceded, “Corenthn, anything further we should consider?”

“In my ideal world, we’d end this conversation by going out, putting the heads of the lot of them on pikes, and call it done,” Corenthn stated, “But I know that’s not realistic. I don’t do diplomacy, but I can tell you now that it’s my opinion that the army can back whichever route Gaul takes.”

As the others nodded, Gwesucha responded, “So with all this in mind, what if we take a conservative route first? Perhaps some personal diplomacy is in order. I think we should privately express approval for the edict, and then discuss meeting with Ferdinand himself to discuss this matter. Now, I see two options if we choose to do this, which I personally strongly recommend. Either I, His Highness, or a representative can go to Vienna and discuss this matter, or we can invite them here. In Vienna, anyone who goes can more likely get a bit more information out of them. Hosting someone here, however, would have the benefit of perhaps endearing the Austrians to us, and them coming here could be treated as a symbolic gesture. This, of course, relies on their agreement, which I imagine they may be hesitant to do.”

“And so?” asked Luchsorich.

“In my opinion, the most prudent option would be to express our approval privately, and see to a visit to Vienna. Let’s keep our choices as open as possible.”

Luchsorich stroked his chin for a moment, and then nodded.

“That’s sensible. Barring any major objections, Gwesucha, I would like you to personally see to the matter.” A moment of silence passed, and Luchsorich cleared his throat. “While I have you all here, let us discuss Andalusia. I intend to visit Andalusia as a gesture of friendship, but before I correspond with them on this. Most importantly, I want to of course ensure that there are no major concerns, but I would also like to know if any among you have specific matters that you would like me to discuss with the Caliph should this come to pass.”

It seemed that the Archking had barely finished speaking when Lúiswa excitedly smacked the table with both hands, leaning forth eagerly.

“You simply must let me come; I insist! The scholars of Andalusia—the libraries and universities—the Consideration of Understanding can only benefit from befriending and engaging in exchange of knowledge with them.”

A moment of awkward silence was broken by a cough.

“Anyway, I think there’s something more practically important to discuss. Trade. I know we frown upon it, but Andalusia could be a compelling alternative to Dutch ports. Perhaps you could discuss this with the Caliph and ask him if he would be interested in the incentivisation of trade with Andalusia over other competitors…”

Unto the Esteemed Caliph, His Majesty, the Ruler of Al-Andalus and Successor to Muhammed,
Archking Luchsorich Brenn of the Carnath, Highest King of the Gauls, Protector of Cenáv and Host to the Great Synod sends his regards

    May peace be upon you, and may your trees bear fruit.

    I wish to address you on a matter of importance, and it is my hope that you might find it amenable. Despite our self-evident differences in faith and culture, my court and I believe it to be in the interest of Gaul and Andalusia that we might find common ground. I hope to visit Andalusia with an advisor of mine as a gesture of goodwill and so that we might discuss a number of matters on a more personal level, and would be most delighted if it would please you to host us. In the interest of keeping this message respectful with regards to your time, I will refrain from further pleasantries and frankly state that which I would like to speak with you on.

    Firstly, I am uncertain of how much you know of the affairs of Christendom, but there is an ongoing issue of schism within the churches to the north, which brings wind of instability. We wish to discuss this matter further with you, and ensure that the Pyrenees might be calm in these turbulent times. Secondly, regarding economic matters, I would like to express interest in facilitating trade between Andalusia and Gaul. Many of the great ports of Christendom have never been quite right by us, and so perhaps some arrangement to acquire luxuries via Andalusian merchants rather than Dutch, Hanseatic, and so on might be mutually beneficial.

    Thirdly, my advisor, Head Druidess of the Consideration of Understanding, Lúiswa Saghru of the Trichas, has expressed interest in meeting with some scholars and converse on matters of science, history, and so on, with intent on potentially facilitating more formal scholarly exchanges between the scholars of our nations. I must concede, I know little of Islamic thought regarding women in academia, but I know that much of Christendom is not so friendly to the notion. As fellow People of the Book, I imagine it might be the same for you. If it should happen that her attendance is not acceptable, I will see to it that a male substitute is found.

I shall sincerely anticipate your hospitality, and will be pleased to bring you samplings from Gaul. Gallantly yours,
Archking Luchsorich Brenn of the Carnath, Highest King of the Gauls, Protector of Cenáv and Host to the Great Synod

Unto the Respected Holy Roman Emperor, His Royal Majesty, King of Austria and Bavaria,
Archking Luchsorich Brenn of the Carnath, Highest King of the Gauls, Protector of Cenáv and Host to the Great Synod sends his regards

    I have read your Edict of Insurance and find it quite sensible, and wish first and foremost to personally laud you for your protection of Catholicism against Protestant avarice. In acknowledgement of our historically rather limited common ground, I wish to use this as an opportunity to reach out to you and your people and perhaps foster better relations between us. Although I must remain honest with regards to our interests to the west of the Rhine, I believe it is best for us to consider open dialogue over bloodshed, as there exist threats that conflict between our nations might leave us susceptible to.

    Therefore, in the interest of Catholic brotherhood first, and mutual benefit second, I would like to send Head Druidess of the Consideration of Fairness and Friendship, Conductor of the Head Druid Council Gwesucha Cathrich of the Namnath to Vienna to personally attend your court and discuss these matters further with Your Highness. It is my hope that we, as leaders of important lands, might find ways to address the issues of the day with an approach that will please all, though I understand how this notion may sound naive. Regardless, I wish to express this desire so that we might attempt to find common ground and prevent further fragmentation of the Christian faith.

I eagerly await your response. Gallantly yours,
Archking Luchsorich Brenn of the Carnath, Highest King of the Gauls, Protector of Cenáv and Host to the Great Synod

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The National Dominion of Hungary
Posts: 2293
Founded: May 31, 2012
Iron Fist Consumerists

Postby The National Dominion of Hungary » Thu Jul 21, 2022 4:15 am

Kingdom of Rus - Королевство Русь


I send greetings of peace to his most Royal Highness Gustav II Adolf of the honorable House Vasa in the name of His Majesty King Vsevolod of House Rurikovich-Moskovsky, seventh of his name, lord of all the Rus.

My liege sends his well wishes to the men and women of Norden, praying for their health, their prosperity and good fortune. It is the wish of my King to send an embassy to Norden so that the matters of trade can be discussed between our two most noble realms, the trading prowess of Nordern's skilled merchants is already well known in the lands of the Rus, caravans come to Novgorod, ships to Archangelsk, we hope we may find a way for our traders to do even greater business between each other in the future, with the blessing of the Crown of Norden and the Crown of Rus. With this embassy, it is the wish of my lord to settle any lingering bad blood between our realms as well. The men of Norden and the men of Rus have come to blows in the past, it is our hope that we may move forward from the times of war between our forefathers and move forward in peace.

Signed: Pavel Rumyantsev of Novgorod, most honorable Dyak of His Majesty's Ambassadorial Prikaz.


I send greetings of peace you most Imperial Majesty, Mikhael of the great and most honorable House Palaiologos, may our Heavenly Father hear my prayers and bless you, your great House and the people of Rome.

I am deeply grateful for your well-wishes and extend my most sincere gratitude, also in the name of my Queen and my People, highborn and lowborn alike. Your servants do indeed speak the truth, the Tartars who once assailed my people with sword, fire and chains alike are declining. With a but a few mighty blows, all that shall remain of this heathen scourge that once reaved and raided through the lands of good, faithful Christians shall be consigned to the pages of the historical chronicles for the scholars of future generations to read of. Never again to threaten the homeland of the Rus or any other. Indeed, I hope to complete the great work that my most honorable forebear, King Ivan VI'th started when he took the host of the Rus and laid the Tartars of Kazan low, driving them before him across the Volga. And I would appreciate any aid that your highness would be willing to extend.

Your mighty navy would be a most welcome sight, especially if they were to raid the coast, or, more importantly help bring supplies to my men as our first primary goal is to besiege and mightily conquer the fortresses of Perekop and Chondar. Those lands are lean, with little opportunities to forage. Thus grain from Rome would be of the utmost aid for the campaign. Of course, your Imperial Majesty need not worry for the Greeks of Black Sea coasts, we have no quarrel with our Orthodox brothers in Christ. The Rus were once a benighted race worshipping evil heathen spirits, it was the noble Greeks who took pity on us and showed our ancestors the error of their evil heathen ways and saved their souls from eternal torment. And, if my hosts do manage to crush the Tartars fully and take Kaffa itself, I would most surely ask for Roman aid in the restoration of it's ports and shipyards.

Side by side, let us gloriously conquer the last of what remains of the aberrant Khanates.

Signed by me, His Majesty Vsevolod of House Rurikovich-Moskovsky, seventh of his name. King of all the Rus, Grand Prince of Muscovy, Kiev and Novgorod, Shield of the Volga.

Last edited by The National Dominion of Hungary on Thu Jul 21, 2022 4:16 am, edited 1 time in total.

Plotek i medialnych bredni nie daj sobie wmówić,
Codziennie się rozwijaj i nie daj się ogłupić,
Atakowi propagandy stawiaj czoło dzielnie,
Nie daj sobą sterować i myśl samodzielnie.

Mass Effect Andromeda is a solid 7/10. Deal with it.

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Great Confederacy of Commonwealth States
Postmaster of the Fleet
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Founded: Feb 20, 2012
Democratic Socialists

Postby Great Confederacy of Commonwealth States » Fri Jul 22, 2022 12:46 pm

10 Muharram
1027 H

“The light of Baba Ashur!” the children exclaimed as the door began to creak, prompted by their excitement to shout even before the door was properly opened. As Awaatif looked down, she was presented with a large burlap sack which as many children tried to hold at once, their shuffling nearly causing them to trip over one another. Their eyes glimmered in the light of the many candles and lanterns burning in the street, nearly melting Awaatif’s heart.

“My my, how splendid you all look!” she remarked. The children traditionally wore their best clothing for Ashura, and the bright colours and the sheen of their ornate thread complemented the little lights dancing in their eyes. From behind her, Awaatif procured a large wooden bowl filled with hard candy, from which she procured one, carefully dropping it in the bag.

“There you go!” she said, with a theatrically oblivious smile. The children’s faces at once turned from anticipatory glee to shock, and then to disappointment, as the bag was lowered. However, well-raised as they were, they managed with little enthusiasm to bring out a “Thank you, Umm Fatima”

Awaatif smiled in thoughtful pretence.

“Alright, because you are being so polite” she said, before unloading the entire bowl into their burlap sack. The expression from the children went from resignation back to glee.

“Thank you, Umm Fatima!” they repeated, this time more genuinely, before running off to the next house. From behind them, Maisara tried to urge caution, but they were long gone by the time she could formulate her warning. She shook her head, leaning against the doorpost as she watched the children knock on the next door.

“You spoil them, Awaatif” she said, grinning broadly. Awaatif shook her head.

“It’s only Ashura once, Maisara” she replied. “… per year”

“I would call you a treasure if it wouldn’t fuel your ego so much” Maisara answered in turn. Awaatif made a curtsy with mock humility.

“Thank you, Umm Latifa” said she, placing the bowl on the floor next to her. She sighed, her face turning dour in earnest. “I find it takes my mind off Salwar… And Saleh too, being completely honest”

Salwar al-Salman, her husband, was the captain of an Indiaman, a ship headed around the Glorious Cape to the lands of India and beyond. The journey was long and perilous, according to Salwar even more dangerous than the transatlantic voyage. The winds in the Indian ocean were strange and fluctuated. The goods that could be bought there were valuable beyond belief, however, and a single shipload of pepper was enough for Salwar to retire. Salwar had been away for eight months already, half-way according to his initial calculations. Letters too took ages to get back, though she faster messaging vessels at least did travel the cape route in six months.

Saleh was another matter. The young hot-head, not 19 years of age, had wanted to make a name for himself on his own, in a field where his father’s name would not have aided him. Thus, he had joined a talith, where he now served as a sergeant. Saleh was stationed in Grenada, which was far away from any fighting, but there was always a war brewing somewhere, and Awaatif prayed every day that the empire would remain at peace, both for her husband’s and her eldest son’s sake.

Awaatif knew Maisara had similar concerns. Her husband, a devout Berber from Burgos, had gone to the New World in search of glory for the caliph and the Ummah, with her two eldest sons in tow. Days like Ashurah provided some relief, both for themselves and their children, who had to grow up part of their life without a father. It was the drawback of living your life in the largest empire in the world, as part of the largest community in the world. The sun never set on the Ummah. But they both benefited, of course, which is why they counted their blessings. The banking houses of Cordoba knew that to lend money to them was so secure as to not be riba.

“It is good to know that, wherever they are in the world, our loved ones are also partaking in Ashura” Maisara said wistfully. “I just hope they have proper couscous in Mexica…”

10 Muharram
1027 H
Islamadina, Lake Texcoco

“I don’t know if I will ever get used to cornmeal couscous” said Amruc Salahuddin, governor of Islamadina. From the top of the Red and Blue Mosque, they could oversee almost all of the former Aztec capital; straight streets heading in every direction alongside parallel canals. The sun had long ago gone down, but the whole city was bathed in lights, and even this far above it all, the laughter and revelry could be heard. Long processions of lights moved from the living quarters to cemeteries, where the inhabitants of Islamadina would honour and remember the dead; a mix of Aztec dead worship and the Ashura traditions of their Berber invaders, slowly having come together. Those who still clung to the old ways remained at home, their dead buried beneath their own floorboards in contravention of Islamic law, but as they paid jizya, the authorities never minded.

“That’s because you keep thinking of it as couscous, but made from corn. Just accept that it’s its own thing” answered Muthanna. The sultan of Mexica was in many ways the opposite to Amruc; the latter a military figure born on the Second Peninsula (commonly known as an Al-Jazira), who had come across the sea to make a career for himself, the former of mixed heritage, his family having lived here for a hundred generations. Muthanna could trace his line back to Moctezuma II, who had taken the name Muthanna al-Mexica upon his conversion and utterance of the shahada. In accordance with the Administrative Law adopted by the caliph, the Aztec empire had been divided up into smaller sultanates, but the largest and most populous of them remained Mexica, with Islamadina as the new name for its ancient capital.

It had been 15 years since Amruc first set foot on New World soil. Arriving on Cuba in 1012, still young and full of what he would later describe as bloodlust, he envisioned himself as a warrior come to expand the bounds of Empire and the ummah. One disastrous expedition to Minmaq, the southernmost top of North America, convinced him that was not for him, and over the years he had come to prove himself a far more capable logistician than a swordsman. His violent excursion having caused a full-flown rebellion among the converted Calusa people, which had to be violently put down, he was further discovered that there was very little in this new land that was worthy of conquest, or at least which could not be more durably gained through trade.

“All in all” Muthanna continued, “I feel that on the whole, you have learned much from us, perhaps more than we have learned from you”

The Berber general leaned forward to take some more bread. The party sat around a multitude of bowls, all filled with both local delicacies and foreign produce, indicating the wealth of the House of al-Mexica. As he sat back down, his eyebrows curled.

“Who are ‘you’, and who are ‘we’ in this paradigm?” he questioned. The sultan nodded.

“Always answering with a question, would you not rather make a philosopher than a warrior?” asked the sultan. Amruc shook his head.

“You have not answered, your excellency” he pointed out. “And I feel that asking questions is the task of both warlords and scholars”

“I mean…” the sultan continued “… us as in, the Mexica. And you as in the al-Jazira, people of the Peninsula.

“My ancestors are from the Maghreb, your excellency”

“And mine are from the North beyond the mountains. But we do not remember that home, much like you don’t remember the Maghreb”

“I am happy to concede” Amruc nodded “However, your excellency, the Quran teaches us that no Arab is superior to a non-Arab, no colored person to a white person, or a white person to a coloured person…”

“Except by piety. The exact words of the Prophet, peace be unto him” The sultan replied. He leaned forward towards Amruc. “But you must admit: the Prophet, peace be unto him, does distinguish between them. There is such a thing as an Arab, or a non-Arab. Nowhere does the Prophet, peace be unto him, say that there is no such thing as an Arab”

Amruc smiled. The discussion of matters of philosophy felt more free here than anywhere in the world. The New World had a way of breeding practicality, something that kept at bay the purely hypothetical discussions that were happening across the Atlantic. Whenever two men spoke here, they were trying to learn a lesson that would serve them well in the future. There was very little idle chat, and Amruc appreciated than in the sultan, who was three times cleverer than he ever let on.

“The Mexica have given you anti-inflammatory medicine, engineering, astronomy, astrology… Of course, you have given us, in return, steel, gunpowder, modern ship designs. But both of us were made better by our chance meeting”

“Still you speak of us and them, my lord” interjected Amruc. “But you are of the Ummah. Surely you cannot lay claim to the inventions of heathens?”

“They were my ancestors as much as Aadam was, and I learn as much from them as I do from the Hadith. Our differences still exist, Amruc, as much as the al-Jazira wish we would consider ourselves Arabs. The accent vanished, but not our spirit. And likewise, do the children of Cordoba not play the game of Hoops and Balls? Have they become Mexica, as I have become Arab? Or not?”

“Or Berber” Amruc added. Applying the logic to himself, he would never call himself Andalusian. But he was born in Andalusia, and raised there, and had never even visited Maghreb, not even on his Hajj. If he could be Berber without ever visiting Africa, then the Mexica could be Mexica, even though they spoke Arabic. He was happy enough that there were plenty of Berber influences in his dialect, which was not always easy to understand for Andalusians.

“The point being…” the sultan explained “that we both became more than the sum of our parts when we did not fight, but cooperated. Even though that means that you, my friend, have to share your wealth with us, and that you have to eat corn couscous”

Amruc smiled.

“Well, your excellency, as long as you gift me your hospitality, I will continue to enjoy your corn couscous on Ashurah”

13 Shaban
1027 H
Chancery of Cordoba

Once all the men had gathered, Mishaari al-Mahmud nodded to the scribe sitting between one of the walls of the octagonal room at his back and the low writing table at his front. The scribe started note-taking, furiously moving his quill from right to left across the paper. Al-Mahmud scraped his throat and coughed, a signal for those present that their meeting was about to begin. The table was octagonal too, and there was only one space left open. This meeting had attracted a lot of attention, and various department of the Andalusian government had insisted on their presence.

“Thank you all, brothers, for joining me and arriving on time”

The fact that al-Mahmud lead the proceedings was demanded by tradition, but he could not help but feel slightly out of his depth. The meeting had been called by the Chancery, and he was one of the secretaries to the Caliph. The day-to-day handling of the Chancery fell under the jurisdiction of the Hajib, but customs demanded that he, as the highest-ranking member of government, presided over the meeting. This irked not only himself, but also Saadiq al-Daoud el-Hashmi, the deputy head of the Chancery under the Chancery Minister, because someone else was taking charge in his own building. Yet, the particulars of what they wanted to discuss demanded the Caliph be represented, and as was often the case, whenever al-Mahmud attended any meeting, he automatically enjoyed the highest precedence.

“As I understand it, we have received a high-level communication from Gaul. A translated copy has been provided to you” al-Mahmud said, gesturing at the papers in front of each of the delegates. Of course, al-Daoud el-Hashmi had both the original and a translation of his own. “As I understand it” the secretary continued “the Archking wishes an audience with the Successor of the Believers”

“Correct, your excellency, though a more accurate translation might be that the Archking wishes to ‘visit’ the Caliph, and discuss matters with him. Though we too understand this to be a request for an audience” answered al-Daoud el-Hasmi. Al-Mahmud did his best not to let his eyes roll out of his sockets for that particular interjection. Instead, he nodded, and answered with a question of his own.

“How would you compare the Archking to someone within our own constitutionality, brother el-Hasmi?”

The deputy head fell silent for a moment, then looked to Sahl el-Rahmani. The pre-eminent authority on Gaul, he had travelled the lands when he was younger and now lectured at the university of Cordoba. More importantly, as a scholar, he fell under the jurisdiction of the Caliph, and as such, fell on al-Mahmud’s side of the governmental divide.

“Yes, Mullah, enlighten us, please” asked al-Mahmud. The elderly scholar had a long face thinned by age and eyes that never quite met your own, and his raspy voice made him seem perpetually short of breath, but he never uttered an ‘uhm’ or ‘ah’, and while his voice was soft and slow, he never repeated himself.

“The Archking is best compared to our Hajib: a leader of the military and the chief conductor of foreign affairs. However, he is ahead in precedence to the Conductor of the Head Druid Synod, the spiritual leader of the country and its chief scholar, comparable perhaps in function to the Successor of the Believers”

“Not unlike northerners to put matters of the sword ahead of scholarship and understanding” came a comment from Farajallah el-Masih. El-Masih was the youngest man present, but well-known for his writings on Islamic morality and a renowned philosopher at only 40. He was deputy to the department of the ministry for public morality that dealt with the practicalities of foreign visitors, especially at universities and dockyards. In fact, over the two years in his position, Farajallah had more and more taken on some of the roles of the Chancery, maintaining a network of contacts throughout the maritime and scholarly worlds, making it one of the few areas where the Hajib was being supplanted by the Caliph.

“The chancery sees this as an opportunity to strengthen our ties with other European powers” came the expected response by Saadiq al-Daoud el-Hashmi. Al-Mahmud did not have to look at Aayid al-Abdallah, the Chancery attaché to the army, to see he was nodding in agreement. It was well-known that in the grand strategy of the Chancery, Gaul was seen as the cork that held Andalusia back from engaging in European politics, or projecting force. They viewed an alliance with Gaul as beneficial, since it would allow the army to march into the heart of Europe. This was, expectedly, what el-Masih tried to avoid at all costs. To him, the continued pacifism of Andalusia was a boon, which made them look unoffensive in the eyes of Europeans and which made them target each other, instead of Muslims, for persecution.

“I wonder what opportunity the chancery sees in this” el-Masih replied. “Whatever worldly power the Gauls possess, their views on religion and philosophy are backward and stuck in the days before the Prophet, peace be upon him. Our scholars return from Gaul with little to show for it”

“This is not entirely accurate” said the old Sahl el-Rahmani. Al-Mahmud raised an eyebrow. El-Rahmani and el-Masih were supposedly a united front against the influence of the Hajib, and therefore Al-Mahmud expected them to follow the same anti-Gallic front. But al-Mahmud was reminded that their government was one of factions within factions, and it was a simplification to think that the servants of the Caliph where always uniform in goal and purpose. The same, he thought, probably applied to the Hajib’s entourage. He eyed both the deputy chancellor and the army attaché, and wondered on what issues they were apart. Perhaps on matters of the navy; the chancery was well-known to favour the fleet over the army. Al-Mahmud was shaken back to attention as the scholar continued.

“The Gauls have remarkable views on the position of women in society, and devout women have made contributions to scholarship. As scholars, these examples can teach us something about truth and the world, and…”

“Truth was given to us when the Prophet, peace be onto him, received it from God, and…” Aayid al-Abdallah tried to intervene, but al-Mahmud silenced him with a gesture.

“Gentlemen, matters of theology aside, please” he said. Whether truth was purely mystical or rather more worldly was a hotly debated issue, and one that could be dragged into any discussion. Those debates needlessly dragged out these meetings, and al-Mahmud made a habit of clamping down on them when they happened. The truth may be divine, he thought, but the divine truth did not move fleets and armies on their own.

“The matter of Lúiswa Saghru is important, however” continued el-Masih. “The presence of a female scholar will offend some, but if her aptitude is attested by Mullah Sahl…”

“It is” said the scholar on Gallic matters steadfastly.

“… then I see no problem. There is no law in Islam banning women from academic pursuits, if she follows the rules of modesty”

There was a smile at the edge of el-Masih’s lips that al-Mahmud could not quite place. There was no law against it, but female universities were uncommon, and women often not allowed in male-dominated institutions, since those doubled as mosques more often than not. Al-Mahmud was unsure whether el-Masih was trying to create the conditions for an international scandal that would further alienate Andalusia from a geographical ally, but he could not exactly oppose their council having come to an agreement this quickly, even through token opposition from el-Masih.

“Then, it is settled” al-Mahmud said. “I will inform our Lord of the decision. al-Daoud el-Hashmi, I expect a concept reply on my desk by the end of the week, with a translation in Gallic, for his consideration”

For the consideration of Archking Luchsorich Brenn of the Carnath, Highest King of the Gauls, Protector of Cenáv and Host to the Great Synod;

May the peace, mercy and blessings of God be upon you. May God treasure you, bless you and your work and preserve your health, your country, your people and your honourable family. We hereby acknowledge the receipt of your letter, dated 4 Shaban 1027 Hijri. We hereby invite you and your Head Druidess to Cordoba to be received as a guest by us personally. You shall be an honoured guest and want in nothing during your stay. Please inform our Chancery in writing what exact proposals you seek to discuss, as to allow us to adequately prepare for your arrival.

With regards to economic matters, we shall also inform our Hajib, or chamberlain, that you will wish to discuss matters of secular governance, and he has agreed to take part in hosting your honoured party during your visit to al-Andalus. We kindly look upon your compliments to the hospitality of our ports. This too shall be a matter to discuss with our Hajib.

Finally, your Head Druidess is welcome to partake in my hospitality as would any other servant of your highness be. She will be asked to adhere to the rules of modesty that are common in our polity, but which will not much differ from the rules of modesty in your own country. We have heard much of Gaul and wish to partake in exchange of knowledge. Our advisor, the Mullah Sahl el-Rahmani, has visited your country before, and he looks forward to your embassy. Preparations for your arrival will be made as soon as you indicate the details of how you plan to make use of our hospitality. An escort too will be provided from the border.

Yours in hospitality, Caliph Abdus Samad al-Kanan, Heir to the Prophet, Peace be unto him, Successor of the Believers, Caliph of the Ummah, Sultan of al-Andalus, Protector of Navarra, Protector of the Faithful, etc. etc. etc.
The name's James. James Usari. Well, my name is not actually James Usari, so don't bother actually looking it up, but it'll do for now.

Lack of a real name means compensation through a real face. My debt is settled

Part-time Kebab tycoon in Glasgow.



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