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/qst/ - Mitsuba Archive


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Anno Domini 1071

The reigning Emperor is dead. Fallen in battle against barbarian invaders. Little is known of whom shall assume the title of Imperator, Basileús kai Autokrátōr Thephaiōn (General, Sovereign and Autocrat of Thephians). But it’s not like the fate of a thousand-year-old Empire matters much to you. It has ebbed and waned for centuries now, but it always retained power and splendour enough to bounce back and stabilize, and you are sure it will continue to do so for a thousand years more. Well, you would assume so had you the faintest inkling of what is happening in the outside world.
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You are as far removed from courtly intrigues, triumphant generals, bitter losers, and endless hallways filled with silk, gold, and the finest of foods, as one can be.

You, are a peasant. A little boy of a woman that had never married. For this, both you and her were ostracized in your village. Growing up was tough, but you managed it by:

>Being stronger, faster, and sneakier than most. If there was a fight to win, you would win it. If there was a fight to lose, you would run, until you could win it. And if there was no victory to gain, you would hide. As the saying goes, practice (and a lot of bruises) makes perfect, and you are sure that when it comes to anything related to combat, you will naturally excel.

>Spending most of your time in the church. There you learnt a rare set of skills – reading and writing. You devoured every book you could get your hands on from philosophy to engineering, and bookkeeping. The local priest thought you well, and many began to have expectations that you too one day shall become one. This had given some rest to both you and your mother. With a mind for academics like yours, you are certain you will be able to comprehend even the most difficult of theories.

>Having a manner of speech able to convince people to help you count your money that you got for selling them. An exaggeration perhaps, but it nevertheless made you loved by the community. Whenever someone tried to bully you, or your mother, there would be other kids there to defend you, or adults to berate the behaviour of your would-be harassers. With such charm and wit, you are certain that no one out there could hate you.

No matter how you chose to spend your childhood, the formative years eventually saw you becoming a fine young man. Excelling in whatever field you naturally found yourself in.

It was in the winter of 1083, your 18th year on this God made world by his grace. Many of your bullies and the people you knew died. Be it disease, famine or general unrest that saw many of your elders taken to war, whilst you were just a child. You survived it all. Unfortunately, your mother had not.

Your arms burned as you buried your mother. The cold of winter biting deep into your bones, the woollen clothes of yours, and the exercise still making you sweat, was all that you could remember besides the words of the priest, asking God for mercy and redemption for your mother’s soul. Only a few came to see her final journey, too much death and suffering had made most dull towards another fallen.

Hours later, you had returned the small hut you called come, bare floor, thatched roof, wattle and daub walls. The hut itself was filled with smoke, the flames however, have long since turned to ash and embers. You will have to ask for some fire from one of your neighbours.
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>>5223725

Still, it is something you will do later, now you only want to rest. The day’s events had drained you. One thing however, haunts your thoughts as you lay on a hay-stuffed bag. Months ago, when your mother’s condition worsened, she had begged you to send out a letter. You had never known that she could write, much less afford a piece of parchment, but you nevertheless scrounged up what coins you could to afford the delivery costs. The rider was headed towards the capital – Myralos – for the price of a silver coin and half-a-dozen eggs, he also took your letter to deliver alongside dozens of others.

Just as you are recalling these old memories, you suddenly hear a knock on the door. Rising from your mat, you head towards the door. Opening it, you cannot help but feel shocked.

In front of you stands a man. Long mail armour, reaching his ankles and hands, thick padded armour going as far as the knees, over the two layers proudly shines lamellar armour. Splint, protecting the forearms and the lowers legs, polished to perfection, gleam alongside the rest of the kit, in the cold winter Sun. Splint armour, loosely hung from the waist and the shoulders, granting the man even more protection. Finally, a spangenhelm, with mail reaching below the person’s neck, blocks any sight of the face. The few things you can clearly see however, are the two swords, a mace, an axe on the belt, whilst a shield is still held in the man’s left hand.

The brilliant white plume atop the helmet, as well as the snow-white cloak on the back clearly informs you of his identity. A member of Scholae Tagmata – the royal guard of the reigning Emperor. A position you, and so many other boys and men across the Empire, at one point in their lives strived to gain.

“Manuel ?” The man’s questioning voice brings you back to reality.

“Yes.” You respond with some trepidation.

His eyes wander you up and down, then, clearly unimpressed, he says. “Gather your things, we are leaving for Myralos. You have five minutes.”

After saying so, the man walks away. With his bulk no longer taking up the entirety of the doorframe, you can see a dozen more men, dressed exactly like him next to mighty looking warhorses whom, just like their riders, are heavily armoured.

You quickly realize – running is not an option.

Closing the door, you quickly start scrambling for your things, which to be fair, are not much. Most things of value that you posses are already on your person. Your clothing, a coin pouch, which is depressingly empty, a dagger for self-defence, and lastly a simple bag with some food in it.

Walking outside, your face is bitten by the cold winds. Approaching the Scholae, you quickly spot a single horse, a peaceful looking mare, without any armour.

“Do you know how to ride ?” You recognize that voice, the same man who greeted you earlier.
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>>5223726

“I can try.” Is all you can muster in reply. Riding horses was a privilege afforded only to the rich, as far as you were concerned.

“Then you will have to learn fast. The mare is placid, but we will be riding at speed. Come, I will show you.” After saying so, the man begins to instruct you on how to mount the horse, stay in the saddle and maintain your balance.

A quick crash course later, you are riding at full speed and are praying for your life, trying to hold on and not be thrown down. You do not want your life to end via being crushed by a horse. Then, you finally get to rest at night, you are given enough food and drink, but the soldiers never spoke to you again, maintaining silence. When morning comes, you once again begin to ride, and once again, you do so in silence. Rinse and repeat. With there being no one to talk to your mind begins to wander about the capital city, the surrounding countryside, even the empire as a whole, finally you think of the emperor.

Andronikos V Angelus “The Usurper”. An unflattering epithet, but a fitting one. Last you heard, when the previous emperor – Leo IV Ducas passed in battle, his son Bacchus was supposed to take the throne. But Andronikos led his army, took the capital, caught Bacchus and then blinded him. Taking the throne for himself. You heard your mother discuss this with some others, but back then you were but a child, so you never payed that much attention, however the years have passed and you have matured. The empire is teetering on the edge, and the unlawful usurpation did not help the situation. Despite all of the flaws of the new Emperor, even you have to admit that from what you heard he had done at least something right, he…
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>>5223727

>had revitalized the immediate countryside. The local populace had boomed, fighting age men working the fields during the autumn and marching off to war during the summer.

>had increased the silver amount in silver coins, ensuring that they were no longer worthless pieces of metal, wherein people had simply preferred to barter before his reign, now most trade is done via the coinage.

>had unilateral familial support. His strong leadership had seen the Angelus family take hold over most important positions in the government, not only that, he had cultivated good relations and created a strong familial bond.

>had taken control of the court. Preventing courtly intrigues from interfering with his reign and decisions. After all, you heard about just how vicious and brutal the competition in the court was. It is no surprise that it was cowed so thoroughly.

>had a great friend. Strategos Isaac, one of the greatest generals of the empire. With a trusted subordinate like that, the emperor could govern in peace, knowing that the army was commanded by one of his greatest supporters.

>had the royal guard restructured, ensuring their loyalty to him and his dynasty. You have no idea for how long the notoriously fickle royal guard will stand fast, but knowing that there are thousands willing to take the blow for you is always reassuring.

>had invited many a learned man, scholar, theologian, and philosopher. With new inventions and innovations, you are sure that the empire’s future is assured. Though how costly it is, still remains to be seen.

>had ensured that the treasury was filled to the brim with gold. Now if he would only actually spend that money.

>had reformed the army. After years of decay and disastrous losses, the reform was long needed. The empire being able to field actual professional armies once more is a welcome and reassuring sight.

>had reformed the navy. The crushing defeat that had seen the previous emperor die also saw the navy die with him. This had left many islands and the coastlines exposed to enemy attack. But with a strong navy once more in place, it should hopefully be cheaper for you to buy some fish.

>had forged a great relationship with the church, ensuring that the people’s faith would be strong in their Emperor and God.
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>>5223725
>Spending most of your time in the church. There you learnt a rare set of skills – reading and writing. You devoured every book you could get your hands on from philosophy to engineering, and bookkeeping. The local priest thought you well, and many began to have expectations that you too one day shall become one. This had given some rest to both you and your mother. With a mind for academics like yours, you are certain you will be able to comprehend even the most difficult of theories.
Brawn and a Silver Tongue are stop gap measures if we are supposed to preserve and revitalise this empire, as I suspect we are. Conquering the land only to overextend ourselves or building up the treasury for it to be squandered by the next one in charge is no way to run an empire. Also I really want us to have a pic related moment.

>>5223729
>had increased the silver amount in silver coins, ensuring that they were no longer worthless pieces of metal, wherein people had simply preferred to barter before his reign, now most trade is done via the coinage.
Either this or the general in command of the army. Having a basic coinage system ensures we have a basic economy going, which is always good for stability, and having a loyal army commanded by a skilled general prevents any civil wars which are perhaps the most devastating things that could happen to the empire outside of wars with another power.

Also, you're really interested in empire's collapsing aren't you QM?
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>>5223725
>>5223729
>Spending most of your time in the church. There you learnt a rare set of skills – reading and writing. You devoured every book you could get your hands on from philosophy to engineering, and bookkeeping. The local priest thought you well, and many began to have expectations that you too one day shall become one. This had given some rest to both you and your mother. With a mind for academics like yours, you are certain you will be able to comprehend even the most difficult of theories
>had increased the silver amount in silver coins, ensuring that they were no longer worthless pieces of metal, wherein people had simply preferred to barter before his reign, now most trade is done via the coinage.
We shall make good use of the economy when we rise through the ranks and beat those italians at their own trade.
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>>5223753

>Also, you're really interested in empire's collapsing aren't you QM?

I am a wee bit of a romefag, yes.
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>>5223729
>Spending most of your time in the church. There you learnt a rare set of skills – reading and writing. You devoured every book you could get your hands on from philosophy to engineering, and bookkeeping. The local priest thought you well, and many began to have expectations that you too one day shall become one. This had given some rest to both you and your mother. With a mind for academics like yours, you are certain you will be able to comprehend even the most difficult of theories
>had increased the silver amount in silver coins, ensuring that they were no longer worthless pieces of metal, wherein people had simply preferred to barter before his reign, now most trade is done via the coinage.
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>>5223725
>Spending most of your time in the church. There you learnt a rare set of skills – reading and writing. You devoured every book you could get your hands on from philosophy to engineering, and bookkeeping. The local priest thought you well, and many began to have expectations that you too one day shall become one. This had given some rest to both you and your mother. With a mind for academics like yours, you are certain you will be able to comprehend even the most difficult of theories.
>>5223729
>had increased the silver amount in silver coins, ensuring that they were no longer worthless pieces of metal, wherein people had simply preferred to barter before his reign, now most trade is done via the coinage.

if we can get the barter system up and running that would mean alot of territory would then also be alot more dependent on the state. the best way to intergrate a subject is to make em want you.
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>>5223725
>Spending most of your time in the church. There you learnt a rare set of skills – reading and writing. You devoured every book you could get your hands on from philosophy to engineering, and bookkeeping. The local priest thought you well, and many began to have expectations that you too one day shall become one. This had given some rest to both you and your mother. With a mind for academics like yours, you are certain you will be able to comprehend even the most difficult of theories.

>had invited many a learned man, scholar, theologian, and philosopher. With new inventions and innovations, you are sure that the empire’s future is assured. Though how costly it is, still remains to be seen.
>>
>>5223725
>Spending most of your time in the church. There you learnt a rare set of skills – reading and writing. You devoured every book you could get your hands on from philosophy to engineering, and bookkeeping. The local priest thought you well, and many began to have expectations that you too one day shall become one. This had given some rest to both you and your mother. With a mind for academics like yours, you are certain you will be able to comprehend even the most difficult of theories.


>>5223729
>had increased the silver amount in silver coins, ensuring that they were no longer worthless pieces of metal, wherein people had simply preferred to barter before his reign, now most trade is done via the coinage.
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>>5223723
>Being stronger, faster, and sneakier than most. If there was a fight to win, you would win it. If there was a fight to lose, you would run, until you could win it. And if there was no victory to gain, you would hide. As the saying goes, practice (and a lot of bruises) makes perfect, and you are sure that when it comes to anything related to combat, you will naturally excel.

>had reformed the navy. The crushing defeat that had seen the previous emperor die also saw the navy die with him. This had left many islands and the coastlines exposed to enemy attack. But with a strong navy once more in place, it should hopefully be cheaper for you to buy some fish.
>>
>>5223725

>Spending most of your time in the church. There you learnt a rare set of skills – reading and writing. You devoured every book you could get your hands on from philosophy to engineering, and bookkeeping. The local priest thought you well, and many began to have expectations that you too one day shall become one. This had given some rest to both you and your mother. With a mind for academics like yours, you are certain you will be able to comprehend even the most difficult of theories.

>>5223729
>had revitalized the immediate countryside. The local populace had boomed, fighting age men working the fields during the autumn and marching off to war during the summer.
>>
>Spending most of your time in the church. There you learnt a rare set of skills – reading and writing. You devoured every book you could get your hands on from philosophy to engineering, and bookkeeping. The local priest thought you well, and many began to have expectations that you too one day shall become one. This had given some rest to both you and your mother. With a mind for academics like yours, you are certain you will be able to comprehend even the most difficult of theories
>had increased the silver amount in silver coins, ensuring that they were no longer worthless pieces of metal, wherein people had simply preferred to barter before his reign, now most trade is done via the coinage.
Its no 'ERE' equivalent without a good economy. And everything from keeping people happy to war takes coin.
>>
Ch type:

Smarts 8

Brawn 1

Emperor's reform:

Coinage 6

Learned men 1

Navy 1

Countryside 1

Okay, being book smart and economic reform wins.

Writing.
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…had increased the silver amount in silver coins, ensuring that they were no longer worthless pieces of metal, wherein people had simply preferred to barter before his reign, now most trade is done via the coinage.

You know so because you read about it in the church. You had managed to get your hands on one of the emperor’s decrees sent throughout the empire. That was the reason why it only costed you one silver coin for the messenger after all.

The thoughts of great men, doing great things quickly float away from your mind as sleep takes you. You have no doubt that you will once more awake to men made out of metal refusing to converse with you, whilst you will be shaking in your shoes. You never had the sturdiest constitution, capable of resisting the elements.

Reciting the holy passages in your mind, a means of calming oneself you had found, you embrace the cold ground.

Days after, the chill had strongly subsided, no doubt an indicator that you are approaching the coast and coming further from inland. At least that is what you read in the various accounts of travellers more experienced than you.

Eventually you had reached a village. There you spent your first warm night in days. The place was just as badly devastated as your own. Most of the menfolk were nowhere to be found, what you could locate were a few elders, whom you doubt will even see the end of the winter and young boys and babes, incapable of tilling fields. You can only hope for the best for these people, because they will require God’s graces in the coming days and months.

Finally, as you were concentrating in trying to ignore the pain on your thighs and buttocks, the man whom had spoken to you earlier speaks up once more.

“We will reach it by sundown.”

“Huh ?” You involuntary let out a sound of confusion, before looking up.

In the distance, you can finally see it. Queen of all cities, centre of civilization beset by barbarians, the great and ancestral capital of the Thephians – Myralos. Despite it being night time, the full moon illuminates your surroundings, allowing you to take in the breath-taking view of massive walls guarding the sprawling city. The ocean washing the shores reflecting the moon allows you an easy look at the imperial harbour, depressingly empty, but impressive nonetheless.

The city had long since grown silent by the time you reached its great gates. Other than a few braziers on the walls, a necessity for night patrol in the midst of winter, you see no light.

“Halt ! Who goes there ?!” Calls out a voice from the top of the walls.

“His Emperor’s Scholae Tagmata !” Shouts back the man who had instructed you. “We have finished a task assigned to us ! Make us wait and face his wrath !” He finishes with confidence.
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>>5224080

Only now do you notice about two dozen men atop of the walls. Their steel helmets and chainmail, though not as impressive as the horse riders, still make you pale at their cost. You could work for years and be unable to afford so much steel. But one thing over anything takes your attention – their composite bows, arrows prepared and aimed at you. Luckily no one had drawn them, meaning that they do not plan on riddling you just yet.

Moments later, the large door opens, even from here you can hear the sound of gears turning and chains rattling. Great inventions of man, making the movement of these gargantuan gates and portcullis that would have required dozens if not hundreds of men, move with only a few.

From the gates quickly pours two dozen men clad in chainmail covering most of their bodies placed atop thick padded cotton. They have large shields and long spears prepared to face the cavalrymen in a short distance.

With the expected confidence, the head rider encourages his horse and it begins to move onwards. With trepidation you follow him, the riders forming up around you. Despite their best efforts, you can see confusion, suspicion, and questioning in the gazes of the spearmen.

You end up passing them without any issues and begin moving down the massive street, from a quick guess, you’d reckon that four or more wagons could be going side-by-side comfortably, with other streets branching off allowing the easy movement of two wagons. Speaking of the roads, they appear to be made of limestone, evened out so perfectly that you cannot feel the bumps and unevenness of the ground. The buildings around you loom like sleeping giants, you do not know how many people could be housed in one of these constructs, but they reach higher than the tower of your village’s church. The fact that all of them appear to be made out of bricks and stones makes you wonder just how rich the people living here are.

Looking about, you are caught by the sight of a beautiful marble statue, painted in strong, extravagant colours. Detail is lifelike, the painting makes you think that the statue will simply walk off its pedestal and shake your hand. Looking at its facial features, you quickly surmise that whomever is depicted here is a stern man, a violent man, as he is clad in armour, wielding a sword in this right and clenching the world in his left hand.

“That is his majesty Andronikos the fifth Angelus. As he was the day, he was crowned emperor.” Sensing your thoughts, one of the riders informs you, probably the first time talking with you.

Before you can open your mouth to ask a question, the sound of something screaming through the air greets you, followed quickly by the sound of wood being impacted. Turning around, you see one of the cavalrymen had imposed their shields in between you, and what appears to be an arrow.

“Assassin ! Full tilt ! Get to the palace !” Calls out the lead rider.
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>>5224083

You face is pale now, having realized just how close you came to meeting your mother in the afterlife. One of the riders next to you grabs your reigns and begins assisting you as you ride in full gallop. The chaffing of your thighs forgotten now that your life is in danger.

The following moments had become a blur to you by now. You think you heard a few more impacts, but you are unsure as all the noises had now blended into one.

What had I done ? Why would people want me dead ? Why am I here ? The Emperor’s task ? I just wanted to stay in the church and read the books.

By the time you sort your thoughts, you find yourself in a large courtyard, a sturdy set of walls behind you, men on foot, clad similarly as the riders all around you. Out of the group of people, one approaches you, this time he has a gold line in the middle of his snow-white cloak, his plume also appears golden in colour.

“This is the boy ?”

“Hail domestikos ! Yes, this is the child.”

Domestikos ? You wonder at the title. The commanding officer of the Scholae Tagmata ! You quickly realize. A man whom could order your entire village slaughtered and no one would question his will.

The man proceeds to scrutinize you. Looking you up and down, his eyes narrowing and calculating. “Get the lad off the horse. His Imperial Majesty wishes to meet him.”

You feel as all breath disappears from your lungs at that statement. Me ? A mere peasant, meeting the most august person in this world appointed by God to reign over the world ? This has to be a mistake. You cannot help but think such thoughts, but your quick mind cannot help but stray to different thoughts as to why you are here. The clues are everywhere, but your mind refuses to accept it.

Not long after you quickly find yourself moving down a beautifully decorated corridor. Frescos decorate the walls, depicting the great battles of empire’s past, an expensive carpet under your feet, which you feel awkward dirtying, stretches as far as the eye can see, statuettes of the saints and God’s angels watch you as pass them.

Reaching a lacquered wooden door, the servant whom had been escorting you, alongside the domestikos, knocks on the door.

“Your Majesty, what you requested had been found.” The servants calm voice echoes clearly.

“Let him in.” Calls out a weak voice from the other side.

The servant silently opens the door and waits for you to enter.

Meekly stepping through, you are greeted by the sight of opulence. Silks, velvets, gold and silver a plenty, paintings and a beautiful fresco of the Shepherd’s descent is painted on the ceiling. God’s most holy prophet, bringing his word of mercy and forgiveness, tempered by the sword.
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>>5224086

Laying upon a large bed, covered in silk and velvet, all coloured deep purple, lays an old man, a far cry of the sternness you had seen on the statue. You have no doubt about whom this is, only one person within the whole empire could lay upon purple – Andronikos V Angelus “The Usurper” – your Emperor.

You quickly fall to your knees, you head impacting the floor, gazing into the emperor’s eyes is punishable by blinding after all, and you’d rather not anger the most important man in the world. Whilst you were doing so, the door had closed behind you.

“Rise, allow me to look at you.” The weak voice commands with authority.

You do as commanded, still averting your gaze from the Emperor.

Minutes pass in silence. “Yes, yes.” Andronikos begins to chuckle slowly. “All of those parasites had failed !” He shouts, mania in his voice. He begins laughing, before having a coughing fit and calming himself down.

“You, you, my boy. Yes, you will do just fine, just fine.” He once more begins to chuckle. “They thought that they could stop me, but I showed them.” Once again, chuckling. “But here you are. They thought to take MY ACHIEVEMENTS ?! MY GREAT ACCOMPLISHMENTS ?! Oh no, no. It will be MY BLOODLINE THAT WILL REIGN !

You involuntary take a step back. The Emperor’s a lunatic !

“Do not fear me boy. You are my blood.” He laughs. “Yes, you are my blood, they thought they had extinguished it when they killed my heir, but here you stand, yes, yes, here you stand. Proof of my success !” Once more he laughs. “The wine, give me the wine !” He points to a glass next to him.

Nervously you approach, seeing as how he is not biting you, you deem it safe to assist him in taking a drink.

“Ah, that helps my old tongue. You, boy.” Any expression, happiness or mania gone from his face and tone. “You will be my heir, you are of my blood, and you shall reign once I will meet the Shepherd.” Perhaps seeing your confusion, he states. “Ask, whilst I still draw breath, for soon you shall be greatly busy.”

>Questions for the old Emperor ? (Write in)

>”I have no questions, your majesty.”

>(Write in)
>>
>>5223723
I got no idea how you will manage 2 quests at once QM but I believe in you.
>>5224087
>Questions for the old Emperor ? (Write in)
What does he mean by we are of his blood?
What did our mothers letter say since that is clearly linked to this situation
Why are we being made Emperor?
>>
>>5224087
>Questions for the old Emperor ? (Write in)
What is the best advice your majesty can give me?
Who can be our greatest ally?
Who will be our biggest enemy?
What is your biggest regret?
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>>5224087
Are you saying... you're my father? How did that even happen?
What should I do? Who can I trust?
>>
>>5224087
>>Questions for the old Emperor ? (Write in)

Are you my father?
>>
>>5224087
>>Questions for the old Emperor ? (Write in)

I am worthy ?
I do not know anyhting of the imperial court, what I can do... i have only live in my village for all my life.
Can you aid me in this task, emperor... father ?
Your majesty if I am your son, why was i kept a secret ? Is because of my mother ?
Assasins attacked me and the guards on the road, did they know of my existance ?
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>>5224141
Supporting this line of questions
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>>5224087
>"Give me a kiss papa"
>>Pucker up our lips and reach our arms out for a hug
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>>5224087
>>5224250
I'll add this to my vote. Feels appropriate for our nerd emperor to be.
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>>5224141
+1
>>
>>5224141
+1
>>
“Your Imperial Majesty, are, are you my father ?” You question with some trepidation.

The sickly man bursts out laughing “I am, boy, I am.”

“Then why was it kept a secret ? What about my mother ?” You cannot help but ask, had he acknowledged you, had he taken your mother as his wife, maybe she’d still be with you.

“Your mother was a shrewd woman, too intelligent. She knew that I would have had you killed.” He stares at you, his eyes now cold. “A bastard threatening my legitimate heir’s claim. Though I suppose her intellect did come in some use. With my son dead, you are the only one of my blood. Ah, you probably wonder how we met, do you not ?” He now smiles. “She was a merchant’s daughter, from right here – Myralos. She was beautiful, young, I was destined to go off for a long campaign and a young lass threw herself onto me, probably hoping for benefits for her merchant’s house, but she had long disappeared by the time I had returned. My wife probably had threatened her existence.” He finally finishes.

You clench your fists, rage building up in you. He had not sought you to rekindle your familial ties or help your mother. No, you were simply a backup, an emergency solution, a stopgap measure.

“What did my mother’s letter say ?” You cannot help but wonder, what had she said to this cold man.

“That ? She simply stated that she’s about to die, and that you are my son. She must’ve heard that I now lack an heir.” He replies dismissively.

“Why ? Why am I here ? Why am I being made emperor ? Am I even worthy of such a title ?”

“Simple. Your half-brothers are all dead, you are the only one that can carry one my legacy. And if you are worthy ? What does that matter ? You are my blood, and the throne will be yours. It is simply that, boy. In this world, nothing matters more than bloodline and legacy.” He calmly responds.

That is something you had noticed during your conversation; the emperor’s mood seems to switch and change without rhyme or reason almost every sentence you had spoken with him.

“I know nothing of the court. Who can I trust ? What should I do ? Can you aid me ? I know not what I had not read in books, meagre books of a humble kind, those accessible only to a peasant.” You cannot help but beg. You do not like the man; however, he is your only hope in a situation that he forced you into.

“Trust no one, obey no one. You, are to be emperor. An emperor, does not bow, he does not ask. He commands, and all obey. Those that do not obey, are to be killed. If someone mocks you ? Hang them. If someone angers you ? Behead them. Your reign shall be blessed by God, and God commands to lead with an iron fist.” His eyes, now bloodshot, his breathing far more ragged than before, stare straight at you. “Kill. Them. All.”

You flinch as those eyes lock with yours, primordial, rage filled eyes of a beast, eyes of a man who had long since lost his sanity.
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>>5225052

“That is my advice, that is my aid. I can feel my life slipping away from me at this moment. Rule through fear, and make them believe that even God’s wrath is nothing compared to yours.”

“Then who will be my biggest enemy ? Out of all that will fear me, who will be an ally ?”

“Allies ? There are no allies, an emperor is alone, you tower over all, let no connections affect your decisions. If you have to kill your son to protect the throne, do it. If you have to sell your daughter, do it. If you have to humiliate and get rid of your wife, do it. Your only ally, is you.

As for foes. Everyone, every single last one of them are snakes, parasites, sycophants ready to turn against you the moment the wind blows the other way. But the greatest, the greatest would be Strategos Isaac. He is a great general, I cannot deny so, but that is what makes him dangerous. Get rid of him as soon as you can.”

“Assassins attacked me and the guards on the road, did they know of my existence ?” You ask, recalling the shock you felt mere moments ago.

“Naturally, no whispered word, no hidden gesture remains so in the court. There are ears and eyes everywhere. No great secret will be kept so for long. Remember, boy, a secret is only a secret if one person knows it. Get rid of all who know your weaknesses.” He states matter-of-factly

“I have one last question.” You slowly say. “What is your biggest regret ?”

“That I shall die soon. So much work left undone. I had great plans, but God had decided that my time had come. The greatest doctors of the court promised me immortality, I had consumed the wondrous quicksilver, but despite it all, I am still dying. Oh, do not worry about the doctors who are unable to keep their promises, I had already ordered them to hang.”

Having exhausted your questions, you simply remain silent. Your mind reeling from the facts you had learnt this day.

Domestikos !” The Emperor shouts and the door quickly opens.

“Your majesty.” Responds the man.

“Have the boy washed, groomed, and fed. I want him presentable for tomorrows court assembly.”

“As you command. My Prince, please follow me.”

You follow the man. Still drunk on the fact that someone just referred to you as “prince”. Wait. I had just realized, the Emperor not once addressed me by my name. A realization that quickly sours your mood.

The following hours move in a flash:

For the first time in your life, you have a hot bath, with soap and perfumes rubbed deep into your skin by beautiful women. You had been pretty embarrassed by having to be naked in front of them, but their charming smiles and careful hands had quickly calmed you. Your hair had also been thoroughly cleaned and washed; days’ worth of fatigue had simply melted away.

You were dressed in colourful, comfortable clothes, they fit you perfectly, and it did not cause you itching to boot ! No more prickly wool for you, no sir.
>>
>>5225053

Then afterwards, you had the most filling hot meal of your life. Roasted pork, honeyed fruits, the most delicious wine you had ever tasted filled your stomach.

And finally, at the end of it all, you went to bed, an actual bed, stuffed with feathers and cloths. Despite your mind acting up, due to a fear of assassins, you eventually go into a deep sleep, the exhaustion finally catching up to you.

You finally awaken as the Sun shines upon your face. Groggily rising from your bed, you look around. It takes a moment for your mind to catch up, to realize that everything that had just happened was in fact not a dream. You recall something about a court gathering, but you do not know if you will have to attend it or not.

Looking around, curiosity gets the better of you, as you begin exploring the room. It is just as breath-taking as everything else you had seen, the only difference being the fact that your beddings are in maroon red, rather than imperial purple. Heading over to the window, made out of actual see-through glass, the first time you had witnessed it, you see men in armour patrolling the surroundings, people dressed in simple clothing, still better than most in your village, are running about carrying out menial tasks, men and women dressed in fine cloths, silks, and furs are strutting about and entering the various buildings.

Now that it is daytime, you realize that you are in the palace district, and within the palace itself, a massive complex reaching the height of five stories, private gardens, riding grounds, barracks for the palace guards, its own church, etc., etc. More wealth gathered in a single place than most countries on this world probably have.

Further away, you gaze upon the city, now bustling with activity, crowds of people looking like waves moving about. You cannot make out any details, but you are certain that on any given side street, there are more people than your entire village, perhaps even combined with your neighbouring villages.

Suddenly, you can hear a knock coming from the door.

“Come in.” You call out.

As the door opens, you see the Domestikos stepping inside. “Hail Prince, I am Domestikos Armentarius Lucaenus of Scholae Tagmata. I had been commanded by the Emperor to escort you for the court gathering.” He pauses looking you over. “I shall call the servants to assist you in your preparations.”

“Tha-“ The door closes before you can finish. And you are left to awkwardly stand in silence.

Luckily, the silence does not last long, as soon there after Armentarius returns with a gaggle of servants behind him. Like ravenous predators, they charge at you whirling and twirling, eventually you find yourself dressed in heavy, sweat inducing clothing. Jewels and gold, worth more than anything you held previously, now used as nothing more than mere decorations adore you. It takes a moment for you to adjust to the clothing, but eventually you do get it.
>>
>>5225055

Shortly thereafter, Armentarius escorts you to a large chamber, gold plating the walls, ivory adorning the ceiling, braziers of incense filling the room with wondrous smells, beautiful coloured windows, depicting the Shepard’s journey cast coloured lights onto floors and walls, the marble floor covered by a red carpet with gold thread running through it. Guards clad in heavy armour stand at the walls, guarding the august persons arrayed in front of you. Fair ladies and well-groomed gentlemen, dressed in all kinds of colourful clothes cast questioning gazes at.

Only now do you realize that the chamber is completely silent, everyone’s eyes on you. Uncomfortably squirming under the judging eyes, you are relieved when a voice cuts through all standing.

The only man sitting in this room, upon a pedestal on a throne made of gold with rubies, sapphires, emeralds, amethysts, diamonds and other gems you do not recognize. A diadem rests upon his brow, just as opulent as the throne upon which the man sits.

“Hear our words !” He calls out.

”We hear !” Respond the gathered people, bowing deeply.

“We, Andronikos Angelus, hereby proclaim Manuel Angelus as our son and heir ! We hereby also proclaim him as co-emperor of the Thephians and all other peoples of the Empire. Hear our words !”

”We hear !” Once again, respond the gathered people.

You watch as the Emperor moves his hand, gesturing towards a man standing at the bottom of the pedestal, wielding a golden rod, which he strikes on the ground.

“The court is over !” He proclaims.

The emperor stays seated, but you can see he laboured breaths.

Before you can address the him, an older looking man approaches you, looking similar to the emperor, but with slightly more gentle features.

“Nephew, congratulations on your appointment, I am sure you will do well.” He says smiling. Noticing your confusion, he clarifies. “Ah, where are my manners. I am Photius Angelus, your uncle, brother of the Emperor. It is truly joyous news to hear that the emperor managed to find his lost son.”

“Thank you, uncle.” You address him with some awkwardness. “I too hope to be as capable as the Emperor.”

“Wondrous. Now, if you ever need help, feel free to find me. We are family after all, I will endeavour to assist you to the best of my abilities. Now, if you will excuse me, I had just been appointed governor and I must depart at all haste.” With a polite smile that he held throughout the conversation, he excuses himself and departs the room in a hurry.
>>
>>5225056

“My Prince. There are a few people you must be aware of.” Armentarius says behind you.

“That man over there.” He points out a greying man with a beard so long that it reaches his stomach, dressed in pure white with gold and silver thread. “That is his all holiness Oikoumenikós Patriárchēs (ecumenical patriarch) Anatolius.”

“Head of the church.” You state.

“Correct.” Responds domestikos. “That over there is Strategos Isaac, currently the most influential man in the army.” This time he points out a well dressed and groomed man, looking like the picture-perfect noble portrayed in stories.

“That over there is protasekretis, (first secretary) Avienus, head of the administration.” He points out a rotund man in his 50s.

“The man dressed in subdued blue is Megas doux (Megaduke) Mundus, the head of the navy, or what’s left of it.”

“Do you see that brilliant yellow ? That is prōtoproedros (senior president) Leontius of the Imperial senate, representing the interests of the nobility within the Empire.”

“Finally, the one dressed in simple clothing is parakoimomenos (one who sleeps nearby) Fulgentius, the head eunuch and the one responsible for the court and the palace’s operation.”

All of these men are extremely important, you’d wish you could converse with all of them, but there is a literal flood of minor courtiers surrounding you. You are not skilled in diplomacy, so you think that you can at most talk with three of the six men. As you struggle to get away from the long-tongued courtiers.

>The Patriarch.

>The General.

>The Admiral.

>The Administrator.

>The Eunuch.

>The Senator.

And of course, what questions do you have for these men ? Simple introductions can be exchanged at any time, but the first impression is crucial.

>Questions (Write in)
>>
>>5225057
>>The General.
>The Eunuch.
>The Administrator.

General.
What is the current state of the army? Manpower, forts, supplies?
Eunich.
What current projects are going on? What is the current state of the courts and palace?
Administrator.
What is our current territories and holdings? any enemy aggression or Barbarian incursions?
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>>5225057
>The Patriarch
The only one we can talk to normally, given our education.
>The Administrator
General state of the empire
>The Eunuch.
Control the palace and its guards.
>>
>>5225056
>brother of the Emperor.
We're gonna have to kill this guy, guaranteed.

>>5225057
>The Patriarch.
Will go well with our educated background, and it is always important to have the church onside, they are the most powerful entity in the lands outside the imperial administration and army itself after all.
We should ask him about the latest developments in the church, mention to him how we would have become a priest were it not for this. Ask him about his opinions of our father and the rest of the imperial house, I want to see if he's a savvy political player in his own right or a simple zealot. Plus information about things is always good.

>The General.
Should be fairly self evident how important it is to talk to him.
Ask him about what campaigns he's been on recently, and his opinions on the state of the empire as it is right now. As a man with such heavy responsibilities, how does he feel with his position and what he's accomplished under the previous emperor?
>The Administrator.
He is the one who'll probably know the most about the empire as a whole. Ask him general questions about the state of the lands, the treasury, the people, that sort of thing. Quiz him for as many details as possible, ensure he knows we're not an ignorant peasant. Also ask him how we can send some money to the priest of the town we grew up in, since he was the one who helped with our education and upbringing the most after our mother.
>>
>>5225057
Hopefully the other 3 don't suddenly think we hate them if we don't talk with them today, maybe we can talk tommorow ?
Our father doesn't trust even one man, this is kind of a problem. Being costantly paranoid of all is not great for a ruler.

>The Patriarch.
Ask him about the faith of the empire, and if heresies or pagans have show themselves. See what he thinks of the court. We can also say something about our studies and that we received teachings from a priest. Perhaps we could say our favourite passage or core message of the holy book (Maybe we think being kind is a great virtue ? Or courage ecc)

>The General
What s the current state of the military, and if our enemies are doing anyhting at the borders. Knowing about his previous campaigns could be also interesting. If he asks, yeah we aren't fit for war at the moment is .... obvious. Be honest.
One needs to get a look at us, or know that we didn't even know how to use a horse.
Though we are open to learning if there is time, be combat or leading troops.

>The Administrator
Learn about the empire, if the provinces are doing well, trade, treasury and the people. Also what the empire neighbours are doing, and if they want to do something with the empire (trade, war ecc...)
Asking detailed questions would be a good idea, we don't want to look dumb it would show we received an education.
>>
>>5225057
>The General.
Give and get a good first impression, ask for the status of our army’s and it’s foes.
>The Admiral.
Maybe we can use him as a counterbalance to the Army, we could definitely begin feeding him resources to improve his status within the affair of the State.
>The Eunuch.
We need to get our personal residence down on lock, last thing we need is him going rouge on us.
>>
>>5225057
>The General.
We need swords.

>The Administrator.
We need gold to have swords.

>The Patriarch.
We need loyalty for that gold to enter our pocket.
>>
>>5225057
>The Patriarch.
>The General.
>The Senator.
>>
>>5225057
>patriarch
>administrator
>General
>>
The Patriarch 6

The General 7

The Admiral 1

The Administrator 6

The Eunuch 3

The Senator 1

Alright, you will talk to the General, the Patriarch, and the Administrator.

Writing.
>>
You try to do your best to placate the swarm of courtiers, thanks to your education, you are able to hold conversations about numerous topics, but when you point out the flaws in their reasoning and logic, you see as the smiles on their faces freeze, but frankly speaking, you cannot be bothered about their expressions, as there are simply too many people for you to deal with.

Eventually, through strenuous effort, you are able to free yourself for a moment and approach the man closest to you, that being Strategos Isaac. Seeing your approach, he bows politely at your presence. This still feels uncomfortable.

“My Prince, how may I help you ?”

Strategos, I wished to converse with you.” You say, whilst trying to imitate the acting of some of the great heroes you read in books. Back straight, eyes forward. You hope that you do not come off as a meek peasant out of water.

“What is it that you wish to know, my Prince ?”

“I wished to inquire about the state of the military. Our armies, manpower, forts, supplies. Things of great import like those.”

“Ah, just appointed and already concerned about our great Empire ? Commendable, I must say.

To answer your questions. Our manpower is pitiful, years of endless wars have drained most able-bodied men. Those that still remain are jealously guarded by the nobility and rich merchants, and I do not fault them, wheat must be harvested, bread must be baked. Overall, the army is weak, besides the Emperor’s elite tagmata, only about 4,000 men, most local armies rely on local levies raised in haste. Poorly trained and equipped, for the last decade we’ve been dependant on barbaroi mercenaries, at great expense, mind you, to fight our wars.

“The situation sounds more grim than I had expected.” Only now do you realize how blissfully ignorant you were of the frailty of the Empire.

“As for the forts and supplies.” He scoffs and sneers. “Your highness should ask protasekretis Avienus and his leeches about our supplies. If he has any to offer that is.”

Though you are not skilled in personal interactions, you can easily hear hatred in the man’s voice. It seems that the army is at odds with the administration.

“And what about our foes ? How dangerous are they ?”

The man has a ponderous look, before answering. “The mountains to your East protect the heartlands, but it also blocks our movement. The Eastern Magnates are in open revolt. They had been since the current emperor came to the throne, but he had decided to prioritize coin rather than the army, leaving this issue unresolved. For now, the magnates are busy squabbling between themselves, but if a capable leader emerges from them, I have no doubt that he will try to threaten the imperial throne.”

“And how powerful are they ?”
>>
>>5225468

“Who knows by now. They had a long time to mobilize and prepare for war. On the same end, they had plenty of time to waste their manpower in their petty squabbles.”

His analysis, gives you some relief.

“I am truly concerned about Akeione they had forty years back crossed from Rogarus. Conquering the great southern island of Korius. Conquering it from us, that is. Now they threaten what isles we still hold. It is against them that the previous emperor was felled on the open seas. It is their heavy cavalries that I fear the most, but the speed at which they built a navy to not only rival our own, but to crush us is astonishing. Give them time, and they will land on the mainland, I do not know if the Scholae will meet their match on the open plains.”

And then he brings you to the depths of hell.

“How about we talk about something less depressing. Like your previous campaigns, perhaps ?”

“In my last campaign, I was not in command. The Lucenians, a decade past, had migrated from their forests and they had taken our territories. It was there that I earned my name, by salvaging the remnants of your shattered army. An army that was undersupplied because the strategos at the time had managed to anger some important people. We lost a war that we should have won, and our professional army is not replaced by young boys given spears and mercenaries without a shred of loyalty to anything but gold. At times, I feel like I am fighting against an endless flood, no matter what I do, other continuously get in my way and cause more damage and further accelerate the sinking of the ship I am trying to save.”

“Thank you, strategos.” Unsure on how to proceed and clearly sensing the man’s fouling mood, you decide that caution is the better part of valour, leaving the man.

Seeing that august persons have finished conversing; you are once more swarmed by courtiers fighting for a morsel of your attention.

You do your best to fight off against the endless swarm, reaching a refuge for your soul – Oikoumenikós Patriárchēs Anatolius.

“Your all holiness.” You greet him. “ Χαιρετισμούς ο πιο ιερός πατέρας της εκκλησίας του βοσκού.

“My Prince. It is good to see you.” The man smiles when you converse with him in the proper clerical language.

“I too am glad to see you. I would have likely become a priest myself, had were I not called for duty.”

“It is good to hear, my son. As of late, the people’s faith had been tested again and again due to the heathens and heretics besetting us on all sides. Strong faith is needed in such trying times.”

“Has the Emperor not exercised the faith’s commands, for the people to be distraught ?”
>>
>>5225470

He frowns. “The Emperor, your father, had been…lacking in conviction. His desire for a monetary reform resulted in many most holy artefacts melted for the sake of minting new coins with his image upon them.” He says, gauging your reaction. “I, of course, am a faithful servant of the Empire and the Emperor, but the flock can only be ignored, and they can only be pushed for so long.”

Seeing shock clear on your face at the mention of the destruction of holy artefacts, his expression becomes a bit softer. “With the heathen Lucenians and the heretic Akeoinians now occupying the lands of the most faithful, I pray every day for their freedom and their liberation back into the fold.”

“I hope so to, Your all Holiness. And what of the matters closer to home ? What about the court ?”

“Religious ceremonies are less frequent than I would like, and the courtiers are clearly not repenting for the many sins they commit everyday frequently enough, but what else can you expect. This one of the holiest places in the world, but also one that tempts man’s simplest desires the most. I would personally change somethings, but it is not my place to question the Emperor’s decisions.”

“I see. Thank you for your time, Your all Holiness. Unfortunately I must now return to my duties of temporal nature.” You say ending the conversation.

“I hope that your reign will be a pious one. Go with God’s blessing, my son.” He finishes with a smile.

You can see, or well, you can’t, but you can feel that the overall number of people is thinning, it seems that soon the court meeting will come to a close. Before people of import depart, there is still one more person that you must meet with, in order to acquire a good idea about the Empire’s current situation – protasekretis Avienus.

“My Prince !” He cheerfully calls out. “I am honoured and humbled that you would approach such a humble servant such as myself.”

Protasekretis, I wish to discuss the matters of the state with you.”

“Of course, of course my Prince. I, Avienus, shall endeavour to answer all of your, your most magnificent highness !” With great enthusiasm he replies.

You’ve never met a man jollier than him, but you suppose that judging by his belly, he had never experienced hardships.

“How does the Empire fare ? The people, trade, taxes ? What about the treasury, from the conversations I had previously I heard many complaints about it.”

“I shall naturally answer all of these. It is always good to know that there is someone with such brilliant intellect that shall soon lead us, your highness ! The Empire is sure to prosper under the reign of your dynasty for a thousand more years if not longer. I do believe that your great deeds will be forever engraved in the annals of history as one of the greats of our lands, nay, the entire world.”

Does an enlarged belly lead to an enlarged breath ?
>>
>>5225473

“But now for the ahhh, yes, the question of the people. You need not concern yourself over such a trivial matter. The people are prospering ! Sure, we had some problems of depopulation due to the wars, but I can guarantee you, your highness, that they shall soon recover. Our virile citizens shall once again plow the fields as far as the eye can see. As for trade, yes the trade, it is endless and prosperous, wagons and carts travel without end upon our fine roads and enormous merchant fleets travel the seas unmolested !” Again, with gusto he proclaims.

The bare fields, roads overgrowing with weeds and the empty harbour all come to your mind. You are unsure if the man is simply lying to appease you, if he’s incompetent, or if he is malicious.

“Now, as for the treasury. Well…it is true that we have some, minor, inconsequential issues regarding it. The Emperor’s monetary reforms were long needed, and they have revitalized the countryside, just last year, taxes were paid in actual coin !” He beams at that fact. “Though it is true, that I cannot deny, that despite the Emperor’s brilliance, the treasury, already dwindling due to the previous Emperor’s wars, had been emptied. But worry not ! I shall ensure that it shall be overflowing once again, your highness, just leave it the hands of this humble servant.”

You are about to speak up, when the man interrupts you, seemingly missing your intentions. “Deary me, would you look at the time, the sun is already past its zenith, please excuse me your highness, there are matters of great import to be addressed within the administration.”

Faster before you can react, moving with surprising agility, the man expertly navigates the crowds of courtiers that drown you.

Suddenly, coughing echoes through the hall. The sound of a chalice impacting the hall pierces your heart.

Upon the pedestal, Andronikos V Angelus “The Usurper”, Imperator, Basileús kai Autokrátōr Thephaiōn, ruler for twelve long years, is currently coughing up blood, and fighting for breath.

Domestikos Armentarius, who had been by your side the entire time, rushes towards the throne, as his emperor slips from it and impacts the cold ground.

Panic quickly spreads and everything dissolves into pandemonium. You approach the throne with heavy footsteps. Where upon, Armentarius turns to you and says in a calm, even tone.

“The Emperor is dead.”

As his words leave his lips, all eyes in the chamber turn to you, and only now do you realize, you are the Emperor. Not only that, everyone is waiting for your guidance in this situation. Looking around, you realize, no persons of import are left in the chamber.

Can pick more than one.

>Lock down the city. No one enters, no one leaves.

>Order everyone searched.

>Order the arrest of someone (Who?) (Can pick multiple.)

>(Write in)
>>
And that is it for the day. Quick information of my schedule, on weekdays, at most I can put out one, maybe two, updates. Occasionally, I might miss a day if I am busy. My weekends are usually free, during then you can expect more updates, more frequently.

I hope that you anons are enjoying the quest so far, and I will see you tomorrow.
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>>5225474
>>Lock down the city. No one enters, no one leaves.
>>
>>5225474
>Lock down the city. No one enters, no one leaves

>Order everyone searched

I suspect Avienus but we have no proof yet
>>
>>5225474
>Lock down the city. No one enters, no one leaves.
>Order everyone searched.

>>(Write in)

>Have Armentarius to calm the court, he has more experience.
>Have somebody make a list with everyone that attended court and every servant.
>Send guards to the harbour and to the houses of those who left early.
>Order every servant to be searched and interrogated.
>Make sure we are seen giving these orders, to show inciative.
>>
>>Lock down the city. No one enters, no one leaves.
>>Order everyone searched + have men retrieve Protasekretis Avienus so he can be included.
>>
>>5225474
Well our situation is very precarious, we have six factions that owe us nothing and no allies to sustain our authority. On the bright side we have a unique opportunity, the leaders of all other factions are present, this could be our chance. First we have to close the city gates:


>Lock down the city. No one enters, no one leaves.

This will give us time to work out our claim to the throne with the different factions. But frankly six is a pretty big number. We have to reduce this value as quickly as possible.
Of all these the only three that are needed are those that we have already interacted with. The eunuchs are our biggest threat, at the moment they can kill us in exchange for serving a new emperor for another faction, before the gates open again they have to be killed to the last of them. And then our protection in the palace has to be done by a group of foreign barbarians, the most infamous would be the best because if they betray us they will be killed. We need to speak to the general about this matter, the others will be deleted later.
>>
If our Strategos has men nearby he can be tasked with retrieving Avienus considering the lack of friendship between them.
>>
>>5225529
The administrator has to go, perhaps we could order him to do an impossible task and when he fails/gives us prof of sedation, we depose him and perhaps replace him with a cadre of ministers, china style.
I am on the fence about the general, if he proves too much to handle we can likewise order him on suicidal campaigns. Nonetheless, we should keep him close, here where we could contest his influence.
I am in favour of the patriarch. He hasn't shown any signs of corruption and it would be easy to ally with the church given our education. He can stay and, if he proves really trustworty, perhapswe can make him our personal confessor for the sake of our mental health.
The admiral, senator and eunuch should be interrogated before we met them, so we have a headstart on them. We don't know enough about the admiral but if the senator gets in our way we could undermine his power by covertly supporting his rivals in the senate.
>>
>>5225474
>Lock down the city. No one enters, no one leaves.
>>Order the arrest of someone (Who?) (Can pick multiple.)
Avienus
>(Write in)
If there are men who aim to openly revolt now, we must prevent those notables from leaving the city. If they leave the city then truly we will have no way of controlling their actions. Now that the Emperor has died, I say we lock the city and demand those of note to come and pay respects to our father's body. We will have a week of mourning and a week of celebration after our coronation. Chariot races, bread and circuses, we must let our reign not start off with fear of the instability a transition will produce while allowing ourselves to meet with those of the court who are interested in currying favor with a new emperor.

I say as well: arrest, denounce, and kill Avenius in a very public fashion. Accuse him of murdering our father, of lying to the Emperor, and all of the corruption, military defeats, and suffering of the people to him. This will satiate the bloodlust of the angry masses and establish our authority.

It is clear that he is lying to us about the prosperity of the Empire as we have seen the state of the Empire for ourselves and if the Strategos is correct, he is robbing the state as well. If during the mean time leading up to his death he reveals all the snakes and rats under his administration, all the better. No one lies to the Emperor!

To placate the rest of the administration, put his office as a vacancy to be filled. Let the careerists fight among themselves for this position. His holdings and wealth can be seized to be used at a later point We can arrest those implicated by Avenius in an investigation or otherwise to do the same to them, but for important noble families, we should keep alive for ransom or hostage for political clout, better tithes, or for them to surrender religious icons to the Church. As they are implicated in corruption, the nobles will have no casus belli against us, but to negotiate to our advantage lest we bring the hammer down.

Our father's funeral should be a grand and opulent ceremony for all our subjects to see and given to the church to administrate as a sign of our trust and devotion. If needed, we can subsidize this endeavor with the seizing of Avenius's holdings and all religious artifacts horded by the corrupt can be given to the church. The church and the pious will love us for taking back icons from the corrupt nobility!

Announce to the whole court and thanking Strategos Issac for bringing the corruption to our attention. This will emphasize his subservience to us and will bring him closer, but we will be seen as the heroes while Issac will take some of the heat from the corrupt nobility and Avenius's allies.

This is the time to start our reign off with a bang anons. Lets do this.
>>
Oh and announce we need a waifu. Those who wish to curry favor can come to us with a pitch about why their daughter is the best. We need allies and a heir.

I highly recommend Thersites the Historian on Youtubes for all of you Roman/Byzantine history nerds out there.
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>>5225539
You are crazy? This man controls the vault of the empire if he feels threatened he will pay for another heir, of all the gifts he is the only one that cannot be touched. He is our possible wallet and convincing him to support us will be the least worst of the options, we can't risk the safe falling into the hands of another faction. If he can't be convinced then we use the excuse to eliminate him.
>>
>>5225597
What do you think about my ideas about a decisive power grab and turning Avenius into a patsy?
>>
>>5225548
Or announcing the execution of the man responsible for the Imperial vault could be used as proof of our madness, "forcing" the nobles of the empire to choose another emperor, no, without a good investigation, (which would be an excuse to negotiate terms with the other factions), any execution would be an error. For God's sake this is the basics of rules for rules, don't attack the keys needed to reign.
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>>5225597
The man is a lying sycophant. He will cause more troubles in the long run if he is not humbled. He is not untoucheble, we could have Isaac drag him in chains if he gives us a reason to. Only us and the church should be untouchable and that because, in contrast with the western papacy, the church and the bizantine empire were in cahoots and we and ours should be too.
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>>5225610
I disagree. He lied to us about the state of the empire. That is treason in of itself. We are the supreme autocrat of this empire, we must live up to that or no one will respect us. We can install like I mentioned someone else who is loyal to us anyways.

Right now we really have no authority other than our personal guard. We must make an impression to establish our authority and getting rid of a corrupt liar is good option. We can rally our subject as well by making him the patsy. I listed all the ways we can use the current situation to either tame or get other factions on our side as well. Do you really have no other thoughts on my ideas?

>>5225615
Agreed. What do you think about >>5225548?
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>>5225626
Too much, too soon. We should imvestigate first before we do any purging so that: 1) we get the right traitors, plural, there's no way it was just him, and 2) we depose the right guys so that it's us who consolidates our power, and no Isaac killing his rivales.
I agree about land seizure, tho it should be limited in scale and we should make clear to the nobles that they have no reason to oppose it since we only do it to enemies of the state, which they surely aren't.
Likewise, I fully support us leaning heavily into church support. If we make us and the church indivizible, we can guarantee that anyone against us is against the church and thus we can rise the masses against them. Also, aiming for sainthood would be a nice goal and religious wars can be good for the empire.
All in all, I think we should be more temperate and not overkill our economy while we're at it.
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>>5225474
>>5225505
I'm adding arrest Avienus to my vote. Getting rid of him will please the General.
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>>5225615
>>5225626

First he was apologizing while promising to improve the situation he is not manipulating us, he is trying to survive and that is a sign of weakness. Second we cannot give any serious order without political power behind it, before judging anyone's life we must see that we can bring to our side so far only the patriarch can be considered friendly to our cause. Third and last, the Treasurer may not be untouchable, but neither are we. We have to tread carefully, not threaten to destabilize an important faction of the empire without knowing how things are going behind the scenes.
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>>5225635

It's making our tax collectors hate us. By the way, what guarantee do we have that we can choose who will replace Avienus? If it's someone worse? By the way, what guarantee do we have that the general would be with us? He can be glad his rival got screwed and don't owe us anything for it.
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>>5225650
>“But now for the ahhh, yes, the question of the people. You need not concern yourself over such a trivial matter. The people are prospering !"
>“Though it is true, that I cannot deny, that despite the Emperor’s brilliance, the treasury, already dwindling due to the previous Emperor’s wars, had been emptied. But worry not ! I shall ensure that it shall be overflowing once again, your highness, just leave it the hands of this humble servant.”
There is survival and there is literally gaslighting us and encouraging us to let him run the economy. The strategos is even implying that Avienus and his man are embezelling funds and that's the problem, it isn't just him, it's the whole administrative apparatus we have to investigate and purge when needed. To do so, we currently have the support of the church and of the general. I'm not saying to go swords blazing and hang the guy but I do think that you are overestimating his power and necestity. If we can band the people, the church and the army together, while making sure that the senate doesn't intervene, he's done for.
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>>5225663
Okay, you're right that we have to reform the administration, as long as we have a plan and real, palpable support.
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>>5225474
>Lock down the city. No one enters, no one leaves.
>Order everyone searched.

Someone will need to be executed, but we should talk it out a bit before people start killing off our Administration.

>>5225529
Calm your tits anon, anyone can just open up the gates to our place, it doesn't mean that we should start massacring the dickless.

>>5225539
The Senator and Eunuch we'll need to check in on. The Admiral is currently weak, we can remake the Navy to be loyal to us, and have them be a counterbalance to the other factions.

>>5225548
The problem with killing our head Administrator is that we risk weakening that institution, forcing us to rely on the others while it's being rebuilt, and even then, it may not be loyal to us. What we need is to raise some knowledgeable in Administrative affairs that can clear house and maybe is more loyal to us, but that take time and people to find someone suitable for the job. Don't think that by arresting someone important but corrupt that things will get better, they can easily get worse instead.

Also, we don't have the gold to spend on opulence. Dad's gonna get a modest funeral, moderate at best.

>>5225604
You need to actually be knowledgeable in how the Administration is actually run and who else to put in change before you seriously start fucking with shit majorly.

>>5225626
Never waste a good crisis, just know that immediately attack the Administration faction right out of the gates (and it WILL be seen as a political attack on them), isn't the smartest move. What we need is to empower a faction to attack another, to give us time to get our bearings and make up our minds on how we want to play this.

>>5225663
I would take the Strategos words with a grain of salt, as he has much to gain from us infighting with our Administration.

Also, we don't have the military's and churches support, at best we have tacit approval because we're beating up on an internal rival, increasing their share of the power pie. Don't forget that we have no supporters here, at least not yet.

>>5225682
We don't have support, but we can leverage our Authority to do something that would appease someone to gain some support. We need to decide on a game plan, and stick with it.
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>>5225632
Thanks for your reply anon. I want to note that my idea of a purge and the like will include an investigation of all of the rats and snakes surrounding Avenius. The whole point of turning Avenius into the patsy is to make his name tainted. Regardless of whether Avenius was one of those who killed our father, by focusing all of the frustration and anger of the empire onto him, we can:

1. Throw the conspirators off and maybe let their guard down, thinking they are safe from retaliation if Avenius, although not involved, is taking the fall by name. What I am saying tho is that there are immediate benefits to purge Avenius. All of the conspirators will have to be dealt with eventually anyways. I'm not saying we just target him and forget about everything.
2. If he IS involved, during the course of the investigation, we will gain more information and nip an enemy in the bud and work on other conspirators from there.
3. Mobilize the people towards an enemy. All of the potential angry mob of peasants with pitchforks due to unrest in the empire will instead be pissed at the corrupt that the young new Emperor is now taking care of.

I do want to ask though, what about my post made you worried about overkilling our economy? Would you not say land and property seizure, even limited ones of the corrupt embezzlers wouldn't help fund our endeavors?

>>5225650
>>5225654
I think >>5225663 put it pretty well, but I understand your concerns. Understanding that the administration is corrupt, there are plenty of people who are careerist in nature. We can play people off each other for the position by our side, especially if Avenius had enemies within the administration who were opposed to his leeching off of the empire.

Perhaps it would also be a good idea to ask the Church, Army, and Navy for help, since I am sure there are plenty of learned men who have experience taking care of church lands, church/military assets, and logistics who are also pious in nature and are steadfast against corruption. We also know that mismanaged empire means a weaker church and a weaker military, and we can further win over the Patriarch, Strategos, and Admiral to our side.

As for the general, that's why I am saying we should publically let it be known that the General brought the corruption to our attention, because to outsiders it will make it seem like he is more aligned with us than he may be. He will catch some of the heat coming from Avenius's allies and will act as a powerful deterrent to those who want to mess with us. He will be put in a position where he has to align with us as our enemies will not trust him.

>>5225663
>I'm not saying to go swords blazing
I don't think we should be overzealous, but what I am saying is that we can manufacture consent. Not only are we the Emperor, we can really lean on the bully pulpit to win over the masses. Folks love a good anti-corruption campaign.
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>>5225696
Refer to my answers here: >>5225703, specifically including that of getting Church and military men as well as anti-Avenius admins and careerists to replace those caught in the corruption sting. Any thoughts?
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>>5225474
>Lock down the city. No one enters, no one leaves.
>Order everyone searched.

>Call a council of the six most important personages of the empire.
>Summon Fulgentius for a private meeting beforehand. We must demand to know how such a thing could happen (under his watch especially, but lets not say that in so many words)

>>5225539
>>5225615
These seem like good ideas. I especially like the impossible task thing. As for the general, he seems like a competent and trustworthy individual, so as long as we don't rule incompetently or neglect the army (which would be a terrible idea going off his assessment) he should stay reasonably loyal to us.
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>>5225474
Man, things are really going to shit fast aren't they?
>Lock down the city. No one enters, no one leaves.
>Order everyone searched.
>Call the 6 heads back to the court.
>Meet privately with the ones we haven't met.
Don't arrest anyone... yet.

I agree that some purges are needed and I like the overall plan. Thing is, we don't have enough information to make judgement calls. We've just started and don't know much about anything or anyone. How could we conduct a proper investigation under these immediate circumstances? Before anything, I think we should quickly get acquainted with all the relevant players and court servants. Then we can start making plans.

>>5225718
I like the meeting idea but I'd prefer if we talk to every one of them individually before it.
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>>5225696
Mm my point is that there are six factions that we know so far, the national treasury has to support all six and for me by far the biggest risk is in the eunuchs faction, the emperor had all his descendants murdered and we almost died, he was ingesting poison, and the eunuch didn't see any of this happening? Are you telling me that our dynasty was murdered and poisoned, and that the eunuchs had no hand in it? It's frustrating that no one paid attention to this, if the royal family is at risk it's the eunuchs' obligation to protect them, if that's the best they can do they better be executed!
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>>5225703
>What I am saying tho is that there are immediate benefits to purge Avenius.
It's more likely to backfire on our finances, which does affect everything. You can't pay for shit if you don't have anyone getting the gold, and there are going to be a lot of Avenius supporters and corrupt officials within the Administration that will put the squeeze on us if we press too hard without internal Administration support.

>Would you not say land and property seizure, even limited ones of the corrupt embezzlers wouldn't help fund our endeavors?
No, because we'd directly be attacking the people who are supposed to collect our taxes and knows the best way to do so. Many people properly paying their taxes is worth more than some corrupt officials processions.

>especially if Avenius had enemies within the administration who were opposed to his leeching off of the empire.
I don't think we'll find many incorruptible enemies of his mate.

>Perhaps it would also be a good idea to ask the Church, Army, and Navy for help
And become more dependent on the on the actual Administration of our empire? I'd rather take a corrupt but independent Administration rather than split it three ways and have to deal with three factions over administrative matters.

>As for the general, that's why I am saying we should publically let it be known that the General brought the corruption to our attention
And what? Have the public rally in support of the General while publicly revealing our political allegiances straight out of the gate? Why not put the General directly in charge of the Administration while we take a vacation, I'm sure that'll end just peachy for us as well.

>He will be put in a position where he has to align with us as our enemies will not trust him
He's already bitter enemies with the Administration, all that'll change is that we'll be directly stuck in the crossfire. It's a bad play to get publicly involved the factional infighting of our empire, all you'll do is drive important people to hate us, not to woo us and curry favors from the Emperor.

>>5225706
You need to make them the hatchet men without publicly stating or approving of such a play, and even then you'll like replace them with people either loyal to the other factions or just as corrupt as the original.

>>5225718
>As for the general, he seems like a competent and trustworthy individual, so as long as we don't rule incompetently or neglect the army (which would be a terrible idea going off his assessment) he should stay reasonably loyal to us.
Until we put him in charge of the army and he pulls a Father on us after he wins a major battle. There is a reason you can't trust generals, they tend to overthrow he monarch.

>>5225751
Have you figured that the Eunuchs themselves cannot fully prevent every assassination attempt on us or our family? In all likelihood, purging them will make us even more vulnerable to the other factions.
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>>5225754
Every murder? The dynasty has been wiped out! )small difference right?) We are a bastard with no international relationship whatsoever, as I said the idea of creating a special barbarian force to replace the eunuchs is the solution. I'm saying the end of this quest is going to be us having convulsions on the floor while a eunuch laughs.
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>>5225754
>Every assassination?
The dynasty has been wiped out! (small difference right?) We are a bastard with no international relationship whatsoever, Without political power, and with dubious legitimacy.

>That was the best they could do.

As I said the idea of creating a special barbarian force to replace the eunuchs is the solution. But if you want the alternative it sounds something like this... Is going to be us having convulsions on the floor, a shattered cup of tea beside us spilling liquid onto the carpet while a eunuch laughs.
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>>5225794
>The dynasty has been wiped out! (small difference right?) We are a bastard with no international relationship whatsoever, Without political power, and with dubious legitimacy.

Yes, and that won't be solve by slaughtering our household servants and replacing them with even more unknowns. We need to pacify them until we get our barrings, not engaged in hot conflict with them.

>As I said the idea of creating a special barbarian force to replace the eunuchs is the solution
And pray tell, how would that make them MORE loyal to us and the empire? That'll just end up opening the palace gates to foreign invaders! We're better off building up the royal guard from scratch, at least then we can trust that they won't open up our gates to the enemy! I swear, we're gonna end up deposed and dead by the end of this thread with the ideas we're coming up with.
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>>5225807
>And pray tell, how would that make them MORE loyal to us and the empire?

>Do you know what the Varangian Guard was?

I don't want to teach a history lesson but in short, they would be killed if the emperor died, the description being that the population itself would tear them apart if they weren't the royal guard, this worked in real history for good reason. Seriously have a quick read on the wiki.
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>>5225754
>It's more likely to backfire on our finance
I believe we are coming from different places here. You are assuming that the Administration has utility in its current form at all. As we can already see by the sore state domestically and the fact that we are already broke, the Administration is NOT doing what it is supposed to in its current state.

I also think you underestimate how much wealth is currently squared away by corrupt men in charge of the Empire's finances. It is not just currency that we would be confiscating, it will be land, assets, goods, etc. All of which can be of immediate use compared to complete lack of resources we have now. Our tax base, the peasantry, is depleted. We know that many powerful nobles and individuals hoard wealth and men jealously for themselves. A corruption sting can give us justification to go after individuals who actively parasite off the Empire while enriching our coffers. Much of it is rightfully ours as well.

>I don't think we'll find many incorruptible enemies of his mate.
Maybe, maybe not. We can however, find people who can be loyal to the hand that feeds them, especially if we appoint these people.

>I'd rather take a corrupt but independent Administration rather than split it three ways and have to deal with three factions over administrative matters.
Have you heard of coalition building? The army has interests in things running things smoothly. The church wants our ear, while understanding that a strong military means a strong faith. The Navy is extremely weakened, but I am sure understands this all the same and would be easier for us to control. There are bureaucrats that administrate for the army, church, and navy, and with the help of those that remain in the administration, they can make the trains run on time. We are not sending executive leaders that would really shake things up. We would be requesting scholars and academics to bolster the Administration post-purge.

>Have the public rally in support of the General while publicly revealing our political allegiances straight out of the gate?
Messaging is everything. By doing this ourselves we are setting the narrative for all those who observe. The Strategos is our subject. By thanking him for bringing the corruption to our attention (which he did do), while we take initiative to clean it up, we are making clear the dynamics of authority. That he came to the Emperor for help. All the while, to the court, it'll seem like Isaac is on our side which bolsters our weak starting position as he is a formidable man. By going after the corrupt Administration, we would also win points with him.

>all you'll do is drive important people to hate us, not to woo us and curry favors from the Emperor.
Anon, I believe we have to get involved to get allies. We can't play neutral as our position is tenable. Being Emperor carries weight, but we're a new Emperor with questionable legitimacy. We need to establish our authority.
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>>5225828
When you said barbarian, I assumed those at our gates. It may work, but it will take time, time in which we will have to pacify our household servants.
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>>5225834
>As we can already see by the sore state domestically and the fact that we are already broke, the Administration is NOT doing what it is supposed to in its current state.
I agree, but you assume we could fix it with no knowledge of the internal politics of the Administration or how it's supposed to function. It'll be like a child playing with chemicals, it won't end well.

>I also think you underestimate how much wealth is currently squared away by corrupt men in charge of the Empire's finances.
I think you underestimate how much we rely on a functional Administration right now, even in its corrupt state. Without a functional administration, we ain't getting taxes (and despite what you may think, taxing the corrupt bureaucracy and seizing their property won't cover the budget shortfall of the taxman not getting taxes from the rich, the merchants, or the poor, not to mention the logistics of actually supplying food to our armies, enfeebled as they may be currently, at least they ain't starving. It will take decades to unfuck the administration properly without fucking our empire over in the process.

>Have you heard of coalition building?
The problem is making sure the coalition needs us to function, and giving them Administrative authority is making them self-sufficient outside of our powerbase. It's literally safer and in our interests for us to keep the Administration independent from the other factions.

>Messaging is everything
I like controlling the narrative, so you won me over there, but this will weaken the empire until we get the Administration sorted out.

>We need to establish our authority.
I can agree to that, I just want you to realize that this is a larger gamble than you're making it out to be. Once we move, we'll have to commit, and it will weaken us if an invasion happens.
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Methinks we shouldn't start purges without any competent candidates to replace them. Turning ourselves into a Mao tier paranoid schizo because our subordinates aren't kissing our ass every 5 seconds is no way to run a functioning, prosperous country, let alone an empire on the edge of collapse.
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>>5225847
Or caligula/Nero tier schizo, probably more relevant.
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>>5225847
>>5225850
Like father like son, hahaha. I think we should probably hold off on mass-executions until we've cemented our powerbase. Avienus needs to go, however. Preferably subtly.
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>>5225846
> It'll be like a child playing with chemicals, it won't end well.
This is a fair point, although I think in-character we might be able to understand competently because of our academic background.
>It will take decades to unfuck the administration properly without fucking our empire over in the process
I don't think we have decades, and even then, unless you are more specific about potential solutions, the only way I see corruption in the highest levels of our bureaucracy getting addressed is by heads rolling. Under the justification of our father's death and the state of the Empire, we can easily scapegoat Avienus and his cronies.
> It's literally safer and in our interests for us to keep the Administration independent from the other factions.
You make a good point. Perhaps we don't need to involve other factions since we would only need to target the major ringleaders associated with Avienius while we intimidate the low level lackeys to actually do their job. We then elevate either ambitious but competent careerists or actually loyal people to leadership. I am sure some midlevel functionary who kept his head down would love his boss's job and could do it well enough. Those who are small-time offenders or are repentant would be subject to audits and a watchful eye.

>>5225847
Ok then, what about just the major leaders or offenders?
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>>5225728
I +1 this idea. Yes Avienus is sus but we should really look into all of this before going full Stalin on our court.
>>5225847
This basically.
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>>5225474
>Lock down the city. No one enters, no one leaves.
>Order everyone searched.

>Write In
- Silence. We talk, and the people we order or talk with will then answer.
- Start an investigation, we need someone (a doctor preferably) to see what kind of poison was given to our father and how expensive it is, from which region is from and so on (maybe it smells a lot ? maybe it leaves some color on clothing even when inside a container ecc ..). Have this doctor use gloves and a piece of cloth over his mouth. We don't know if the rest of the emperor's robes, crown and insignia could be poisoned. Give this doctor space for look at the emperor body, also a table. Put some guards around him so nobody gets touchy with clues.
- For the moment don't shoot anyone down, but give orders and look for clues. If we find enough, maybe we can say something that can make sense and throw an accusation against someone.
- Both the secretary and our uncle are suspicious since they both left in a hurry. The secretary didn't really want to talk to us, and just wanted to leave. I would say the secretary, but hold our horses for now.
- Ask a servant and a guard to go and get us a blade, a armor and an older imperial crown, this is more a symbol than our true coronation. Having them on us is for show we are taking our position RIGHT NOW, and we don't want to get assassinated in our court since our father just died.
- Call the six figures of the emperor court, without their entourage. We will have to talk with them while the investigation continues. Preferably divide them, don't put them together.

>Have Armentarius to calm the court, he has more experience.
At the same time, it needs to be seen that we give the order to him, and tell him to have two of our guards on our sides (plus him). Complete silence would be good and no movement of people. Don't beat to death people yet though. A harsh voice and a show of martial strength, yes.
>Have somebody make a list with everyone that attended court and every servant.
There should be a scribe or more on hand, give him a guard for protect him and ensure the list is done. Then he gets back to us and reads it, not with a loud voice.
>Send guards to the harbor and to the houses of those who left early.
Have another scribe give us paper and a table, so we can quickly write imperial orders on paper with our seal. Then give it to each sergeant of the emperor guard and send them with their group of guards where we want.
>Order every servant to be searched and interrogated.
Divide them and the courtiers, in two distinct groups. Then divide them between occupations. Have guards around them.
>Make sure we are seen giving these orders, to show initiative
^^^ This, but do it in a clean matter and one order at the time. And again complete silence in the court, so is easier.


>>5225478

Yes is nice
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>>5225529
Wo there
>kill all the eunuchs
>just invite foreign barbarians and replace the entire guard
We have no influence first we need to show we are professional and follow a method before attacking anyone. We need to look not like our father, people will get scared quickly if we act like him. Some balance is needed, we will attack someone and harshly at that. If we do it without nothing though, it will reflect on us badly.
Also do remember that our guard, literally did fought and protected us against assassins yesterday and not just that they retrieved us from our village. Hell they give us tips on how to use a horse. They didn't need to do one single thing of that, they could have just done something else and maybe ensure our death or injury, or disease, or us looking dumb or drunk/drugged.
That is a show of loyalty, small, but it's one.
While it might have worked for someone else, it doesn't mean it will work the same here. This is still a sort of fantasy setting.
I think we could look on creating guards from orphaned or abandoned children, all of imperial origin not barbarian. Barbarians could still plot and get their people to attack us in an intelligent way.
Kids not so much, maybe we should build a fortress where to train them and put them away from other influences beside our own. It could be good to have them educated alongside our future kids, so that they share a bond.
Still this is future talking, we should check the emperor guards first. If it's not too shit they don't need to be thrown all in the fire.

>>5225555
quads
Better no, now the situation is delicate.
We should do it when we have resolved the situation (throw an accusation and give justice to one we think culprit {uncle or secretary being possible culprits to take}. Or find the actual culprit if we are lucky), and when our official coronation is done.
Even so we might still not announce when we are done with this problem. A marriage is a political weapon, and could create a solid alliance between us and someone else.
But we could also look for someone with no ties, that would be more loyal and useful to us. And wouldn't make our kids our enemies, parents usually hold half and half of attention, love and education of kids in their minds and hearts. Unless parents treat them badly and compromize that natural behaviour.
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>>5226157
>Don't go crazy and purge the entire political system and our royal guard, that'd be bad
>make child soldiers instead!
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>>5226214
Didn't said we will not purge just that we have no influence at the moment. Having some proof would help, otherwise we aren't cutting some branches, we cut an entire tree and expect things to be ok afterwards.
Yeah is a crazy idea to be honest, but not an ultimatum on what we need do in regard to the guards. I am ok with other ideas, the kids one is kind of grim i admit. But I wouldn't put my trust on a complete barbarian nobody. And again we still don't know much about our own guards, before giving judgment we should see how they are.
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>>5226157

>Our guard, literally did fought and protected us against assassins yesterday.
Let's go one more time, the palace bodyguards weren't protecting us, they were following the orders of the emperor, who is now dead. We still have to talk to them to find out if they supported us in the coronation.

>I think we could look on creating guards from orphaned or abandoned children.
The reason foreign bodyguards work is for logical reasons, the same ones that make foreigners the best tax collectors.
We, as Emperor, are the only guarantee that they will live, as they are foreigners they have no connection or alliances with any of the other factions, and even if they try to join a conspiracy the chance of them dying at the end of it would be too great, (they are barbarians, not retards.)
Third, their lives would be much better serving us than risking themselves on random battlegrounds. If they fail and we are murdered, it is a guarantee that they will also die and the traditional guard will return with the new emperor. My plan is logical, it takes a maximum of three months to implement and we know it is capable of working. Your plan, it takes years that we don't have, and the hope that these kids won't be influenced by anyone else, which is nothing more than positive thoughts.

>Some balance is needed, we will attack someone and harshly at that.
A corrupt tax collector is one thing, an organization that has fundamentally failed in its mission is quite another. By the way I didn't say to have them killed immediately, I said that until the gates open again this faction that proved to be almost useless has to be destroyed. Seriously, what's the argument you or another anonymous person has for letting them die after such a display of incompetence? Or do you think that castrating someone more loyal will be difficult? Just ask the patriarch for good-hearted people to help us with the palace servants until our foreign protection arrives, who would be crazy to invade the Palace and massacre church men?
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All this autism is a beautiful sight to behold and a sign of a good quest to come (so long as OP keeps it up).

Anyway, locking down the city seems to have a lot of support. I want to propose a caveat to this - to lock down the city and the palace complex separately. If there is someone we want to have some words with, it'll be much easier to comb through the staff if they're all still at the palace rather than having to track them down in the alleys and hidey-holes in the city. The city lockdown should be a second layer of security.
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>>5226259
It really does make you realise how people like Nero and Caligula become the way they are. Our character hasn't even been crowned emperor yet and anons are already drawing up proscriptions and looking at everyone around us with suspicion. I had expected we'd do our best to overcome the trials of dealing with the empire and court while striving to fix this mess of an empire, but we may just end up becoming a cold-blooded tyrant.
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>>5226314
Yeah, anons need to back off on that before they dive headfirst into paranoia. The old bastard might not even have been murdered at all, just keeled from a pulmonary embolism or something over since we knew he was on death's door already. We also know there are definitely bad actors out there with us in their crosshairs that need to be investigated as a matter of urgency before they can do something stupid, but if anything locking down the palace and the city allows us time to try and get a handle on things with everyone here, before everyone else knows and without interference.

Before we start chopping heads, fact-finding investigations and audits need to be run since we do not know much ourselves about the wider Empire and information we get from people here will be through their own personal lenses. While the state of things needs attention asap, flailing around and jumping to conclusions just risks further harm.
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>>5225474
>>Lock down the city. No one enters, no one leaves.
>>Order everyone searched.

Lets hold off on purges for the moment
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>>5226238
We still have to talk to them, yeah as soon as we can. An emperor that was crazy in the head, old and not in good health. While they might obey orders out of fear of him, they would be dumb on not seeing the opportunity of gaining the trust and favor of the prince.

Humans are not logical all the time, bar bar are not exactly that or our people for that matter. There are also plenty of problems with it, and we don't know if it would go the same way as the varangians.
We know next to nothing of the barbarians which we would take. What we know is that the empire has enemies on its doors, half heretics and the other half heathens, and barbarians would probably be made of pagans.
What do we do since we still hold no influence, if they decide to sell us or betray us ? Never mind theymight not even talk our language so we have strangers talking a tongue we don't even know and that defends us. Barbarians are already many in the army with the mercenaries' presence, having more and in a position that would give them a considerable amount of power would send the wrong message.

Simple, i want us to hold something before making accusations, what we know now is little. While we are the emperor we are also a complete nobody, bastard, peasant and with no accomplishments. Let's get something to use and throw at them, beyond mere words.
For example, in the case of our dear administrator we should take hold of the papers about taxation and see how much goes in our treasury, and how much in his pockets.
>>
Lock down the city 12

Order everyone searched 10

Have Armentarius to calm the court 2

Have somebody make a list with everyone that attended court and every servant 2

Send guards to the harbour and to the houses of those who left early 2

Order every servant to be searched and interrogated 1

Make sure we are seen giving these orders, to show initiative 2

retrieve Protasekretis Avienus 1

Arrest Avienus 2

Call for a council 4

Summon Fulgentius for a private meeting 2

Meet privately with the ones we haven't met 2

Silence everyone 1

call for a doctor 1

Clad in regalia 1

Okay, I have a general idea on what to write.
>>
“Hear our words !” Your voice shaking, you call out, mimicking your father’s words you heard mere hours ago.

”We hear !” As one, entirely out of instinct, respond the courtiers. The room now descending into silence, listening for your every word.

Domestikos Armentarius !” The man falls to one knee as you call his name. “We hereby command you to prevent anyone from entering and leaving the royal palace, the royal district and the city as a whole. Gather the Scholae Tagmata, I want everyone within the palace searched and investigated.”

“As you command !” Receiving his orders, he swiftly departs.

“Eunuch !” You call out.

“Yes, your majesty.” Quickly steps out one of the countless faces.

“Have the royal physician examine my father and the cause of all this.” The Eunuch bows, quickly rushing off.

It’s good that I was able to read a treatise on the imperial court.

“Guards !” The man standing next to the walls snap at attention. “Protect the body, ensure that no one comes near it.”

Chartoularios tou kanikleiou (keeper of the imperial inkstand) !”

“Your majesty.” Bowing responds an elderly man, dressed in yellow velvets.

“Have the list of all those who attended the court, including their servants, prepared for my inspection. I also need parchment and ink, for I have decrees to issue.”

“I shall guide you to the Royal office at once, your majesty.”

“Very well, lead the way.” Thanks to your education, you know that the imperial seal needed for decrees and commands cannot leave the Royal office.

You depart the throne room, your guards already beginning their search. Other members of the Scholae, six in total, fall in and surround you. Surprisingly, your mind is clear, you have a plan of action already forming in your mind, perhaps rulership is truly in one’s blood ? Some of your thoughts turning towards dark corners certainly make you think so, as you already ponder whether or not a purge may be necessary.

Swiftly arriving at the Royal office, you are shocked by its sheer size. It is not a working room as you had imaged, rather, it is an entire complex in and of itself. A separate kitchen, already manned by servants preparing the Emperor’s meals, look upon in curiosity, but they quickly avert their gazes noticing your guards. There are separate baths, both hot and cold, a sweating room, massage room, exercise room, a general parlour in which one could entertain guests, on the side you see doors leading to individual bedrooms. Finally, you do reach the officer part, of the royal office.

Seating yourself into the fine cushy chair behind a large oak desk decorated with ivory, ebony, and gold. Your mind cannot help but turn and wonder how many heads of cattle you could acquire by selling this singular piece of furniture.
>>
>>5226588

Kanikleiou.” You say beginning to write, your neat and tidy script quickly filling the page.

“Yes, your majesty ?”

“Bring me my father’s armour and sword, as well as a royal diadem.”

“Understood, your majesty, but before I leave, though this is lacking in ceremony, I must present you this.”

Gingerly and with great care, he hands you over a single expertly crafted small box made out of mithril. A rare and expensive material, the heat required to work is so intense that it requires specialized facilities to forge even a single blade, and even then, one to forge it must be one of the greatest smith’s in an era.

You take the cool, but surprisingly light box and open in. Within it, on a purple cushion, rests the imperial seal, symbol of your office. The seal is made entirely out of jade, a beautifully carved wolf, so life like that if you stare at it long enough, you swear you can see in draw breath. The seal itself, as you flip it over, depicts the royal diadem, with intricate designs, carvings, and saying of authority all around it, to make it as difficult as possible for anyone to forge it.

With his duty done, the old man departs, leaving you alone in the office, the doors leading to it guarded by your men.

What a strange thought, my men. People that I command, not friends, nor family, but obedient servants.

Writing out six separate decrees in but a few minutes, you call out.

“Guard.” Reacting to your voice, one of the men opens the door and steps in. “Have these delivered to the domestikos. Tell him that I wish for them to be kept separate and in comfort.”

“As you command, your majesty.” Quickly taking your decrees, the man sets off.

And now, having quickly secured the precarious situation, you are left to do nothing but wait. And wait you shall, but not locked up in the office, no matter how your instincts scream at you to do so, you never were the sociable sort. No, you shall return to the throne room, you are the Emperor, and you will act like one, but before that, you learn the art of presentation.

The servants scurry around you, strapping you into the heavy, uncomfortable steel armour. You’d wish you had mithril, but that legendary material is so difficult to work with, that at most you can expect to posses a single box in the entire empire.

Finally, stuffed heavily in articulate plate armour, decorated to the extreme, a golden wolf set into your chest piece, a flowing purple cloak trailing behind you, the crown-helmet rattling as you move. You return to the throne room.

There, a wise looking man, with thinning grey hair, dressed in thick white cloth clothes, a mask covering his face, glass set where his eyes should be, allowing for sight whilst providing protection from the environments. Thick leather gloves also cover the man’s hands, ensuring that nothing infectious could spread upon him.
>>
>>5226591

The sight of the new emperor, clad in armour, quiets the murmuring room.

“Physician, what have you found ?”

Rising from the body, the man bows before you. “Your majesty. I have examined your kin.” His muffled voice states. “Judging by the blueing of lips and the coughing up of blood, I can ascertain that his death was caused by blood filling his majesty’s lungs.”

A painful way to die.

“What had caused it ?”

“The closest possibility would be poison transmitted by air. A mixture coms to mind, Blutatem, literally meaning blood breath. It originates from the Lucenian forested homeland.”

“So, it came from the East.” You say pondering, slowly making your way to one of the braziers emitting the pleasing smell of incense. “Can it be burnt ?”

Realizing your implications, the physician arrives to the closest brazier to the throne, the one you are currently standing next to. He begins scooping up some ash and begins to sift through it. “Hmmm…This small stick.” He points out a burnt piece of wood, barely the length of his pinkie finger. “Wodern, a harmless plant by itself, if slightly poisonous, but it is one of the main ingredients of Blutatem. The amount around us harmless, as long as we do not breathe too deeply. Given enough time, it is possible for the poison to accumulate to the point of lethality, no matter how dispersed.”

“Thank you, physician. Move my father’s body, with respect.”

“Naturally, your majesty.” Bowing he responds.

With your father’s body removed, still clad in the heavy, sweaty, uncomfortable armour, you sit upon the throne. Awaiting your domestikos to return.

Minutes pass, before finally, a messenger arrives. Dropping to his knees and kowtowing before you. “Your majesty, the gates have been closed. No ships are allowed to leave port. Domestikos Armentarius wishes to inform you that Megas doux Mundus had left port before the city was closed down. Strategos Isaac had also departed for the East before your decree was issued, alongside prōtoproedros Leontius.”

You frown at that. Not good. Three out of six are gone.

“And the others ?”

Oikoumenikós Patriárchēs Anatolius, hears you decree and obeys. He should be arriving soon. Parakoimomenos Fulgentius is waiting for your command within his chamber, isolated as you had commanded.”

“And Protasekretis Avienus ?”

Hesitating for a moment, the guard speaks up. “The protasekretis had been dragged out of a whorehouse, he is currently being escorted by the domestikos.” He finishes his report.

Chartoularios tou kanikleiou, has the list been assembled ?”

“It has, your majesty.”

>Issue decrees for the arrest of someone (Who?)

>Converse with someone (Who?)

>Torture for a confession (Who?)

>(Write in)
>>
File: Immediate situation.png (731 KB, 4479x2792)
731 KB
731 KB .png
I had forgotten to post this yesterday.

The scale is basically Europe + The Mediterranean.
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>>5226594
>Converse with Avienus
Try and see if we can wrangle the truth out of him subtly if it's him, do with him what we wish.

Then,

>Converse with the Patriarch
The soothing words of those who know deeply of the Shepherd can calm our mind
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>>5226594
>Send a member of the Scholae to investigate the harbour to learn where Mundus has gone, in which ship, with whom he was, etc.
>Converse with Armentarius after he finishes escorting Avienus to his room about enything he saw while out there, before sending him to interrogate Fulgentius.
>Meanwhile, inspect the list we ordered.
>Meet with Armentarius and have him told us everything he learned before sending him to interrogate Avienus while we play good cop with Fulgentius.
>Keep doing this to any person of interest to see if there are any contradictions in their story.
>>
>>5226613
A game of clue it is, support

I fear everyone has forgotten our dear uncle as well however.
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>>5226594
>Converse with someone (Anatolius, Fulgentius)

My bet? It's a plot between Issac and Leontius, to frame the East and have Issac focus our ire there while he lead his men to success, only to turn around to March on the Capital. Avienus clearly didn't do it, at best he's a corrupt Pycelle, not looking to create waves so he can embezzle funds. Question is, do we rid ourselves of him or use his corruption as an attack against Issac during his military campaign against the East? The Enuch is an unknown factor, but I don't think he necessarily benefited for Dad's death.

How can we benefit from this mess? We could start purging the Administration and either sic Issac on the East or focus our attention elsewhere.
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>>5226616
Why do you think I said any person of interest?
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>>5226595

QM I'm sorry to bother but the Latin/Greek is confusing the hell out of me, maybe because I'm a complete idiot? Yes. But still, I would be grateful if the characters' titles were written in English, if that's possible of course.
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>>5226625

I can keep writing titles like I had when I previously introduced them for the first time, like this: Oikoumenikós Patriárchēs (ecumenical patriarch) Anatolius. If that would be preferable to you anons.

(Forgot formatting)
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>>5226594
Well well.
Our show of force sort of worked that s nice. The Blutatem sounds like it costs a lot.
Now our general, admiral and the head of the senate are not here. And would you look at that the Administrator was with some whores, while the emperor died .... too strange. But it does give us more ammo against the Administrator. Our uncle i think was also going east and we had a conversation of barely moments. Too much hurry

>Write in
- Have our Physician make further controls on the poison. Having done that, control if the Blutatem or small parts of it, are present on clothing or objects of the people in the court.
- Have a servant bring us the latest military orders given to our admiral and general. After that the last decisions from the senate. And any recent report from our eunuch and our administratror. Before our father died. This might reveal something.
- Done that read the list one of our scribes did.

>Converse with someone (Who?)
- Take a small break (a bit of rest, water and food nothing extravagant), and talk with Armentarius about the current things. Especially what he has found.
- Then we talk with Fulgentius
- After that Anatolius, and thank him for be here. We can ask him what he thinks personally.
- And lastly Avienus.


>>5226595
Really nice map

>>5226631
That s fine for me. Works well
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>>5226594
>Create a decree forbidding our general and our admiral to conduct any military incursions without our authorization.
This decree has two functions, the first is to test the loyalty of the two if they insist on moving the troops or the navy without our authorization we will have a clue where to look for traitors. It is the second function and that of publicly showing our authority over the Imperial army and navy.

>Create a Prison Decree for our uncle.
Between the way our father was murdered or how he was going to benefit, we have no choice but to kill him fast, the worst case would be civil war at the beginning of our reign. The reason for a decree of arrest is that if he resists, we can wash our hands of public opinion by giving the Execution order, if he doesn't resist we execute him in jail and no one will talk about it anymore.

>Meet with the leaders while still in the capital.
Just to save our time, literally no reason not to talk to all of them.
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>>5226633
Sounds good to me.
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>>5226616
If it was our uncle, he would wait in the Capital and kill us as well. This my be a Ceaser play by Issac, casus belli on the East to gain wealth and military might, then march on Rome to make himself Emperor. Question is, how do we use his strategic genius to bring the East back in the fold without turning Issac into Ceaser?
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>>5226636
If those two do decide to disobey our orders and go gallivaning off on a military adventure, is there anything we could actually do to stop them? They may well command more of the military's loyalty (or at least their good remaining troops) than we do and, if that is the case, could already pull off a coup at their discretion.
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>>5226594
>Ask where our Uncle is governor of
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>>5226644
The military's loyalty is to the purse strings. You must simply prevent them from getting rich by their military leaders hands, or supplied by a foreign power.

We need to start figuring out our game plan and priorities, so we begin working toward fixing some of our Empire's problems and begin mitigating some of the obvious risks to our rule.
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>>5226640
There are a couple of questions to be answered: does he have a faction of supporters? is the status quo bad enough to warrant a Caesar? and is it in his best interest to revolt? If the answer to both of those is yes than we have a Caesar situation. However, those have their counters:
We can combat the influence of his supporters back here to ensure he doesn't have the political and administrative power to overthrow us(one of the reasons I don't want to go swords blazing and purge the administration since we can make use of their rivalry to keep both of them on a leash).
We can make ourself a fair, just and moral ruler so that the people won't support him. The chuch would play a big part in this so we sould gather as much of their support as we could within reason(fasting on Not!Sundays, returning holy artifacts, building and renovating churches, etc.)
As for the last one, that's the tricky part, we should try and place us and him in the same "do our best for the empire" image while making it clear that WE are the empire and at the same time we should give him just enough freedom and glory to not have a reason to bear a grudge while we take the lion's share of prestige for improving the empire.
I still think we should aim for sainthood and be an actual moral ruler despite all the machialvellian stuff we'll be doing.
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>>5226640
We could slow him with something, send a co-general or even go ourselves with him.
Is not easy honestly, but there is some stuff we can do here. Perhaps gain the heart of the city for a start.

>>5226644
Perhaps supplies, training of more troops , or calling for a general review of forces. Maybe new equipment and see if they can become better prepared for battle and what now. All things for slow and see if we can be there looking at things
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>>5226594
This kid's not even eighteen and he's already orating to and locking down an imperial court. What a chad. I'm not too wise on politicking but I'd wager we shouldn't hesitate to lean on the Patriarch. He has every advantsge to gain from keeping us safe and sound.

>>5226595
Now this is a cool map.

>>5226633
I personally like either or, this is an extremely atmospheric quest.
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>>5226652
Actually, I remember they said the Empire makes heavy use of mercs, so the loyalty to whoever pays them goes double and if he offers them more, they'd go over to his side with the snap of a finger. They'd be much more threat after they've managed to make some conquests now. Paranoia is not healthy, but we should try and come up with a means to ensure their loyalty without obstructing their mission or pissing them off or at least try and get a gauge on their loyalties and motivations.

All this intrigue and political machinations makes my head hurt. Once we've got a handle on the immediate situation we can properly get down to business. After the mess is sorted, we could consider the creation of what essentially amounts to a secret police organisation loyal and reporting directly to us to proactively investigate things like this on the down-low.

>>5226659
>spoiler
If we have to keep control with the jackboot, we're doing something wrong. If we're competent, genuinely try to act in the interest of our Empire and subjects and address internal problems before they get out of hand, we shouldn't need to rule by fear though the realities of the era and court politics will still require backroom scheming, tactful internal application of force and putting the fright up people when needed.

I've missed having a good civ quest since No Gods No Masters and 40KAI. I'd rather this one doesn't make "gets more elaborate and autistic until the QM burns out a few threads in" three for three
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>>5226659
Honestly let s check a possible situation for marriages.

1 With General. He might not want full power, and he likely realize that another emperor will not stabilize the empire. If he doesn't want to go full Caesar, a marriage for solidfy the army position could be a objective.
2 Head of Senate. Leontius could give us a marriage, but we are a bastard and a peasant. He likely doesn't like us for that. But if we marry any kids would be noble.
3 Admiral. The navy needs help, he could have interest in a marriage.
4 Church. He doesn't want heretics, pagans or corruption. He likes our education, he could send an holy woman or a woman from a pious noble family connected to the church.
5 We find it on our own. Will require time honestly. Unless we already know someone in our village.
6 Akoeine, Lucenians or a strong barbarian tribe on the borders. Very unexpected and wild.

The problem with marriage is that we are a bastard and a peasant. Of course this is only for political marriages and not all care of noble blood.
Having a peasant background give us an idea of how our people live, their problems, needs and so on. This can be useful for gain their favour.
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>>5226700
>After the mess is sorted, we could consider the creation of what essentially amounts to a secret police organisation loyal and reporting directly to us to proactively investigate things like this on the down-low.
A very good idea.... wait a moment.
You know what's strange why those assasins on the road wheren't stop by assasins or spies of the emperor, before they attacked the guards ?
There is likely a 7 figure of importance and that would be a imperial spymaster, it must not be public knowledge but I doubt a spymaster figure doesn't exist. Having someone leading spies and assasinsis important for any state, even an empire. Or that our father didn't have imperial assasins and spies serving him.
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>>5226712
Mate what? Out of everything you said, the only probable thing would be Leontius because he's a noble. Do we even know if Isaac or Mundus have anyone to marry off and the church doesn't work that way.
Stop thinking in terms of feudal kingdoms, here we are playing by bizantine rules so instead of vasals and political marrying we have courtiers and clerico-military rule. Who we were doesn't matter now that we are the emperor and as THE emperor we don't have to court the favour of others as much as they have to court ours so do you want a Marie Antoinette or a Theodora?
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>>5226741
Now you mention it, that is a very real possibility. If he had a spymaster (very likely), finding out their identity will be a challenge if nobody knows and if they've gone rogue and dislike us that could be a very real problem. Still, how do you fight spies? With more spies! Soon our court will entirely of spies.
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>>5226594
>>Issue decrees for the arrest of someone (Who?)

Avienus.
>>
>>5226743
No to be fair we don't know anything of them, our conversations are all brief. Beside the Patriarch. But we are still a fairly isolate and very new emperor (1½ days of staying in the capital, and minutes of being the emperor), I wouldn't say our imperial power can do a lot now. When we establish ourselves it probably will.
In regard to our origins, i would say they matter in some way perhaps not the same way of feudal kingdoms but I wouldn't write them off completely.
Probably Theodora.

>>5226758
I am thinking either :
1 They are waiting for some odd reason. Maybe they want to see how we deal with the investigation. Perhaps they are also underequipped, with few members and money (like other imperial organizations) ?
2 They turned traitor/rogue, and could be the weapon behind the assasination of our father.
3 Our uncle. It would be strange, but he left the capital very quickly. Maybe he didn't though. Unlikely as an option

Without any help or previous knowledge finding the spymaster and the spies would be difficult. And if they are traitors or rogue, we would be at disadvantage since they know how to move in the capital and in the empire.
I agree on more spies, finding someone to trust for build our spies again will not be easy.
>>
>>5226594
Supporting >>5226613 and >>5226635
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>>5226700
>spoiler

I think having those civ quests run like Supreme Space Monke Ruler would cut down on some of the numbers autism. Unfortunately, this is 4chan, at best you can mitigate the worst of the autism, but not get rid of it completely.
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>>5226766
>I agree on more spies, finding someone to trust for build our spies again will not be easy.
We clearly need to cultivate a Vulpes Inculta.
>>
>>5226613
Support.

>>5226636
Please, just stop with the proscriptions already. They may become necessary, but our reign should not start off with executions of important personages, members of the imperial family no less. If we are going to kill anyone please get some fucking proof or justification instead of a simple "off with his head!" Executing people without just cause is the surest way to get ourselves killed by someone with a grudge.

>>5226636
>>5226644
Based on our conversation with Isaac, we don't have much of a military or navy. So unless we empty the already empty treasury to build up an army, they aren't going to coup us just yet. But we do need to build them up, you can't run an empire with a non-existent functioning military, if only for the fact that if they don't get rid of you, the invading hordes of barbarians will.

>>5226652
I think that we need to start unfucking the administration first. The treasury is empty and Avienus is clearly incompetent and corrupt. But we should not execute or imprison him without a proper cause or replacement for him, we need to build a base of loyal, competent men that we can rely on that can work on reforming the administration, preferably before we tear it all down and are left with ruins.

>>5226659
I agree with this. I would rather we were a just and honest ruler that manages the intrigues of the court and empire without turning into a tyrant.
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>>5226887
In a land with no soldiers, the man with one soldier rules. I agree that I don't think they could or would march on us yet, but it remains a possibility for later especially if they have most of what army we do have with them. Rebuilding the army will be challenging if so many men of fighting age have already been lost and our manpower pool depleted to start with. The sooner we get rid of the mercs the better.

There certainly is a lot of trash we need to take out within most branches of the government with Avienus' Administratum high on the priority list. As I've said already, we need to do a thorough investigation and audit of the whole place first, which would hopefully get to the bottom of what Avienus has been doing and figure out what's fucked at the same time so we can unfuck it and while we wait we can get some replacements lined up and sharpen the (metaphorical) axe.
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>>5226595
Looking at the map again the capital could need to be moved to a more central position if we get back the lands in the east. Be a new capital or a city that is already there.
All the magnates lands together are of similar size to our own. A reconquest would be a long campaign, so unfeasible with the current conditions of the military.
Next turn we should send new orders to our adimiral and general, Mundus should patrol coasts and Isaac prepare defenses at the border with the magnates and not advance, instead stop and train the current army.
At the moment we are too weak for go to war, Akeoine and Lucenians could use a conflict in the east between us and the magnates.
Then there is also the barbarians, we can expect large invasions/raids from the west continent and from that large forest in the east, beyond that lake. From the north we can expect smaller raids/invasions. In the future we could take those small islands in the north, and use them for stop any barbarian fleet coming from the west/north-west. Is better to fight them there and in the sea, than have them land on the peninsula.
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>>5226644
>Here we go again...
First for my points to make sense it's necessary that you pay attention to the map, ok? One, if the general decides to become a caesar and start a campaign we will be forced to pay for him not to receive a coup d'etat, if he wins he will give us a coup d'etat, if he loses we don't have an army anymore and we will suffer a coup d'etat. BUT if he is within our empire, these possibilities decrease, and it would be easier to repel an enemy invasion. You can apply the same for the Admiral.

>But what if he decides to ignore us?
Alas because they are in Imperial territory we can raise one of their rivals in their place as long as they are already in the respective factions. Yes, my ideas are thought to have more than one use.

>>5226887
>Anon Let me be very clear this isn't a fucking democracy,
This isn't Rome during the Republic. This is the last days of the Byzantine empire and the empire's existence and our lives are at risk. Stick that benevolent ruler attitude up your ass. This shit doesn't work in this period, where did you get the idea that leaving loose ends will solve something you little shit? Do you think having no proof that the army supports us is a good idea? Or that our dear uncle was not responsible for clearly killing our father's descendants so that he could assume the throne?
>What if he didn't do anything?
Then some other faction can use him, (even against hits on will) to usurp us. Don't confuse survival in a medieval noble world with your partetic modern morality.

>>5226712
The nap option can give us inner peace, because barbarians could use marriage as an excuse to seize the throne. And partially external peace, because a part of them will stop attacking the empire.
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>>5227413
I hate writing with autocorrect, it's horrible. What I meant at the end is the last option or in this case the sixth is the best.
>>
“Soldier.” Turning to the man still kowtowing, you say. “We desire for you to go to the docks and learn where Megas doux (Megaduke) Mundus went. What ship and with whom ?”

The man quickly rises and runs out, following your command.

“Eunuch.”

Bowing, a servant approaches.

“Call for the physician once more. I wish for him to see if there are poisons present on clothing or objects of the people in the court.”

“This servant understands.” Bowing once again, he departs.

Chartoularios tou kanikleiou (keeper of the imperial inkstand), follow us back to the royal office. We desire for you to prepare the latest military orders given to our admirals and generals. After that the last decisions from the senate. And any recent reports from our eunuchs and our administrators. As well as the gathered list.”

“I hear and obey.” The man quickly responds.

Stepping from the throne, you once again depart. Having made the show and dance of being in armour, you cannot wait to get out of it. You feel dizzy and short of breath. With the palace being kept warm even in winter, you wonder how those guards can stand without even flinching.

Returning back to the office, and quickly stripping out of the armour. You get to what you do best – reading. Not only that, but reading and comprehending everything laid out in front of you.

Rapidly sorting through the piles of documents, you are able to learn a few interesting things:

The armyStrategos (General) Isaac had been officially deployed to the Orospulón (east mountain). The Lucenian tribes that had originally invaded the Empire are being agitated to try and attempt to cross the mountain range and strike the imperial heartlands. Most of the mercenaries had been directed there in preparations for a defensive war. Judging by official reports, large numbers of supplies have also been dedicated for the campaign. However, presuming what Isaac said is true, the report may not be entirely accurate.

The navyMegas doux (Megaduke) Mundus is to assemble what he can and hold off Akeoinen incursions and raids against imperial islands. The assigned force is “made up of willing and valorous volunteers, true patriots of the empire”. Meaning, fishermen, and conscripted merchant ships, no doubt.

The SenatePrōtoproedros (senior president) Leontius had overseen a senatorial debate about the raising of a new tax to support upcoming campaigns. It should be noted that most of the senate voted in approval to willingly volunteer two horse riders per household for the upcoming campaigns.

The palaceParakoimomenos (one who sleeps nearby) Fulgentius had recently overseen a large purchase of incense for the palace grounds. The price for it was paid through the selling of minor palatial titles.
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>>5227657

The administrationProtasekretis (first secretary) Avienus had reported an overall uptick in economic growth, a glowing review of the administration as a whole. He had also positively remarked about the Maniakes family, and their great support when it comes to keeping the imperial treasury from nosediving, written in a more positive and flowery language, but that is what it boils down to.

Maniakes ? Even I heard about them back home. The richest merchant family in the empire. Entire merchant fleets sail under their banner and trade with faraway lands.

It is then that you notice something peculiar. Avienus’s last name – Maniakes.

The list – Looking through the list. You recognize but a few names upon it, mainly the names that Domestikos (domestic, commander) Armentarius pointed out to you. For you, this list seems meaningless, if you were more skilled in diplomacy, you might have been able to remember the names and titles of some courtiers, and the things they blabbered about. You may need to find someone else to inspect the list and find any discrepancies.

You ponder for a moment. Sorting out the information you had acquired. Looking through the various documentation, you were also able to learn that your uncle, Photius, had been assigned governor of the théma (placement, district) Orospulón (east mountain).

Though you had been a ruler for less than a day, paranoia starts to flare and you sign up decrees preventing your admirals and generals from conducting military excursions without your approval. As well as a decree for the arrest of your uncle. You do not stamp them, and put them behind key and lock in your table. Hopefully these decrees shall lay there, untouched and unmoved, but you never know how things may change.

Suddenly, a knock on the door snaps you back to reality.

“Your majesty. Oikoumenikós Patriárchēs (ecumenical patriarch) Anatolius has arrived as you decreed.” Informs you a voice.

“Allow his all holiness in, pl-“. You catch yourself; an emperor should never say “please” to his servants.

The door opens, and through it steps Anatolius. He appears calm and collected, his white clothes unstained and perfect as ever.

“Your majesty.” You do not know how to feel, mere hours ago, he had referred to you as prince, and now you became a majesty.

“Your all holiness, please, sit. I want your opinion on the situation.”

Accepting your offer, he begins to speak. “A divine judgement.”

Startled, you give him a questioning look. “The previous emperor had sinned. He had been cruel and unforgiving. Whilst the Shepherd encourages the wielding of one’s sword for righteousness, he had also commanded for it to be tempered by one’s mercy and forgiveness.”

“And my father had not achieved the balanced demanded.” You simply state.
>>
>>5227658

“Correct. His humours were out of balance. Choleric Humour dominating him for as long as he had reigned.” He concludes.

“And how do I solves this ? The murderer or murderers still have to be found.” You continue to question.

“Murder for no reason is a great sin. Sins weigh heavily upon one’s soul. Guilt shall consume them; the Shepherd will not guide them to the endless fields. Allow me to talk to those you suspect, they shall confess for that is the only way to absolve their crimes and reach peace of mind.” His calm, soothing voice answers.

“Thank you, your all holiness, I shall consider your offer.”

“Worry not, your highness. Your soul is pure, and the Shepherd shall guide and protect you as long as your faith stays strong.”

With that final blessing, Anatolius rises and departs your office.

You wait, sorting through more documents. For no real reason other than the fact that it calms you. Simply reading and sorting through them reminds you of your calm and simple childhood. Unfortunately, after an unknown amount of time, your attention is drawn by another knock on the door.

Your majesty, domestikos (domestic, commander) Armentarius is fishing to meet you.

Rising from your seat, you simply march towards the door and open it, seemingly startling the servant.

Domestikos (domestic, commander).” You call out.

“Your majesty.” He responds with a bow.

“Join me for lunch. I just realized that I’ve yet to break fast.”

“As you command, your majesty.” He obeys your command.

You quickly head over to the small dining room. Where as you had ordered, a light serving of food had been prepared. Fried cheesecake balls dipped in honey, a serving of salad, fresh serving of white bread, pure and beautiful, incomparable to the rough one you had in the village, a serving of honeyed fruits, and a collection of cheeses, boiled eggs, and some fish.

Greedily digging in, you realize that Armentarius had not touched his food at all.

Feeling slightly awkward, you remember that without the emperor’s permission, no one may eat.

“You may eat.”

“Thank you for your generosity, your majesty.” He bows, before starting to carefully eat.

“Tell me, what had you observed and heard when you arrested Avienus ?” You question in between bites.

“The Protasekretis (first secretary) had been found naked in the middle of strenuous activities. I had conversed with the madam of the house. He had always been a regular at the house and that was one of his favourite girls. She said that he paid heavily for her exclusivity and that he always arrived around the same time, be it rain or snow.”

“So as the Emperor died, he was having intercourse ? Was he aware of the happenings on in the palace ?”

“It does not appear so, your majesty. He was very confused when he heard that the Emperor had summoned it. He told us to wait until he was finished.”

“Did you ?”
>>
>>5227661

Staring impassively at you, he responds. “No.”

You could not hold back your curiosity, after all, you are a young man.

“Did you learn or see anything else ?”

“Unfortunately, no. There has been nothing else of note that I had observed.”

“Once you are finished, I wish for you to interrogate parakoimomenos (one who sleeps nearby) Fulgentius. Find out if he had anything to do with this.”

“As you command, your majesty.” He rises, food in front of him left half eaten, and swiftly departs.

Realizing that you had accidently cut the man’s lunch short, you too rise and begin heading towards where Avienus is kept under house arrest.

Now out of your armour, you move with ease and reach his room in short order.

Opening the door, you step in.

“My Prince !” A concerned looking Avienus cries out. “Please my Prince, tell me what is going on ? How have I angered his majesty ?”

“By going to the whorehouse, as he choked on his own blood.”

“I- what…?”

“I am the Emperor, my father had passed mere hours ago.”

“Co-congratulations, your majesty.” He says, kowtowing before you. His fat getting in the way.

“I have a question for you.”

“Of course, your majesty ! This humble servant shall answer any and all questions that you may have for me !”

“You are a member of the illustrious Maniakes family ?”

“Yes, your majesty. My father is the head of the house.”

“Had you recently sold the palace incense ?”

“Incense ? Ah, yes, my father did mention some thing like that. We generously provided the imperial family for simple courtly titles, not taking a single penny as a sign of our great loyalty.”

“Had you traded with the Lucenian tribes in the East ?”

“O- of course not, we, we would never trade with the empire’s enemies, no matter how easy or profitable it may be.”

Before you can continue your questioning Armentarius opens the door.

“Your majesty, a moment of your attention.” Bowing he requests.

“Relax Avienus, if you have nothing to hide, nothing shall happen to you.” You throw that out, as he begins to squirm.

Leaving the room, you ask. “What is happening ?”

“Fulgentius refuses to utter a word to anyone but the emperor. I’ve yet to lay my hands on him, due to his courtly rank, but if you desire so, I could order him tortured.”

“No. Not for now at least. I shall meet him. Lead the way.” You order.

Quickly you arrive and enter the room set aside for Fulgentius. Armentarius waiting for you on the other side of the door.

Rising from his seat, the eunuch bows deeply. “Your majesty, congratulations on your ascension.”

“Thank you, eunuch. Why do you wish to meet us ?”

“I merely wish to remark that I am entirely responsible for the death of the previous emperor.” Calmly he states.
>>
>>5227663

You stare at the man in shock.

“Why ?”

“Greed.” He simply remarks.

Are the tales of the greed of eunuchs true then ?

“Do you have anything else you wish to say ?”

“No, your majesty.”

You turn around and depart the room. Things seems to be progressing…well ?

>Accept Anatolius’s offer.

>Order the execution of Fulgentius.

>Give the list to someone. (Who?)

>Converse with someone (Who?)

>Torture for a confession (Who?)

>(Write in)
>>
Just to give you anons an idea of how large the empire was.
>>
>>5227664
That just feels far too convenient.

>>Converse with someone (Who?)

Return to Avienus, let us pretend the Eunuch has implicated him and try to see if he bites.

For now let us keep the Eunuch under guard, I doubt we would get much from torturing him.
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>>5227664
>(Write in)
Order Fulgentius to be placed in the dungeon for the time being.
Check the decrees we wrote to see if they are still there/if they were moved.
Order the domestikos to overview the guest list for any discrepancies while we continue to interrogate Avienus.
Have the patriarch talk with Avienus after we interrogate him, for more mental exhaustion and also to learn of whatever sins he did that we could take advantage of.
Order a meeting with all our servants that we send to investigate the murder(the soldier, the physician, etc.), to establish all the current facts.
After that, personally interogate Fulgentius to see if his story contradicts with the facts.
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>>5227664
>Give the list to someone. (Who?)
>Converse with someone (Who?)
Anatolius, Fulgentius, Avienus. Let's see how they react individually, maybe we'll come to a better informed opinion on this instead of an uninformed one.

After
>Accept Anatolius’s offer.

Maybe we could promote Avienus out of his current administrative job, clear the way for someone more competent and less corrupt to the position that'll owe us. That way we get rid of Avienus while avoiding pissing off the Maniakes. Hell, maybe we'll get a kickback for giving his son an even more prestigious position.
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>>5227666
sorry to bother you but what exactly are the obligations of the senate and administrators? What is responsible and does what?
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>>5227664
>Converse with someone (Fulgentius)
It can't be that simple, or if it is, at least have him explain with a bit more detail. If he refuses, torture him to reveal any conspirators. Then

>Order the execution of Fulgentius.
It's the law.

>Accept Anatolius’s offer.
The Patriarch's a kind man, this service he's offering us could be a great help. I refuse to believe Fulgentius worked alone.
>>
>>5227680
Also
>>Accept Anatolius’s offer.
>>
>>5227680
>>5227684
I like that, put the fear of God into Avienus at being implicated, he'll leak more shit to us, we let the Patriarch talk to him, let Avienus stew on it, then come back to exonerate him, stating it was revealed that Fulgentius lied in an attempt to shift the blame. That way, Avienus feels indebted to us, we avoid a tussle with the Maniakes, and the Patriarch takes a confession of an important hendonist and feels like he assisted us and was influential.

Now all that needs to be done is to find and punish the real culprits, and vet people for the position of Household Enuch.
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>>5227664
QM by the way do we have access to fantasy silk?
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>>5227697

The senate is a legislative body of the empire. They more or less rubber stamp whatever the emperor decrees, but it is also a place in which the rich and power can connect with one another and express their grievances and the general stand of the nobility on any given issue. So they are useful for the emperor to keep an eye on things. The administration is more or less what you'd expect. They run day to day business of the empire, collecting taxes, building and maintaining public structures and infrastructure, allocating funds where needed. Through them, the emperor runs his empire.
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>>5227703

Could you clarify ?
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>>5227664
I was right twice, I just wanted to make that very clear. We cannot touch the son of such an influential family.

>Let Avienus go in peace, but let's arrange a meeting with the patriarch of his family.
>Pass the other two decrees for Quest to last longer than ten posts, fuck moral fag's!
>Order an investigation into our chief tax collector.
>Mister castrated, why exactly?
QM Would it be possible to summarize the barbaric nations around us?
>>
>>5227710
The Byzantines were famous for stealing the secret to making Chinese silk, do we have an equivalent product?
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>>5227702
This. We should say that the eunuch confessed that he got the poison via the incense shipment of his family.(which could actually be linked to the murder)
Also, I am the only one that finds the timing of Fulgentius' confession weird? In the same 24 hours since we began the investigation and the so called culprit already turned himself in sayin he did so because of a stereotypical vice, not to mention the fact that he did so after we wrote those decrees. I think that he is covering for someone else for reasons unknown.
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>>5227664
>Accept Anatolius’s offer.
Sure, he can make some inquiries and have some chats. I'm not convinced they'd fess up like that, but no harm in seeing what he can do.
Fulgentius can stay in the clink for now. We still need to wheedle a story out of him and he may be covering for others.
Combining >>5227684 >>5227689, we can fake out a few people like that and then send in Anatolius after we're done with them. I'm not fully convinced Avienus is involved in the murder (if it even was a murder, I think he just poisoned himself with mercury thanks to the (already executed) quacks telling him it would bring immortality, which was very common in this era, and was finished off by a pulmonary oedema) beyond being corrupt beyond belief (and seems to have been getting away with it quite happily), but we can go along with the plan for him as well. In any case, we'll have to somehow get rid of him without antagonising the family unless he is actually involved in which case he gets the chop.
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>>5227666
Gentlemen, thanks to the hard work of our noble QM, I came up with a plan to build the empire. It consists of three steps:

First, avoid internal and external wars at all costs, if innocent people have to die, so be it. if we have to marry a foreign princess, so be it. If we have to give a little extermination to anything but factions of the empire, so be it. Peace at all costs.

Second, the complete revitalization of our empire. Tax reforms, land reforms, recruitment reform, administrative reform, and lastly government reform. If this part is successfully reached we can resume expansion and reconquest, how do we know if we have reached that point? We will have our debts paid and our army will be at least eighty percent imperial citizens.

Third, make sure our heir doesn't go through this shit, the rest of our lives will be dedicated to transforming the empire into an absolutist monarchy, with a strong and powerful royal house.
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>>5227722
>Check 'em
>>
>>5227664
>>Order the execution of Fulgentius.
>>
>>5227757
It's not a good idea to have him killed now, if he has the audacity to say he murdered our father, it's because he has something we don't have, a plan. Even if he dies, we will accompany him soon after.
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>>5227664
>DO NOT kill Fulgentius.
Come on guys, he's obviously not planning to flee or kill us ourselves, the guy has something planned, he's banking on the fact that we'll want to keep him on. We need to find out what.
>Converse with someone (Who?)
Fulgentius, interrogate him on the exact reasons he killed our father and why he's confessing to us. Also ask him why he did it so soon after we arrived, if he was going to kill him shouldn't he have done it after he had gotten a better idea of what we, the successor, were like?
Then talk to Avienus, and make it very clear that we suspect him very strongly. We can overlook the visits to the whorehouse, but the convenience of being there while his Emperor was being murdered is a little too suspect. Once we've sufficiently shaken him,
>Accept Anatolius’s offer.
Send him to interrogate Avienus. The mans sins are obviously many, and even if he didn't murder our father the patriarch should reveal enough dirt on him to either keep him under our thumb or give us justification for removing him.
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>>5227770
>>5227786

Agreed, there is something amiss. Outright executing him has to be part of the plan, if we do so we play into it.
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>>5227664
Supporting >>5227684
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>>5227684
This is a reasonable plan. In case my IP's changed I'm >>5226693, but this is about what I'd written out myself before checking the thread.
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>>5227664
>Converse with someone (Who?)
- Fulgentius, you shall wait for now. When i return i want to know how you would be the one behind, and i also want to know about where the imperial spies and assassins are, since yesterday the guard was attacked in the open when they should have had no problems with support. The emperor guard attacked on the road without a single spy of the emperor, not informing them of possible foes ? Ridicolous.
- Press Avienus a bit more about his hedonistic life and administration problems. Not a lot, but enough to get out of him more info. His current mental state should help us.

>Accept Anatolius’s offer.
If he wants to help sure. When the investigation is done, we would like to talk about our father funeral and our coronation.

- Send letters to Mundus and Isaac, and ask them to report for the movement of our enemies on their "frontiers". In addition if they can make an evaluation of the imperial military and the numbers of it. As well a list of the main issues that should be resolved for their parts of the military (supplies, equipment and so on). For the moment continue their current orders, though if possible give training to their forces at least the one that are too green.
- Send a letter to Leontious, we want to talk with him face to face SOON, about the current political climate of the empire (what political parties there are in the senate, and which has the majority. is a noble house pissed at another ecc ...), as well possible new laws.

While the investigation continues, is time for some small moves for get some cash back. With some immediate small decisions :
- Sell the majority of the incense that was bought, keep only a small amount for our father funeral and other functions.
- Changing meals at the court. We will go for something similar to what we usually eat at our village, it will have some variation (like more fish, meat or cheese) but nothing incredible or expensive. The food in excess can be split as charity and distributed to the low classes of the city, while the rest should be split and send as supplies to army/navy (make it clear that's the emperor is giving this things).
- Cutting on courtesans and entertainers. We should cut the excess of them. It doesn't mean all, but less is better. Some should be kept more to show what kind of tastes we have in terms of art, music and so on and what we want our court to look like.
- Cut on animals, specifically court animals. Keep the dogs for security/hunting. In fact, get one to keep with us at all times. Dogs aren't interested in politics, so it will obey us and protect us.
- Cut on clothing/regalia. We likely don't need a big wardrobe, using our father one should suffice. Besides that we can buy some practical clothing in case we exercise or go out, nothing expensive.

If anyone has traces of the poison put them in a cell obviously.

>>5227666
nice


>>5227684
also support
>>
So its clear that Avienus may just ne a useful idiot in all of this that acquired the aorborne eastern poisons later used by Fulgentius. But the Eunuch is not fearing death and we must think back to the discrepencies in those documents and assign someone to look them over. Excuting him now feels like we're playing into someone elses plan so I would hold off on that as well
>>
>>5227684
+1'ing this
>>
>>5228305
The specific lifestyle changes seem like a good idea to me, I would support it. Especially the idea of a loyal dog by our side.
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>>5227664
Yeah, I'd support >>5228305 as well in addition to my other vote.
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>>5227713

>The Byzantines were famous for stealing the secret to making Chinese silk, do we have an equivalent product?

Yes, you are capable of silk production, combined with purple dye it is your most profitable trade good. The main facilities for such are located on your islands.

>>5227712

QM Would it be possible to summarize the barbaric nations around us?

The two main barbarian nations of concern are the:

Akeoinians - originally coming from the western continent. Their overall armies tend to be small, but heavily armed, made up primarily of men in plate armour upon just as equally armoured horses. Their charges are devastating and in melee combat they excel. In order to make up for numbers disadvantages, they raise levy armies, poorly armed and equipped peasant militias for limited campaign periods. They have a strong tendency towards decentralization and more or less negligence as long as taxes are paid and men are there when needed for war. This indifference makes their ruling style relatively popular if causing internal fragmentation and petty squabbling if there is not greater threat to unite them.

Lucenians - a tribal federation that had migrated from the Eastern forests. Being a tribal alliance, their political union is tumultuous at best. As it stands now, they are busy settling into their newly conquered lands, and preparing for the inevitable response from the empire. They prefer guerilla warfare, ambushes, raids. They do not posses large numbers of cavalry, and what they do have is lightly armed and oriented towards skirmishing. Though their infantry usually tends to be well equipped, usually clad in chainmail, shields, spears and swords. They tend to be pretty fast upon the battlefield despite their equipment.
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>>5228663
To add to that query, who inhabits the other lands now? Were they conquered by organised peoples similar to the Lucenians and Akeoinians, or did individual petty tribes simply fill the gap of the fading Imperial administration or something similar?
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>>5228663
>Yes, you are capable of silk production, combined with purple dye it is your most profitable trade good. The main facilities for such are located on your islands.
>on your islands
Fuck lmao.
>>
>>5228663
How do forest barbarians treat our taxpayers?

This barbaric confederation has a leader if not supreme, at least relevant among them? With a hot busty daughter with long golden hair and eyes the color of the purest sapphire, in the perfect age for marriage?
>>
Your mind is working without stop, and you cannot help but wonder, why ? Why now ?

Curiosity being perhaps your greatest vice, you turn around and re-enter the room.

“Why did you kill my father soon after I arrived ? Why did you not wait ? Would it not be logical to await to see what sort of person I would be ? Would I be vengeful or merciful ?” You barrage the man with questions, just like you did back in your village to the priest, a small glimmer of your younger self shining through.

Remaining impassive, he simply responds. “I do not wish to demean you, your majesty, but your appearance had changed nothing. The plan was in motion long before you arrived, and it was carried out till the end.”

“What plan ?”

“A simple plan. A puppet would willingly give more than a wilful man like your father.”

“And I, a young man from a village, did not meet your requirements ?”

“Were you not educated, perhaps. But you quickly seized the moment of greatest panic. Establishing your authority.”

“And you plotted all of this, alone ?”

“Of course not. Plans like these require many agents. But they are nothing more than unwitting puppets. Either blind, or already silenced.”

“I see. Do you have anything more to confess ?”

“No, as I said previously. I do a piece of advice, your majesty. Trust no one. That is something your father did well, but he allowed that paranoia to consume him.”

“If my father was as paranoid as you say, why did his spies not find you ?”

The man simply smiles. “Who does a paranoid man fear the most than those who make it a profession in dealing with secrets ?”

“So he purged them, leave himself exposed to people like you ?”

“No doubt he expected to replace them at one point or another, just like how he did with the coins. My, was he proud to show them to everyone. Silver, true silver, with his mighty profile forged into them, and the imperial wolf showing his ferocity.” With nostalgia in his voice, Fulgentius says.

Without anymore words, in silence you depart.

“[i]Domestikos[/i] (domestic, commander), have Fulgentius put into the dungeon. He had confessed in carrying out regicide.” You state pondering. “I do not think that he worked alone. Find out everything, torture him if you have no other choice.” You feel a sense of unease, a churning in your stomach as you give this cruel order. “Once you are done with your task, return to my office, I will instruct [i]chartoularios tou kanikleiou[/i] (keeper of the imperial inkstand) to give you the list of all those that attended court today. Look for discrepancies, anything that might raise suspicions or would be unusual.”

“As you command, your majesty.” Bowing, he accepts your command and swiftly departs.
>>
>>5228874

You yourself, for the peace of your mind return to the royal office, deliver your instructions, check to see if your decrees are still where you left them, and swiftly draft a new one for Fulgentius’s execution. Once more, you do not stamp it, but keep it prepared in case you need it. The drawer in which you keep these documents is secured under key and lock, with metal inlays around it, attached to the desk, any attempts at its removal will be loud, very loud. Even then, it would take a long time for someone to breakthrough.

Once you secure everything in your office, you return to the room where [i]Protasekretis[/i] (first secretary) Avienus is still nervously fidgeting.

Mustering the best wrathful expression you can, you stare at the rotund man. Allowing for silence to hang in the air, you watch as he begins to sweat nervously.

“[i]Parakoimomenos[/i] (one who sleeps nearby) Fulgentius has confessed that you were involved in the murder of the Emperor.”

Eyes widening, he begins to panic. “Lies ! Slander ! Your majesty, do not trust the words of a man whose no better than a woman ! Just for his greed he lies and tries to implicate me !” Sweating nervously, like a startled pig, the man begins professing his innocence.

“A poison was used to kill my father. A poison that spreads through the air, and it was used in incense burners. Incense that was purchased from your family. And it is your family that is capable of acquiring exotic poisons.”

His eyes dart back and forth, observing the room, you, the door, the window, and the room again.

He drops to his knees and starts professing. “Your majesty, I beg of you ! See reason. I am but a humble, loyal servant wishing for nothing more than to simply serve your excellence !”

“We shall see how much truth you hold. For now, I recommend that you pray for your eternal soul. I shall invite his all holiness for your confession.” You watch as the man’s face pales at your words.

“Your ma-“ His words are cut short as you close the door.

You turn towards the man standing next to the door and smile. “Your all holiness, I shall be relying upon on you for this difficult request.”

“I shall endeavour to do so, your majesty.” [i]Oikoumenikós Patriárchēs[/i] (ecumenical patriarch) Anatolius responds. You had invited him here shortly after dealing with the matters in your office.

With that matter done with, you quickly return to the throne room, which you find empty besides the guards and the physician.

“Where are the courtiers.” You question ?

“Your majesty, the courtiers had retired to their chambers. I had also located a few servants with tracks of poison upon their clothing.” The muffled voice of the physician informs you as he bows deeply.

“Are they in the dungeon ?”

“They have been moved there for immediate interrogation, your majesty.” Responds one of the guards, bowing deeply as well.
>>
>>5228875

“I recognize you. Tell me, what of the [i]Megas doux[/i] (Megaduke) ?”

“Reporting !” He drops to one knee. “[i]Megas doux[/i] (Megaduke) Mundus had departed using his own private galley and with his own servants. The direction in which he left was towards the South.”

You simply nod at the report.

“Quickly put down a list of those with the traces of poison and deliver it to my office.” You say turning to the physician.

“As you command, your majesty.”

Dealing with the situation, you quickly depart back to your office.

Sitting down there, you simply take a moment to rest and be in peace, for you know that it will soon be shattered. But your mind, as always, cannot help but wonder, just how badly you need money, as you stare at the extravagant painting on the wall. Perhaps you could cut expenses here and there ? Simpler meals, less servants, perhaps no more incense, after this incident. You don’t think anyone would mind, would they ?

Your blissful thoughts on economics and calculations are interrupted, as someone knocks on the door.

“Enter.”

“Your majesty. Fulgentius has been secured in the dungeon. I’v eyet to touch him, but he has refused to speak any further.” Informs you Armentarius

“I see. Have you looked through the list ? Also the list from the physician ?”

“Yes, your majesty. I had inspected them. They all appear to be servants of the palace, but I this is the first time I had heard about them.”

“Oh ? When did we last acquire servants.” You say both to Armentarius and yourself, as you start digging through the documents.

“I do not know, your majesty. Servants were never my responsibility.”

You do not respond, as you sift through the documentation, [red]thanks to your education, you are able to notice minute details in the documents.[/red] Such as the fact, that before employment, the new servants used to be upper class servants for the nobility when it came to dealing with trade matters.

Before you can even begin thinking what this might imply. Again, the door is knocked at.

“His all holiness requests an audience.” Says a servants voice.

“Allow him inside.” You say.

Quickly stepping through the door, a disgusted and angered looking Anatolius steps inside and bows.

“Your majesty.”

“You all holiness, you look unwell.”

“I had listened to [i]protasekretis[/i] (first secretary) Avienus and his sins. And they are plenty and endless. I dare not sully your ears, but the man should be condemned to wonder alone and forgotten in the afterlife without the Shepherds guidance. He could continue confessing his sins to me for hours to come before he runs out.” With a dour expression he exclaims.

“Your majesty !” Calls out a voice from the other end of he door.

“What is it ?” You answer in annoyance.
>>
>>5228876

“The head of house Maniakes wishes for an audience.” Nervously responds the servant.

>Accept the request.

>Decline the request.

>Go down to the dungeon and interrogate the prisoners.

>Converse with someone (Who?)

>Torture for a confession (Who?)

>(Write in)
>>
>>5228844

>How do forest barbarians treat our taxpayers?

As far as you would be aware, with indifference. With a lot of the countryside depopulated, they had more or less begun to intermarry and settle in their new lands.

>This barbaric confederation has a leader if not supreme, at least relevant among them? With a hot busty daughter with long golden hair and eyes the color of the purest sapphire, in the perfect age for marriage?

It is a rotating council of leadership. Every year, one of the main tribe reigns, before they are replaced by the next in line. So no one tribe is overly dominant.

The are no hot busty daughters that you are aware of.
>>
>>5228879
>Accept the request.
No reason not to. He is probably here to lobby for the release of his son, but it will be good to speak to one of the richest and therefore most influential men in the empire. We should keep the patriarch with us in the meeting, he's the one who knows most of Avienus's crimes afterall. Best to lean on the fact that he's under a severe cloud of suspicion; mayhaps we can kill two birds with one stone and set Avienus free if the father pledges to help us fix the administration or some other favour like that.

>Converse with someone
Armentarius. Get his opinion on the whole situation, and ask him what our father would have done. We want to know more about how he ran things, if only to see what we should avoid doing.
>Post members of our personal guard outside Fulmentarius's cell.
I wouldn't be surprised if he had a way of getting out. If our personal guard fails to make sure he remains in his cell, it shames them and gives us some leverage over them, and if they succeed they succeed.
>>
>>5228882
Shit, either way one of those tribes should be on the border, with any luck our princess will be there.

>>5228879
Anons please listen to me, we know that the Eunuchs are our enemies, besides the fact that a member of one of the most influential families involved in the empire indicates to me that the Senate will not be easily converted to our side either.

This part is my paranoia, but the fact that the Chief of Taxes says that this year the taxes were paid with no money in particular, gives the idea that he really has to be investigated for the chance of him participating in these "Plans."

We have an enemy faction, two that could be enemies, one that seems to be on our side luckily, and two neutral so far. We need to come to an agreement with the navy and the army.
>>
>>5228899
+1 The most cohesive actions at the moment.
>>
>>5228899
+1
Also, send Armentarius to interrogate the servants while we deal with the Maniakes
>>
>>5228879
>>Accept the request.
>>
>>5228879
It appears that we have weeds to find and uproot, but we must be measured in this lest we self-destruct what is left of our administration out of paranoia. As we can assume they have infiltrated the old guard, we could seek to appoint some new advisors who are less likely to be involved in the conspiracy - we will be relying heavily on our advisors for the time being while we get the hang of this, and it offers an ample opportunity to unwittingly manipulate us.
Ah, evil eunuchs. Such a classic trope.
>Accept the request.
Do you have an appointment, sir?
I assume he's here about Avienus. If he is indeed involved in the plot, they'll have to have a serious offer for us if he's not to hang. If he is just a mundane kleptocrat, they can have him when we're done so long as he's far away from where he can do damage, and if he has to be let go to avoid souring relations so be it. Either way, we also clearly need to start looking for a new protasekretis asap - start asking around for recommendations and have a list of candidates drawn up.

I don't know if I'm adding two and two and getting twenty-two, but the vibe I'm getting from this is that some of the noble families plotted to have our father killed in the hope that we'd be a more biddable puppet ruler for their interests?

Also the rest of >>5228899
>>
>>5228879
>>Accept the request.
>>
>>5228899
support
really bad that our father decided to kill the cloak and dagger boys, we will need to remake them very soon. They are a basic thing to have.


>>5228912
also support
>>
>>5228899
Support.

Guilty or not we can leverage the Maniakes in some way or another with the implication alone. Of course they were merely unwitting pawns, we can understand that. However, their lack of diligence shall cost them. Personally, I would say we attempt to get a cut of their income to help fill the coffers or have them help rebuild the navy. Perhaps raise a force of marines that answer to us?
>>
>>5228879
Supporting >>5228899
>>
>>5228305
+1 for lifestyle change, sell it maybe as a pious lifestyle
>>
No point torturing the eunuch unless some Anon here has some medieval MKUltra techniques they'd like to share with us. Might as well leave him isolated and keep a close eye on everything that goes in and out of his new abode.
>>5228905
I hope we don't 100% think with our dicks here, marrying a distant barbarian could end up creating unrest and damage our reputation. Unless there's another civilized state somewhere we could court as respectable allies its probably best to marry one of the more influential families within our own borders.
>>5228905
+1
>>
>>5229491
The Akeoine would be a better choice than the barbarians as far as that goes, using marriage to bring the back into the fold would probably be better though
>>
>>5228669

>To add to that query, who inhabits the other lands now? Were they conquered by organised peoples similar to the Lucenians and Akeoinians, or did individual petty tribes simply fill the gap of the fading Imperial administration or something similar?

They're proper organized states. Mainly feudal kingdoms and some republics continuously at each other's throats.
>>
>>5229646
Like the post-Roman barbarian kingdoms? How is the Imperial rump state with them - do we trade? Do they pose a threat to us?
>>
>>5229650

The west had slipped from imperial hands centuries ago. By this point in time the medieval kingdoms are on the level of sophistication like late medieval France, being the best example. They powerful armies, experienced from numerous wars, relatively large populations, capable of sustaining said wars. If they were to unite under a single banner, they could most certainly pose an existential threat to the empire.

As for the republics, they tend to be powerful maritime nations, though their fleets are usually ad hoc gathered from merchants, but they are experienced.

As for the question of trade. Your Empire produces silks, exceptional jewelry and various glass products. So your overall trade volume is rather small, but the things you trade are exceptionally valuable.
>>
“Invite him in, We shall meet him in the throne room.” You order.

“Armentarius, tell me. In this situation, what would have my father done ?” Turning towards him, you ask with uncertainty in your eyes.

The man’s face shows an indifferent expression, before with an even tone stating. “He would have bathed the court in blood.”

“I- I see.” The thought of so much bloodshed makes you uneasy. You had seen your fair share of blood and deaths, but those were slaughtered animals, or people dying due to disease or old age, to simply massacre everyone just feels, wrong. You wonder if one day, you too shall become jaded, having to deal with attacks upon your life one after another day after day.

Pushing away your self-doubt, you turn towards Anatolius. “Your all holiness, if you would accompany me for this meeting.”

“Of course, your majesty.” With a quick bow, he responds.

“Oh, and a couple of things.” You say once again looking at the leader of your guard. “The servants that were imprisoned, interrogate them. Find out what they know. And make sure that Fulmentarius's cell is guarded by your most trustworthy men.” You feel like an executioner, dropping his blade.

“As you command so shall it be.” He responds before departing.

You follow after, but diverge as you head towards a room that will not be cold and damp.

Re-entering the chamber, you sit upon the lavish throne.

And once again, your mind wanders.

[blue]Just this throne alone would pay for all of the village’s needs for a decade, no, a century ![/blue]

The sound of the great chamber’s doors opening interrupts you.

Far away, you see a hunched figure, kowtowing. Slowly, painfully, he proceeds to make his way closer to your throne, not once lifting his head. His clothes appear bare and simple, something closer like mere undergarments, a simple white tunic and a leather pants. No fine jewels, materials or anything of the sort is on the man.

You also feel a pang of guilt, as his age reminds of you those grandfathers in your home. His grey hair cannot hide his baldness and wrinkles. The strain of kowtowing for what amounts to good fifty metres seems to have exhausted him, but eventually, he does reach you.

“Critobulus of house Maniakes. Begs for most humble audience and morsel of your time, your majesty.” Reports one of the eunuchs, reading from a scroll.

You nod towards him. “Their majesty grants you permission to speak, lowly servant.” The eunuch proceeds with what you assume if the protocol for such meetings. You know a little on how to handle things, but many finer details will still have to be studied.

“Your majesty, this humble servant had come here to plead for your infinite mercy. I wish to make a case for he safety of my son. He is a loyal subject of the empire and a servant most blessed to be under your employ. So, I plead, your majesty, please spare his life.”
>>
>>5229802

“He is accused of regicide. Those are strong charges. How can you guarantee that he is innocent ? That he had nothing to do with it. Your son should have been executed for his sins.” Anatolius quickly lambasts the man.

“I am but a father wishing for his son’s safety. To showcase the loyalty of our house, I hereby swear to pay for all coronation expenses of your majesty, and the funeral expenses of his late majesty.” He says nervously. “I also shall extend the time for the returning of the loan of the previous emperor that he used for his monetary reform, and I shall charge no interest upon it.”

“Do you think mare base desires such as these move his highness ?” Anatolius questions.

“Eunuch, what is our outstanding loan to house Maniakes ?” You question.

“Ninety million silver basilikas.”

“And our early revenue ?”

“From five to twenty million silver basilikas. However, thanks to the late emperor’s reforms, a more stable number of twenty million silver basilikas is expected, now that we will not have to deal with the goods taken as taxes from peasants.” Remarks the eunuch. You are of half mind to ask about your other outstanding debts, but not for now at least. And you most certainly dread to learn about your expenses.

“And when was this loan due ?” You ask.

“In three years’ time, your majesty.”

“And for how long you shall extend this ?”

“To ten years from now, your majesty.”

>Accept the deal.

>Decline the deal.

>Maybe think of something else ? (Write in)
>>
>>5229805
>>Accept the deal.
>>
>>5229805
>Accept the deal.

What have we to lose? We can make more than enough money to pay it in that amount of time I believe, even with expenses.
>>
>>5229657
Interesting.

So, if we were to pursue a political marriage our best options would be one of the feudal states to the west, an Akeonian house, or a rebelling magnate.

Personally I think bringing the rebels back into the fold would be the best option if it can be pursued. Of course, if we could find another peaceful way, it'd be nice to keep that option on the table.

>>5229805
>(Write in)

It's a good deal, but could the guilt of his son not also extend to house Maniakes itself? Surely the incense delivered by his house brings guilt by association as well.

Truly, it is understandable that they were unwitting pawns and we can forgive them.

In addition to the proposed deal, we demand a donation of 5 percent of their projected annual profits to the church, and 10 percent to help in rebuilding the navy. In helping rebuild they navy, they will also help their own profits by helping secure the sea, I might add.
>>
>>5229491
>>5229577

>The idea of barbarian marriage has multiple advantages among them:

Protection against other barbarians, because of the specific marriage with the tribe closest to the border and that they would be our allies by blood. They would keep the other tribes at bay.

>What would guarantee us that they would fulfill their end of the deal?

In exchange for favors such as fairer trade rights, access to advanced services such as medicine, engineering and advanced craftsmanship, of course in addition to small tributes or gifts from time to time.
This is wonderful because it's a territory that we wouldn't have to spend expensive mercenary or our limited number of professional soldiers to defend, besides the area where they are was more or less abandoned in terms of population. With the migration of the barbarians, we can profit from the trade that the population boom can bring.

>Sure they'll keep the deal but what exactly are we going to get out of it?

It is specifically for us it is a line of survival, if we suffer a blow in the worst case, we have a place to go to hide and a ally to put us back on in throne, in the best case the other factions won't try to kill us so easily because the marriage would give royal rights to a barbarian to become emperor. This is the trap, they can deal with us or they can risk a barbarian emperor who would definitely massacre them.

>But what if they fail to serve as a wall against the other barbarians?

Well in that case we can give them asylum using marriage as an excuse and use the remaining barbarian warriors as our personal army. Definitely ending the idea of being a puppet emperor, in the best of case we send reinforcements to help them keeping an alliance stronger and more natural. This is one of the few cases where all sides (that matter) benefit, we will have more political power. The Empire would have more stability, and the Barbarians would gain wealth and technologies that would put them In front of all the other tribes.
That's why this plan has such a chance of succeeding, all the factions (that matter) win, if this alliance works we could even improve our reputation with the patriarch by converting this tribe peacefully to our faith, Norman style like in France.
>>
>>5229825
Rather than marriage to secure a border, why not use marriage as a means to expand that border?

Marry into my line, kneel to me and I'll help make you king of your people. Far better if you ask me.
>>
>>5229805
>Accept the deal.

We definitely can't make any more enemies, especially with the informal empire bank.
>>
>>5229657
Hmm. We should question the actual feasibility of restoring the empire here - We can stabilise what's left of the state, bring the magnates back to heel and eventually subdue the Akeoinians and Lucenians, but restoring its full historical extent may merely be a pipe dream, especially if the states band together in response to encroachment a la the Holy League.
Either way, we likely have a multi-generational project ahead of us.

>>5229805
>Accept the deal.
However, I also propose the demand of exile from the core Imperial territories, still guaranteeing his safety but removing any possibility of coming near us and our affairs again.
>>
>>5229829
A marriage within the bloodline is sentimental and offers no comparable advantage over a barbaric marriage. In addition, a barbarian queen would be easier to control than a princess raised in the political environment. Depending on the situation the Empire would have a queen.
>>
>>5229813
>>5229817
>>5229823
>>5229830
>>5229831
I see everyone wanting to take the deal so I ask, we're not letting his son stay in the administration are we?
>>
>>5229823
Supporting this. A shrewd man like Critobulus might understand that church donations can launder his family's image to the people and that safer seas means better trade.

I think subjecting him to more questioning would be good tho since he's here.
>>
>>5229805
>Accept
>(Write in)
"I can sympatise with you, Critobulus, and I accept your deal, Avienus shall not lose his life, but, for the good continuation of this investigation, he shall remain here until he is proven beyond any doubt to be innocent of my father's murder. I also tell you that his sins are many and he should not be allowed to continue to drown himself in it any longer, it is a tragedy to have loyal sons and doughters of the Empire fall so low. You free to go now, and know that I will not allow anybody to pay with his life for the crime of another."
>>
>>5229838
It's just to save his life, nothing more. He may be innocent anyway
>>
>>5229838
Leave the man accused of killing our father in the same job? Depends If we manage to massacre the Eunuchs faction before the gates reopen? Yes we will have the culprits dead and he will be a free idiot. If we don't destroy these bastards? He will have to get out of position is the only thing we can do for our image.
>>
i just know one thing

we need to have a kid
otherwise the dynasty will just fall apart anyways. with no claims to try and re-unify the empire should it have fallen.
>>
>>5229805
QM this is not a criticism, the quest is well done the writing quality is very good but i would like to ask for something that i think is missing.
Could you give us the next post for me and the other idiots to come up with a proactive plan?
I'm not saying we haven't been proactive so far, but with each post a new problem pops up and we're never able to create a bigger plan for our situation0., We're putting out smaller fires as the palace burns, what I'm asking is for five minutes in our young emperor's head for him to decide how he's going to deal with his enemies.
Without the minor worries, like creating a goal of his own.
>>
>>5229835
Of course, a barbarian queen would further dash our own legitimacy.

>>5229839
Didn't think of that. Giving the church something for their involvement, lets them "pay for their sins", and can be framed as simple religious devotion to the masses.

Then helping rebuild a navy that protects them, and could also expand our reach over the islands, expanding trade. Of course if he were to want to do more to help expand the navy he would be more than welcome.

All in all, we would be asking of things from him that would be mutually beneficial.

Any other anons partial to the idea?

As far as leaving him in his position, he would certainly be obedient to us after all this, and would give cause for house Maniakes to cooperate with us in the future.
>>
>>5229883
Running around putting out fires is very much the job of people in charge sadly.
>>
>>5229883

No worries, I plan on it. This entire thing could be considered a "prologue". Just showcasing how decisions matter and how information could be false or real, how different people interact with each other.

Once this little arc is done with the whole thing will truly open up. And the decisions there will be more directive than minute involvement. Something like Space Monke Quest is a good example on how I will be handling it, with my own writing style, I suppose.
>>
On rebuilding our navy, I'm willing to bet theres tons of pirates hiding about in all those little islands.

What if we were to offer an imperial amnesty? Sure not all would take it, and not all that take it would be useful to us, but we might could gain a decent amount of able bodied sailors and some ships while also cutting down on piracy.
>>
>>5229888
Not being familiar with SMC, I assume that to mean once we're done with the whodunnit, it will transition into more of a civquest?
>>
>>5229885

The right to reign, for bastards, foreigners and new dynasties is measured in merit, ability, and competence.

The barbarian marriage has multiple advantages and proves our competence, do you think the army will revolt because they are less likely to die in war? Or will the Administrators complain about the new trade tariffs? The patriarch will surely abandon us for being given the chance to convert the barbarians. The benefits of this agreement outweigh the risks.
>>
>>5229889

Amnesty for pirates plus a Privateers system for our own navy would help a lot with our numbers at sea.
>>
>>5229957
We're a bastard and a peasant, we are going to be judged heavily on that, then to wed some barbarian girl? There are some who will not look well on that combination and would potentially attempt to remove. With the structure of their people it would be for little gain, raids from other tribes would still happen.

I don't think its the worst idea, I simply think there are better options out there.

>>5229964
It's worth an attempt at least, regaining maritime supremacy would ease a lot of troubles we currently face. I reckon there is plenty to be gained by retaking all those islands as well.
>>
>>5229805
>White in
First rule of being a King, you don't directly accept the deal, instead you ask questions, and instead of accepting you treat him kindly, asking him to break bread with you, indirectly saying you'd agree without stating it outright. Leave the Patriarch with the Father to gather the son. We then say to the son that we'll forgive the son for his sins, and state that the Eunuch recently admitted that he lied about the sons involvement under torture, indirectly making it seem like he owes us one. That should wrap this up quite nicely, with everyone still around either respecting our authority, feeling influential, or fearing our wrath.

>>5229823
I support this, just don't directly bargain for it, mentioned it in a round about way and see if the Father bites.
>>
>>5229957
Though I would say, one of the merits of pursuing a union with some Lucenian tribe or another is that it would be far easier to leverage tribals into making them a vassal and then using that to reunite those lands under us.

I wouldn't be against the idea, though using marriage to bring those magnates back into the fold would be better I think. We need to pinpoint their grievances and figure out who the main players are before anything though.

In my opinion, rebuilding the navy and bringing the rebels back to us should be our priorities.
>>
>>5230002
That is agreeable.
>>
>>5230006

Look, I'm not saying the other marriage options are without merit. Not that the only way to ally or vacate the tribes is through marriage, but without marriage the chance of the tribe in question to keep its word to fight against the other tribes is much lower, even by their logic.

The idea that they allied themselves with us for words or gold would turn the tribe in question into traitors in the eyes of the other tribes, which means that it would take a lot of gold or a lot of concessions to work, and would have the effect of making the other tribes more hostile. .

On the other hand a deal made between family, even if recently married is another story I'm not saying the other tribes would accept this without repercussions but these would still be less than the alternative. And the more time that passes and the better the quality of life in our allied tribe gets, the greater the chance that others will choose diplomacy over time.
>>
>>5229805
>>Accept the deal
>Write in
"There is still many questions left to answer. Aventius work has administratror, from the reports i have read or the voices i have heard wasn't good for the most. In addition your son has sin. Not once, but many times"
"While I am happy that you would pay for coronation and the funeral, i have still not quite decide on them."
"The empire though could use more money. The navy, the army, alongside the treasury it self are in need. A stronger navy would help trade and better protect the coasts for example, something that your house can benefit from."
"The church, well some regular donations could be put to use for do some good work in the name of the Sherpard. Good work is needed in the empire right now."
"Aventius though should pass some trials, and make some vows of penance. Not for wound him or shame him in public, but for make him a proper member of the faith and a man again. A better man, not what he is now."
"Lastly, having House Maniakes support to my rule would be appreaciated. An official one, that all can see."

>>5229823
Support
>>
>>5230006
My priority is to keep peace, ensure we can stabilize the empire and do some work on it. Currently is not great on most things.
The military sucks, both army and navy. Time and money will be needed to make them acceotable.
Cloaks and daggers needs to be remade due to our father mad antics, and they are fundamental for any ruler. And more.
We aren't going to war now, even if the rebels reconquest would be good. Another reason for that, is that our boy could use more education and training. Him being part of the military campaign of the eastern reconquest, maybe even in battle, would improve further his image both in and out of the empire.

>>5228305
Also this list of cuts i have write, this too. We need cash, so a modesty/austerity policy for us should do fine.
>>
>>5229805
>accept the deal
But banish his son from the capital for life for corruption or something other than regicide
>>5230110
and this
>>
>>5229823
Supporting this, but don't demand percentages. We don't want to be seen as too greedy.

Question him on matters of administration too. See if he knows someone who might be able to replace his son, as we can't keep him in his job as is. Someone competent and averse to corruption, as his son may or may not have been.

>>5229838
I hope not. The man is grossly incompetent as is, and he's been implicated in regicide. Retiring to a life of luxury in his father's house seems too generous for him, but we can't piss off the nobility.

>>5230110
This is good too.
>>
>>5229823
Supporting this write in
>>
Ah, I'm late. I'll admit I'd want to determine his innocence or guilt first, but if the deal is ONLY to spare his life then I suppose that is acceptable. I still think he should suffer some form of punishment for his various crimes aside from regicide, if only to save face in front of the patriarch, it wouldn't be good to appear to have been bought off and not dealt out any punishment for the crimes that Aventius has confessed to our religious head personally. If we determine he had a part in killing our father then I suppose we could still spare his life, but I think an even more severe punishment should be doled out than for his other crimes, we cannot make it appear that there is no punishment for regicide.

Supporting >>5229823
>>
>>5229823
+1
>>
>>5229917

>Not being familiar with SMC, I assume that to mean once we're done with the whodunnit, it will transition into more of a civquest?

Basically, yes. You will direct your Empire's and your own focus to certain issues facing the empire. Other things will still be happening in the background, meaning that unaddressed issues could become worse, or they might solve themselves. But that is for background rolls to determine.
>>
>>5230903
Oh boy, we're going to need a pastebin for that if background stuff is important to keep track of. We could do with a dramatis personae already and we're only a few updates in.
>>
>>5229805
>Give him a big wet sloppy kiss to seal the deal.
>>
>>5230903
I glanced over the quest, it seems as though the pacing is a little off to me, time advances too quickly and character interactions aren't all that in depth. Seems a waste to develop characters like this to have them die off so quickly.
>>
“We understand your sincerity.” You state. “However, I must question you further. From what investigations we ordered, much had been discovered. The incense used as means of disguise for the poison was provided by your house, no doubt encouraged by your son.

And speaking of him, his all holiness had witnessed his sins, and they are many as he claims. Naturally, he had not revealed them for that would be breaking of a sacred oath to both God and man.

From the reports I had witnessed, your son had been decadent, corrupt, wasteful.

How would judge you, your all holiness ?”

Antaolius stares at you, his eyes clearly calculating. He finally clears his throat and says. “For extensive sins such as these, they naturally can be forgiven, as the Shepherd commanded us to be the will of God, but it must be known, that it is better not to sin rather than it be forgiven. A man so seeped in sin like Avienus needs for his soul to be cleansed. I could recommend a fine monastery to house him. However, it is rather far, set upon the small isle of Kalykos.”

“Would it be a befitting place for the redemption of his soul ?” You question.

“Of course, still, there are concerns. Since the isle is so small, we must import food upon it and that can be expensive. Shipping costs, the vessels themselves, the crews, and of course the goods. Sadly, temporal matters always influence spiritual ones.”

“That is understandable, your all holiness. If we could only secure said shipping lanes, it would be even better, since I assume there is also a risk of losing said shipments ?”

“Unfortunately so, your majesty. Foreign heretics, pagans and godless pirates are always a danger, occasionally even coming ashore.”

“Ah, if only our navy would be restored, but I must address so many issues that I can barely find the time for so.”

Though you cannot see it, you are certain that you can hear the sound of someone’s teeth grinding, the body of Critobulus Maniakes is also visibly shaking.

“H- house Maniakes had always been pious followers of the Shepherds commandments and loyal servants of the imperial throne. My house shall ensure to showcase so.” Moments later, the muffled voice says, still facing the floor.

“Excellent, this showcase shall be lauded far and wide across the lands. Everyone shall know of your support of the church and the throne. As for the sizes of your proposed donations…eunuch, what do you think ?”

[blue]Eunuchs are known for their greed, might as well make use of it.[/blue]

You do so whilst brazenly using your fingers to indicate percentages to him, neither his all holiness, nor Critobulus aware of your rather…unflattering showing.”

“Your majesty, I do believe that a twentieth of their profits should cover the expenses of the monastery.” At that statement, both Anatolius and Critobulus shake. “And a tenth towards the securing of the trade routes should suffice.”
>>
>>5230954

“Well put, eunuch. Yes, we do believe that sounds fair, would you agree with our opinion ?”

“O-of course, your majesty.” Through gritted teeth he responds.

“Marvellous, you shall remain here for the moment, your son still needs to be questioned and his innocence to be proven, but I guarantee you this, his life shall not be taken for as long as you keep your promise.” You rise from the throne. “We have said so.” And depart the room.

Everyone bows as you leave, and once the door is shut, and once no one sees you. You can feel your heart attempting to leave your body. You had just talked down to the richest man in the empire, bar for the emp-, wait, right, you are the emperor.

“Your majesty.” [i]domestikos[/i] (domestic, commander) Armentarius calls out.

“You jump with fright, being caught entirely unaware.

[blue]How does he move so silently with all of that armour ?[/blue]

Clearing your throat, you say. “Yes, what is it ?”

“The servants had been interrogated. They all point towards the [i]Parakoimomenos[/i] (one who sleeps nearby).”

“Are sure of this ?”

“Perfectly, we tortured a few to death in front of others. They are either well disciplined, or they truly believe that no one but Fulgentius is involved.” He remarks casually.

You are paused for a moment. [blue]To simply disregard human life like so.[/blue]

“I see. Nothing else to report ?”

“No, your majesty.”

You nod at the response, before turning to stare through the closest window. The Sun is dying, last embers of its light shall soon disappear. The news of your father’s death shall spread soon, no matter how well you try to keep it hidden.

This matter will need to come to an end, at least a temporary one, soon.

>Converse with someone (Who?)

>Torture for a confession (Who?)

>(Write in)
>>
>>5230952

Thanks for the criticism.

This is meant to be an introductory, world building prologue if you will. And the pace will probably unfortunately pick up, as this is at the end of the day meant to be a civ quest at the end of the day.

As for the character, they are still important, and they can be brought up once more at a later date and the like. I suppose it is my style where there really isn't much or really any plot armour that can protect characters.

If you have any ideas on how to improve, I am all ears.

I do hope you stick around and find something you like anon.
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>>5230956
Well I'll stick and see how it turns out in any case. I don't mind civ quests at all, but getting vested in detailed characters and then proceeding to do somewhat fast paced generational gameplay where you really can't get vested in the individuals is rather jarring.

Suppose it depends on how long you intend to run the quest, and how long you intend to spend on each generation. I think it's a good mechanic to have the MC be just as mortal as anyone else, and be able to continue as their prodigy but say translating one vote into a 10 year time timeskip is far too much for me, how can you really get invested in the characters and goings on of the world around you? Monthly progression would be more my speed, or even half year/yearly.

I will say, I do like your writing and attention to detail.
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>>5230955

>I have a plan, let's use the patriarch to get rid of the eunuch chief without destroying the faction.

First we will go to the Cathedral for the next sermon and we will confess to the patriarch, this will be so that we are not followed or heard. We will propose the following:

We will talk about how cruel and greedy eunucih is responsible for killing our father.
But because of his position we cannot judge normally, or we will risk our own life, then we will say that we have an option that will not kill innocents or leave criminals alive.

The patriarch will be responsible for finding one of the eunuchs who is not as corrupt as the others, and he will convince him to name all the allies and accomplices oi the faction who are loyal to our target.

This eunuch will inherit the faction and these targets will die, in the prologue chapter before we officially announce the death of the emperor we will have the bodies of the culprits to present in public square.
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>>5230965
>By the way, I wrote it in a hurry. Forgive me for the grammar.
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>>5230964

My intention is a yearly progression, perhaps more, perhaps less depending on the decision. And I would like said decision to be as involved as what you are seeing so far.
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>>5230969
Well that sounds pretty reasonable I'd have to say.
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>>5230955
>Converse with someone (Who?)
Patriarch Anatolius. He's the only member of the big six who is here and isn't involved in the death of our father. Ask him about how father, what he thought of him, and his triumphs and most importantly his failures. We must learn how to avoid the mistakes of our father and become a good ruler in our own right.

>Converse with someone
Fulgentius. He obviously does not plan on dying, or else he would not have confessed. We must know more about his motivations and why he gave himself up. Ask him what he thinks we will do to him, and whether he thinks he will ever see the sunlight again. He presumes that he can control us? We may be a peasant from some backwater town, but we are The Emperor, and we will not have some arrogant fool presume to influence Our court or Our empire.
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>>5231106
Support
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>>5231106
>He obviously does not plan on dying, or else he would not have confessed.
How so? Wouldn't him confessing mean he wants to die? Confessing to regicide seems like a great way to increase the odds of death. He and Aventius seems more like fall guys for the plotter(s) to me. One just confesses and the other has such ridiculously blatant evidence against him, it's all just seems too easy to me. His actions don't match up with his expressed motive of "greed" and we still don't know why. If anything, I think we should look at his history and associations first, then question him on why he confessed.
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>>5231136
Definitely run a background check and also talk with him to get more of an idea of who he owes this devotion to.
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>>5231106

No offense, but how do these questions help us? We have the name and proof of whoever ordered our father's death, and so far we haven't done anything direct about it. This is pissing me off, the brat was a corrupt pawn in the game of a larger, well-organized faction as the eunuch himself said. Would it be possible at least once to try a plan before the panic of our father being dead spreads across the capital? I honestly don't know if we'll get another chance until this chapter is over.
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>>5231208
They don't help us right now per se, but will certainly help to build up our character. And while I do think we should do something about the fact our father has died, as is we do not have enough information for me to feel comfortable condemning a man to death. We know he killed our father, and we sort of know why, but the true extent of the operation is unknown to us. I want to pump him for as much information as possible before we do anything else. Doing otherwise would be premature.
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>>5231461

Have you noticed that every time QM posts the time advances? This means that we can lose the initiative at the most crucial moment, until now the news of our father's death is a closely guarded secret.

Tell me what will happen if the city panics because of rumors, and we lose control of the capital in the midst of chaos? Not only that, the Eunuch has already said that there is a secret alliance to transform us into puppet emperor. Which means in my opinion that if we don't act now, first attacking our enemies, second recovering the Eunuch faction to at least neutrality. Instead of someone sticking their hand up our ass for the rest of our reign, we will be the strong Ruler who took over the capital, wiped out some of his enemies and proved himself capable of forging alliances.

Serious the chance of salvation and better than the certainty of defeat, Until when we will play an erogen In the infinite dialog loop, when our enemies advance their plans?
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>>5231106
>Sit on the patriarchs lap and look at him longingly before giving him a tongue kiss
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>>5231578
You fucking idiot faggot, we can and WILL fuck whatever we please after we secure our position and can't be ousted regardless of being a massive asspull from our father against our enemies. You want to take men of faith and femboy them into discarding their bows? Fine but we will do it as the Emperor who is only maybe below God, not this bitch patriarch.
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>>5230955

So far we have three suggestions:

The smart plan:
>>5230965

The plan, what would daddy do?:
>>5231106

The Catholic plan:
>>5231578

>Does anyone else have a better idea, or is it possible for others to start voting for Quest to continue?
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>>5230955
I'll vote for >>5230965 I guess.
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Alright >>5230965 is pretty decisive action, and will lead to the death of Fulgentius

>>5231106 is more questioning and dialogue, but other than conversation, Fulgentius will not die.

Of course, I could combine both options, since they are not mutually exclusive.

So it comes down to

>Questioning. (Fulgentius will live, for now.)

>Patriarch plan. (Fulgentius shall die, to appease the masses.)

>Combine both (Fulgentius shall die, after you converse with him.)
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>>5231730
>Combine both (Fulgentius shall die, after you converse with him.)
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>>5231730
>>Combine both (Fulgentius shall die, after you converse with him.)
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>>5231730
>Combine both (Fulgentius shall die, after you converse with him.)
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>>5231730
>Combine both (Fulgentius shall die, after you converse with him.)

Well, with the conspiracy gone for now, I propose a way to deal with our external enemies:
1- The rebeling magnates are no problem, send Isaac to defeat them in battle after which we make a show of executing their ideologues while and giving the plebs better living condition as to persuade the middle class to side with us.
2 - The barbarians: we mount an invasion against them and, after we conquer the lands, make deals with the survivors to create a rulling coalition of our agents and them, Lenin style, AKA: We put the scum of society, the people whom otherwise wouldn't have any power, in charge as to ensure their loyalty since without us they would lose everything while we educate their children and, eventually, purge the rulling class of all barbarian elements.
3 - Akeoine - this is tricky, but nonetheless we must defeat their navy, after which we can do a repeat of the barbarians(Kill the rulling class, replace it with the outcasts of their society, purge the outcasts once the next generation is ready)
How's the plan?
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Okay, combination is locked in.

And I just realized that I need one more vote to fully flesh out this update and move things forward.

How opulent will you have the coronation be ?

>Exceptionally, hey, you don't have to pay for it.

>Moderately, fanciful, but tasteful.

>Not at all. It is a waste of time and money, some may call you cheap, some pay call you pious and humble.

And finally, the funeral, how opulent shall it be ?

>Very, the world will know that you honoured your father.

>Moderately, a good enough farewell, for an emperor that will be forgotten by history in due time.

>Not at all, it will be a private and subdued matter.
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>>5231805
>Not at all. It is a waste of time and money, some may call you cheap, some pay call you pious and humble.
>Moderately, a good enough farewell, for an emperor that will be forgotten by history in due time.
No need for extravagance if we can send a better message with less and help the economy.
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>>5231815
+1
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>>5231787
Last I heard our armies weren't in the best of conditions.
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>>5231805
>>Moderately, fanciful, but tasteful.

>>Moderately, a good enough farewell, for an emperor that will be forgotten by history in due time.
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>>5231855
Fair enough, my plan better deals with how to maintain our control since we would basically do the same thing as the reds in 1919 and that worked pretty well. Perhaps if we fall unto the church to do the assimmilation we would end up with Varangian style royal guards.
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>>5231730
Get the man drunk as well, as thanks for telling the truth. Then try to needle as much information outta him as possible.
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>>5231805
>Exceptionally, hey, you don't have to pay for it.
Image matters
>Moderately, a good enough farewell, for an emperor that will be forgotten by history in due time.
Daddy was not loved but he was an emperor
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>>5231805
>Exceptionally, hey, you don't have to pay for it.
>Very, the world will know that you honoured your father
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>>5231805
>Moderately, fanciful, but tasteful.

Displaying an appropriate amount of wealth and opulence is just a necessary part of of being a ruler or taking court. Appearing as a pauper may come off as humble and good to our modern sensibilities but it would only earn the disdain of the nobles and merchants realistically. Being moderate in our opulence can still signal the spirit of what we are going for of us not spending excessively.

>Moderately, a good enough farewell, for an emperor that will be forgotten by history in due time.

We shouldn't dishonour him and he achieved something at least, but he wasn't really a great or even good emperor.
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>>5231805
>Moderately, fanciful, but tasteful.
>Moderately, a good enough farewell, for an emperor that will be forgotten by history in due time.
Just realised I forgot to vote
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>>5231805

>Not at all. It is a waste of time and money, some may call you cheap, some pay call you pious and humble.
In the coming months every coin will count.

>Moderately, a good enough farewell, for an emperor that will be forgotten by history in due time.
Anything less will offend what's left of the royal family.
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>>5231944
>In the coming months every coin will count.

Its not our coin.
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>>5231805
>>Moderately, fanciful, but tasteful.
>Very, the world will know that you honoured your father.
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>>5231961
We are the Emperor, the central bank and our personal wallet.
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>>5231805
Are the ceremonies public or private? Assuming they're private:
>Not at all. It is a waste of time and money, some may call you cheap, some pay call you pious and humble.

>Moderately, a good enough farewell, for an emperor that will be forgotten by history in due time.

Also, while I do want to question Fulgentius, I think these questions >>5231106 are stupid for the reasons I previously stated. If, besides the other questions, you want some characterization then I'd suggest speaking about how it doesn't matter that Fulgentius is taking the fall for someone else. The empire will not be to undermined under our watch and so we will find them and we will deal with them.
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>>5231975

They are public, but if the cheap option is chosen they will be private.
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>>5231975
Fulgentius will laugh hard at the face of the eighteen-year-old boy who just last week was going on with his life in some godforsaken village.
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The coronation:

Cheap 4

Moderate 4

Exceptional 2

The funeral:

Moderate 8

Exceptional 2

Okay, the funeral is set, am continuing to write. Still need coronation.
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>>5231993
Is that a criticism or an observation? If it's the former, It was just what came up from the top of my head. If the latter, he can laugh all he wants, not like he'll be alive to see if we'll fail or succeed anyway.

>>5231999
I'll change my vote to moderate then.
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>>5232004

Moderate coronation locked in
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>>5232004
latter. The irony of the farmer killing the master manipulator is too perfect.
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“Your all holiness, what did you think of my father ? His great successes, and even greater failures ? How can avoid such mistakes and become a great ruler ?” You ask with trepidation.

Currently, you find yourself in the cathedral of his martyred saint Artades. The first companion of the Shepherd. He had been executed by a Thephian emperor of old. He had crushed invading pagan armies, in the Shepherds name as a mercenary, and his reward was betrayal for his desire to spread the true faith back when the empire was ruled over by godless pagans.

“Your father.” He sighs, his voiced muffled as he sits on the other side of a rather private confessional, meant for nobles, like you had become since yesterday. “He had always been consumed by the sins of wrath and pride. But he also possessed great vigour and diligence, used to a hard life of a soldier he also exercised temperance, forgoing great temptations of sloth and gluttony. But in the end, all of this was wiped away by his pride. He had been always abrasive, unwilling to listen to anyone once he made up his mind. His will would be done, no matter the cost. And the cost finally caught up to him. Your father had made no friends as he sat upon the imperial throne, but the common people loved him for his reforms, and the fact that he never directed his destructive tendencies unto them. He was a complex man, consumed by paranoia and made a shell of himself by his ending days.”

“And how do I maintain my virtue ? Like those of my father, whilst avoiding his sins ?”

“I would advise meditation and confession. Centre yourself before making any momentous decisions. Your father’s soul had been reeling from the sins one in his place must commit in order to rule well. Rely upon me to cleanse your soul and allow me to cleanse the miasma that will no doubt plague your mind.”

“Thank you, your all holiness. But now, I unfortunately have to discuss sins that must be committed with you.” You say drawing a deep breath, the incense filling your lungs, its smell reminding you of the day’s start, where you were pronounced one above all and below one, only to become emperor scant hours after. “Fulgentius is the one responsible for my father’s death, and I fear that paranoia that runs in my blood is acting up. I had thought of bathing the palace in eunuch blood, as means of revenge, as means of protecting myself. But I realized that I cannot do so. But I know that I must do something, anything, for the people will demand blood, and I myself wish to see justice delivered.

Can I ask you, your all holiness, to find an eunuch, someone with a pure soul and steadfast nature, someone willing to point out traitors in their midst, those still loyal to Fulgentius ? I would have him made the new [i]parakoimomenos[/i] (one who sleeps nearby).”
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>>5232065

“There is virtue even in the most sinful of men. I shall endeavour to do so, my son. This I swear upon the Shepherds name. I assure you, that by the coming of the holy day, only those of virtue and loyalty shall remain.”

“So, it shall be done by tomorrow then. I thank you, your all holiness.”

“May the Shepherd guide to God’s embrace, my son.”

With final farewells, you step out of the confessional. The darkened cathedral greeting you. Candles still burn bright in the darkness, the full moon shines clearly through a clear and large circular window set far above the pedestal where upon his all holiness would read the sermons to the faithful. No matter if it is night or day, either moonlight or sunlight, they both without pause shine upon the holy book and their guardians. Paintings depicting the Shepherd’s journey are set alongside the walls. From the day archangel Netarius revealed himself to him and commanded him to conquer, or the time when the Shepherd first raised an army, for God himself to send a signal to him to defeat his foes, but show mercy upon them. And of course, the grandest painting of all, depicting his ascendance where upon he had become the son of God, no matter what some heretics claim.

You take a deep breath, as you being marching through a figurative forest of pews. Your footsteps echoing as they impact the marble floor, inlaid with gold forming the symbols of the Shepherds sword, by which he freed, killed, and he himself died to redeem all men. The far ceiling, submerged in shadows, houses the statues of angels, looking down upon mere men, judging their actions, weighing their sins, and forgiving those who lived in virtue.

Eventually, you reach a small side door, through which you had entered earlier. Quickly snapping to attention, the dozen [i]Scholae Tagmata[/i] (School regiment/battalion) snap to attention as you leave the cathedral. Armentarius had insisted that you take a large bodyguard on your journey, the simple fact that the cathedral is within the royal district does not make the journey there safe, or so he claimed.

With the matter weighing down upon you heavily now resolved, you head to the last place you must visit. A fitting place to visit at such late hour to boot – the dungeon.

With an oil lamp providing limited illumination, carried by one of your bodyguards, you descend the stairs leading deep underground, the steps being covered in a thin layer of moss, showing that dampness and moisture had long since taken hold in the dungeon, on purpose, you had learnt. A means of added torture to those housed here awaiting their inevitable end. A pointless cruelty, and an inefficient one, many a guard lost their lives slipping on these endless stairs stretching into untold darkness far, far below.

Finally, after five minutes of walking, at least you think it took you so long, you have arrived at a landing, a few more oil lamps burning, showcasing the way, you begin walking.
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>>5232069

Eventually, you reach a simple chamber, a wooden door with bars set in it, around the height of you face, allowing you to see clearly into the cell. The guards that had been placed to look after Fulgentius, long since stepped aside, giving you a moment of privacy.

Something does surprise you. Fulgentius is simply sitting on the floor, a calm expression on his face, he is humming a song and appearing quite peaceful.

“I never knew eunuchs had a sense for music.” You say, drawing the man’s attention to you.

“Most do not, but I grew up in an orphanage, your majesty, the local abbot there took us on every holy day to the church, so that we would sing praises for God and his Shepherd.” He responds whilst maintaining his tranquillity.

“Why did you give yourself up ?”

“I simply lack the will to continue the endless game of emperors.”

“So you’d rather die ?”

“I am a eunuch, your majesty, I am old. I have nothing left for me but my life, but even that is running out. The plan was in motion long before you had even arrived, I suspect that the old emperor sensed something off as well, which is probably why he brought you here with such great haste. But now you are in control. A new assassination, a new court, a list of new favourites, and a list of those now hated. It is tiring, you see.”

“Seeing me reacting like I was a monarch, and not a scared peasant, showcased that your plans failed, that you could not control me.”

“Correct, your majesty.” He smiles, ever so slightly.

“Do you think you shall see sunlight again ?”

“I do. My execution will be public as it can possibly be. The crowd shall jeer at me and then cheer once the axe drops, or the noose around my neck shall snap it. And with my death, their bloodlust shall be satisfied, your reign solidified.” He grimly states, meeting your gaze, a man on death row need not fear of committing a crime that would see him dead.

“That is all I wished to know, farewell Fulgentius.” You step away with rapid footsteps, desiring to leave the dark, cold, and damp of the dungeon.

“May your reign last long, your majesty.” Fulgentius’ distant voice is barely caught by your ears.

The night is sleepless. During it, your guards, with the help of Anatolius, purge the palace. Blood is spilt, as some resist, but most simply collapse out of fear when the heavily armoured and armed men that had once guarded them now threatened their lives. And whilst all of this is going on, you sit in your office. [i]Chartoularios tou kanikleiou[/i] (keeper of the imperial inkstand) standing by your side the entire time. To distract your mind of the happenings on in the palace, you immerse yourself in work.
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>>5232072

Luckily, the palace is still with full larders and thankfully you have more than enough incense for what you are planning. A funeral for your father. It shall be fitting of an emperor, a tasteful display for the end of his reign. The church bells shall ring during the funeral procession, criers shall remark about your father’s achievements. Everyone shall be wearing white, to symbolize the purity of your father’s final journey onwards to God’s side. A large pyre shall be erected in the forum, for all to see. Your father shall be clad in his armour, a sword by his side and a crown on his face, a satchel of coins by his side, a collection of his favoured foods upon silverware. And throughout the entire process, incense shall be burnt, filling the path with its smell, telling all, that a great man had passed. The traditional way to lay to rest such an august person. You cannot afford to give your father a funeral of one of the great emperors, but it will be acceptable and to tradition.

------------------------------
(POV shift: You are Vigilius Ypsilanti, a mere apprentice to a smith within the great city of Myralos.)

With the coming of ‘morning, you had gone down from the top floor of the stone building you called home, a stuffy and small place, meant for the poor, if you could only live on the bottom floor, you would not need to spend hours dragging buckets of water for drinking. You were a new apprentice, and as such it was your duty to get charcoal for your master, but as you finish bargaining with the merchant, a crier can be heard over the hum of people.

“Good citizens of the Empire ! Hear my voice ! I bring to thee news most grave !” The man clearly and loudly shouts.

Curious, you join the large gathering of people. You also notice that there are criers all around town today, shouting the same thing. Something big must’ve happened.

“Know this, and know that I speak the truth ! Our Emperor Andronikos Angelus has died and it was done by means most foul !”

Shock fills the crowd, and you yourself are also surprised by the news.

“But worry not ! The Emperor’s long lost son, Manuel Angelus, had taken the throne and succeeded his father ! He had also found the traitors responsible for the death of our great lord ! Know this, know it well that I speak the truth ! The traitors shall be executed in the forum come noon !”

Talks erupt all around you as the news is declared.

“After the execution of those who slew our brave Emperor, his funeral shall be held !”

[blue]A funeral procession ? That will hurt work for today, master will be irritable once he learns about it.[/blue]

------------------------------
(End of POV shift.)

The fury of the pyre stabs your cheeks. Your bodyguards are all around the forum, keeping the people away whilst allowing them to witness the final passing of their old Emperor, and you, their new lord soon to be.
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>>5232074

His all holiness delivers are sermon about the virtues that your father had displayed in life, so that they may follow him in death, whilst his sins remain unsaid, so that he would forget them and live purely in the afterlife.

With that matter done with. You return back to the palace, there you lay upon the purple beddings, you had not slept the entire night. You will soon have your coronation, a week from now.

It shall be done in the cathedral of his martyred saint Artades, with his all holiness being the one to crown you. Food will be distributed to the masses, chariot races will run without stop, musicians and entertainers shall wander the streets. But that all is for the masses, inside the palace you shall host a banquet with anyone and everyone of import still within the city. Your new crown will be forged, just as resplendent as your father’s, you could have gone for something more expensive, but you get the feeling that house Maniakes might revolt if you keep squeezing them.

But for now, you can rest, for now you can think. What will you say during your first court session ? What direction will the Empire take under your rule ? So many issues, so many problems, but there is only you.

>Reform the navy.

>Reform the army.

>The administration is inefficient and in the need of an overhaul.

>You are in debt, you will have to think of a way to solve this issue.

>You have to deal with the Lucenians.

>The Akeonians need to be ended.

>You cannot tolerate the eastern magnates.

>The overall infrastructure of the empire is in disrepair, perhaps you should focus on that ?

>The court is full of intrigue, you will have to tame it before you can consider anything else.

>You need to brake the power of the nobility, they had been growing in strength too much and may one day pose a serious threat to you.

>Religious schisms had spread throughout the empire, heretics and the faithful are at peace for now, but it is a volcano ready to erupt.

>(Write in)
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>>5232076
>The administration is inefficient and in the need of an overhaul.
>The overall infrastructure of the empire is in disrepair, perhaps you should focus on that ?
>You are in debt, you will have to think of a way to solve this issue.

Since this is our first session, we should start with something that everyone could agree upon.
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>>5232076
>The administration is inefficient and in the need of an overhaul.
>The overall infrastructure of the empire is in disrepair, perhaps you should focus on that ?
>The court is full of intrigue, you will have to tame it before you can consider anything else.
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>>5232076

>Reform the navy.
Much of the wealth of our empire comes from products extracted from the islands, which are in the sights of our western enemies. A forgotten and weak navy will not protect our most valuable treasure.

>The court is full of intrigue, you will have to tame it before you can consider anything else.
We strive to restore imperial spies and assassins, their lack was one of the causes of our father's death. As long as different desires split the court in different directions, nothing was done.

>The administration is inefficient and in the need of an overhaul.
The greed of aristocrats swindling fees and greedy administrators have run the empire's image for far too long something has to be done to alleviate the suffering of our people. In addition to regretting our financial collection that is unfairly stolen from the royal coffers.
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>>5232076
>Reform the navy.
>The administration is inefficient and in the need of an overhaul.
>The court is full of intrigue, you will have to tame it before you can consider anything else.

The Navy needs reform, the Admiral will be pleased and Issac will be reassured that his words have been taken to heart about the Horsemen. We can also ensure that the rebuild Navy shall be loyal to us.

The Administration needs an overhaul, that way we can stop bleeding resources and get shit done, as well as levy more taxes for the debt. This also has the benefit of purging the corrupt and making this institution more loyal to us, though we should take pain to keep it functional, efficient, and effective. Issac will also be pleased that we are herding the Administration and that his words held more sway, this will keep him relatively satisfied for the moment.

Navigating the Court is necessary to know what the hell is going on internally in the Empire, and managing it’s intrigue will be a running theme of our reign I imagine.

We’ll get to the others in due time, maybe. I think roads and infrastructure, attacking one of our neighbors, and dealing with the noble will have to be next, with debt being something we should chip away at every ‘round’ or so.
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>>5232076
>The administration is inefficient and in the need of an overhaul.
>Reform the navy.
>The court is full of intrigue, you will have to tame it before you can consider anything else.
No doubt our government is full of Avienuses, and bleeding what little money we have and dragging down the state. We cannot have a functional state like this, and we must prepare to audit every last sheet of vellum and clean house.
The navy is a slow beast, and protecting the trade that is still the remaining lifeblood of the empire is of the utmost importance. Our islands would also be very vulnerable in the event of war, or even just regular raiding and skirmishes.
We must removed the knives at our back first, and bring the fist down on this decadent den of wolves. Force them to fall in line, and see about (re-)building the spy network.
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>>5232076
>The court is full of intrigue, you will have to tame it before you can consider anything else.
>Religious schisms had spread throughout the empire, heretics and the faithful are at peace for now, but it is a volcano ready to erupt.
>You cannot tolerate the eastern magnates.

We cannot get anything done while our courtiers scheme and wile away. That comes first before anything else lest we be backstabbed.

We cannot afford more internal strife erupting in another civil war, not to mention the inefficiencies a lack of mutual trust causes in society and not having a clear canon on what is the true way.

If there is anyone we should be fighting initially it is the rebels, it is a priority to deal with them before they settle in and form their own institutions and legitimacy.

I know that people will probably think we shouldn't fight at all without at least reforming the army, but mercenaries and vagabonds or not I think we have more than just peasants with sticks. They just need to be well lead and properly supplied, Isaac (or some other capable general should drama ensue with Isaac) can deal with it. He'll be unhappy until the corruption is rooted out and he isn't having to deal with bullshit, but a personal touch on our part should smooth over the initial logistical and procurement issues. We don't need a new force structure or new method of funding arms, armour and supplies with the taxes to support such, at least not yet, we just need the necessities.
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>>5232076
Actually, nevermind, I'll switch to...
>Reform the navy.
>The administration is inefficient and in the need of an overhaul.
>The court is full of intrigue, you will have to tame it before you can consider anything else.

Didn't interpret the text properly, this is just our first year goals not long term goals for the only things we want to get done during our reign as if the reforms would take many years of life to only do so little.
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>>5232234

Those aren't bad goals replacing court reform with army reform I would say these would be our priorities for the second year. In addition to our wedding, which if it were up to me, would be right after the coronation.
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>>5232076
>>The administration is inefficient and in the need of an overhaul.
>>
>>5232143
Support, but prioritise the administration first.
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>>5232143
Supporting
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>>5232076
>Reform the navy.
>The administration is inefficient and in the need of an overhaul.
>The court is full of intrigue, you will have to tame it before you can consider anything else.
>>
>Reform the navy. (If i remember right our silk centres are in islands)
>The administration is inefficient and in the need of an overhaul.
>The court is full of intrigue, you will have to tame it before you can consider anything else.
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>>5232076
>>The administration is inefficient and in the need of an overhaul.
>>
>>5232076
>>Reform the navy.
>>The administration is inefficient and in the need of an overhaul.
>>The court is full of intrigue, you will have to tame it before you can consider anything else.

This is a balanced approach to set a proper foundation on I agree.

After this perhaps we can start working on the army and solving some other domestic issues, then we can push for some of our lost lands.
>>
Administration 13

Infrastructure 2

Debt 1

Court 10

Navy 9

Okay, administration reforms win, followed by dealing with the court and then trying to reform the navy.

(I should've clarified that you can only concentrate on one task at a time, but fuck it, it was my bad, let us see if your ch goes insane from stress of juggling so many tasks at once.)

Writing.
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>>5233511
oh no
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>>5233511
>(I should've clarified that you can only concentrate on one task at a time, but fuck it, it was my bad, let us see if your ch goes insane from stress of juggling so many tasks at once.)
Well thats not nice
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>>5233511
You know...I was wondering about that, since at firs I chose 3 options because I saw the first few anons always choose 3, but when I read the last post more closely it never mentioned how many options to pick at all.
>>
[b]Anno domini 1083[/b]

The bells ring loudly above you. The warm sunlight falls upon your face, warming you even in the middle of the cold winter. You are on your knees, that are placed on a comfortable red cushion. Incense fills the cathedral of his martyred saint Artades, a large gathered crowd of all whom are of any note stand solemnly in front of their seating places amongst the pews. The angelic voices of a choir sing low and slowly, a permanent calming noise going on and on.

“-It is by the grace of God-“

The [i]Oikoumenikós Patriárchēs[/i] (ecumenical patriarch) continues his speech. You shift ever so slightly, your royal robes heavy upon you. The long trailing purple cloak had to be carried by six servants behind you, so as to not stain it in the streets. A mixture of velvet and silks contrasting with each other, silver and gold thread combining the materials into seamlessly well-fitting clothes. Gems are sewn in, especially on the cloak, rubies line its sides, sunlight being reflected from them as it impacts. Diamonds are placed around your collar and the greenest emeralds on your cuffs.

“-and by the tradition of our great Empire-“

A week had passed since your father’s funeral and the execution of Fulgentius. It was cloudy the day of his death, black clouds had completely made the Sun shy away from showing herself, denying the old eunuch his last sunshine before meeting the Shepherd and being judged by him. Alongside the cadre of his followers, all of their heads as the axe fell were covered in tar and place on spikes above the city’s main entrance.

“-the senate, and the people-“

It was hectic, the time spent preparing for this occasion, especially because of new servants that were hastily needed. You cast a quick glance at Gallienus – your new [i]parakoimomenos[/i] (one who sleeps nearby), he had come to power under the advice of his all holiness. A younger man, only in his thirties, but still older than you. He had always been exceptionally welcoming and obedient in the interactions you had with him, he had aimed to please your every whim. It was quite stifling really, if you cough due to a dry throat, he already presents to you a glass of wine, if you shudder due for some reason, he instantly procures a coat for you.

“-I hereby proclaim thee, Manuel Angelus, first of his name, [i]Imperator, Basileús kai Autokrátōr Thephaiōn[/i] (General, Sovereign and Autocrat of Thephians).” He finishes the long-winded speech.

Finally, he places the royal diadem upon your head. Made of gold, diamonds, sapphires, rubies, emeralds, amethysts all are encrusted into it. Strings of white pearls hand to the side of the diadem and in front of your eyes.

A loud cheer rises from the gathered host, the chants of “long live the emperor, long live the empire” are repeated ad nauseum.
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>>5233626

You yourself rise to your full height, servants presenting to you, on cushioned pillows, the royal sceptre, a symbol of your power and authority, and a beautiful sword, the symbol of the fact that you can wage war as you see fit.

Taking both in hand, you begin to slowly turn, servants rushing to ensure that your cloak is unstained.

“We hereby swear !” Your voice silences the crowd, and even the chanting of the choir stops. ”To uphold the dignity and pride of the empire ! To reign with justice and fairness ! To protect all citizens of the empire from threats both within and without ! As is my duty and privilege as Emperor !”

Again, the cries of “long live the emperor, long live the empire” are repeated.

You cannot help but feel nervous, as you would expect in a situation like, but you also cannot help but feel pride. Maybe that is why so many emperors are guilty of the sin of pride ?
.
.
.
“Are these all of them ?” You question.

“Yes, your majesty.” [i]Chartoularios tou kanikleiou[/i] (keeper of the imperial inkstand).

You look over the sheer mountain of documents. You had requested all paperwork related to the administration and its functions presented to you. In just the first hour, you already found no less than thirteen discrepancies in the reports. You had found out that a portion of the funds sent for the maintenance of the road network, had conveniently went through the estates of the local men of influence that the local governor at time had been good friends with. This was more than ten years ago, and the man is already dead, for good or for ill, killed by your father, apparently. He had stood on the side of the old royal family and angered your father.

“How are we structured, administratively I mean ?”

“The empire is divided in [i]thémata[/i] (placement, district). Districts of administration where the local governor holds responsibility of a judge, military commander and overall head administrator. All governors are appointed by royal decree for a duration of ten years.”

“And how many [i]thémata[/i] (placement, district) are there ?”

“Officially, we have forty-five.”

“Officially ?”

“The eastern magnates, your majesty. As it stands, we in truth control twenty-five.”

“I see. And where do we draw our governors from ?”

“The senate. The men of it have the connections, wealth, experience and education for such important positions.”

“And judging by this document here.” You say waiving around a piece of parchment. “When appointed, the family of the man tends to present a magnificent gift, not to the empire, but the emperor.”

“It seems so, your majesty.”

“And the simple administrators ?”

“Usually, the governor will assemble his own administrators for the task of ruling. But there are some permanent bureaucrats in place. Those tend to be the tax collectors and census officials.”

“Whom are they appointed by ?”
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>>5233628

“You, your majesty, the head tax collector and the head census official, that is. The people actually carrying out the tasks on the ground tend to be officials appointed by these two previously mentioned heads.”

“And I assume they also tend to be family and friends ?”

“That is correct, your majesty.”

You had left the banquet of your coronation, since you were so enthused about improving your empire, but now you regret having a clear mind. Now the decisions swirl in your mind, how should you solve this issue ?

[red]Can pick more than one. Write ins encouraged.[/red]

>Establish a system of merit for the recruitment of new administrators. Have them tested every then years and investigated every five to see if they do their tasks well. No doubt this will anger the nobility, but harsh times require harsh actions.

>Strike a deal with the senate, have them funnel more cash to you for guaranteed appointments, if nothing else, it should help the treasury.

>Perhaps you should seek out foreigners for this task ? Experienced and learned, they could easily rule in your name, and they wouldn’t have friends and family in need to empower.

>(Write in)
>>
Sorry for the slow updates this weekend, Easter and all that. Speaking of which,

Happy Easter, anons.
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>>5233629
>>Establish a system of merit for the recruitment of new administrators. Have them tested every then years and investigated every five to see if they do their tasks well. No doubt this will anger the nobility, but harsh times require harsh actions.
>>
>>5233629
>>Establish a system of merit for the recruitment of new administrators. Have them tested every then years and investigated every five to see if they do their tasks well. No doubt this will anger the nobility, but harsh times require harsh actions.
>>
>>5233629
>Establish a system of merit for the recruitment of new administrators. Have them tested every then years and investigated every five to see if they do their tasks well. No doubt this will anger the nobility, but harsh times require harsh actions.
The nobility can cope and seethe, and if they do anything more then they will face the guillotine
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>>5233629
>Establish a system of merit for the recruitment of new administrators. Have them tested every then years and investigated every five to see if they do their tasks well. No doubt this will anger the nobility, but harsh times require harsh actions.
>>
>>5233629
>>(Write in)

Lets simply draw up an exam that needs to be passed, it can be expanded upon later. Better to do things in increments rather than all at once, keeps people from being as upset about change.
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>>5233629
>Establish a system of merit for the recruitment of new administrators. Have them tested every then years and investigated every five to see if they do their tasks well. No doubt this will anger the nobility, but harsh times require harsh actions.

QM, you know your ID has changed right? Your bold, italics, and colours no longer work, you may wanna stop trying to use them as it clutters up the text a bit.
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>>5233691

I do know, I am away from my PC right now. I keep those in as means of still distinguishing it for you anons and for myself, so that I do not forget to do it later.
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>>5233629
>Establish a system of merit for the recruitment of new administrators. Have them tested every then years and investigated every five to see if they do their tasks well. No doubt this will anger the nobility, but harsh times require harsh actions.

>End the custom of receiving gifts every time a new governor takes office, (This will signal to the nobility that we are not taking more power for us, instead we are actually lessening corruption.) So that their wrath is not so big.

Create a policy to increase governors' salaries according to annual revenue. (A fair compensation for the loss of profit from corruption.)

>>5233644
>>5233645
>>5233660
>>5233675
>>5233682
>>5233691

Would these measures be adequate to reduce friction with the nobles?

Happy Easter QM.
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>>5233629
>>Establish a system of merit for the recruitment of new administrators. Have them tested every then years and investigated every five to see if they do their tasks well. No doubt this will anger the nobility, but harsh times require harsh actions.
>>
>>5233629
>Establish a system of merit for the recruitment of new administrators. Have them tested every then years and investigated every five to see if they do their tasks well. No doubt this will anger the nobility, but harsh times require harsh actions.
We should take strong inspiration from the Chinese keju system, with set examinations you need to pass to be able to enter the civil service and progressively tougher exams for higher ranks to ensure competency and integrity of the people we hire. The nobility will be forced to toe the line and jump through the hoops we set them, lest they lose all their influence altogether (if the big families complain and refuse to participate, plenty of lower families will be all too happy to offer up their scions instead) and in the long term it should help break the power of the strongest noble families by removing the direct link between patronage and governance. These exams must be phased in to avoid total staffing chaos.

A new organisation will be needed to handle the investigation and routine auditing process, with the staff recruited via the aforementioned examinations and a couple of the best and most trustworthy picked to watch the watchmen, so to say. Investigations should have a degree of randomness to them, since if inspectors turn up every x years on the dot, it makes it easier to hide things, as well as being done ad hoc if something is brought to their notice.
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>>5233845
If we are going with the chinese position by merit system then we ought to have the standards not require literally perfect grades to pass, it lowers our potential pool of candidates and puts an overemphasis on rote memorization of critical texts over knowing how to adapt that theoretical knowledge to the changing times.
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>>5233896
Yes, the Chinese system was not perfect in that respect and the overly stringent pass requirements hamstrung the administration later on. They just have to do well enough for us to know they can do their job in a trustworthy manner.

On another matter, the exams should also be open to commoners. While education standards mean the vast majority of the candidates will be from noble classes, it would be a waste to discard talent from outside the usual pool.
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>>5233629
I was gonna do a write in but >>5233845 is pretty much what I was going to suggest.

>>5233903
I think peasants would be more common than you think, at least if our protagonist is anything to go by. Although he might just be the exception.
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>>5233943
The clerical background we took was the only one that explicitly mentioned we were literate at all, and I assume that had we gone with another option we would have to learn how to read and write (or not, plenty of mediaeval rulers were illiterate though this does present a rather major drawback). Early mediaeval literacy rates were - while not as low as people think - still very low and if you weren't nobility, a merchant, an artisan or involved with the church (i.e. someone who needed to be able to read and write for their job) like us, you were almost certainly going to be illiterate, let alone versed in what one needs to be a civil servant.
Commoners who pass the exam are more than likely going to be from the aforementioned groups rather than random peasants, though attempting to promote literacy among the lower classes could be a long-term goal (this may be very difficult given the realities of mediaeval society).
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>>5233845
Support. It fits our character too, since he's from an educated background.

>>5233724
Supporting this too.
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>>5233967
That is true until the printing press became a thing. It was only then that literacy became widespread otherwise it was just too damned expensive.

>>5233845
Investigators should be chosen at random, to be kept anonymous, and the times of investigation are randomized. Basically, make it impossible to know WHO the investigators are and WHEN the investigations will occur. While making the position strictly temporary and answering directly to us. If you do a good job it will do wonders for your career and nobody will really know which fucker was the one who screwed them over.

Also, make it possible to anonymously report to the investigators for crimes and include the means to offer invidence in exchange for leniency for one's own crimes. This will make it possible for commoners to report on the corrupt and nobles while at the same time making it possible for small fish to turn on big fish. Make it so that two reports must be copied and made. One of them directly sent and archived to us directly in case of 'misplacement' aka corruption in the attempt to squash investigations.
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>>5233967
I know all of that. I was only commenting on the fact that there will be a not insignificant number of commoners in the administration if a clerical career choice is not uncommon amongst the peasantry.
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>>5233629
Yeah, well, anyways I'll support >>5233845 with the caveat that we not mimic the chinese system exactly, we don't need the ultra, ultra high standards.

>>5233724
Sounds good, don't think it'll prevent hostile action on the part of the more disgruntled nobles, and there will be grumbling no matter how we handle it, but it could help. Supporting this as well.
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>>5233976
Yes, there would probably be quite a few given the more or less meritocratic nature of the exam, just not many peasants. I think we're using different definitions of peasant here, I take it to mean a low-class agricultural labourer specifically rather than an underclass commoner in general. We could create specialised schools for the training of people to become civil servants to open up recruitment to the commoners and peasantry more, but this could be very expensive.
>>5233974
Indeed, I think widespread literacy will have to wait for the printing press to come around.
There's some pluses and minuses to this. Recruitment by lot (from a curated candidate pool at that) and temporary positions keeps the faces from becoming known and expands the role with incentives to do well, but on the other hand it prevents the best candidates from being selected, stops agents from gaining extensive experience and means good ones still have to be let go at the end of their terms. Perhaps the best-performing agents could be offered permanent positions and used on investigations that require them or to guide the new ones.
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>>5233629
>Establish a system of merit for the recruitment of new administrators. Have them tested every then years and investigated every five to see if they do their tasks well. No doubt this will anger the nobility, but harsh times require harsh actions.
Base level administration.
>Strike a deal with the senate, have them funnel more cash to you for guaranteed appointments, if nothing else, it should help the treasury.
To create/for political allies, some to be given the technical governor position of the Eastern Magistrates, to give them an incentive to keep the Administration relatively functional and loyal while being a pressure release valve to lessen the shitstorm the Senate is going to give us.
>Perhaps you should seek out foreigners for this task ? Experienced and learned, they could easily rule in your name, and they wouldn’t have friends and family in need to empower.
Our investigators, temporary positions, and important positions we need to control at all costs. Plus, this give us is experience and expertise to eventually create our own Varangian Guard.
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>>5234053

The the idea of including the peasants and investing in education in the future seems to me a good idea, but a lot of our nobles are already in revolt, nobles with troops capable of inflicting losses on our small and outdated army.

The loss of privileges plus the persecution against corruption without any reward to appease them will end with us, spending a good part of our reign fighting against two revolts that's why I don't find the idea plausible.
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>>5234137

First idea - Good.

Second idea - Horrible.
The financial loss plus the damage the corruption attack will cause can raise the ire of the nobles for a second rebellion. especially if they have to lose tuition fees, position money, and go for more taxes. We don't have an army to take such drastic actions.

Third idea - Good at another time.
This is an administrative reform, we would not be inviting Germans from the forests, we would be inviting the Jews from the west to take up positions in our government, positions that nobles lost for him to be there, please read the end of the last opinion it serves here again .
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>>5234432
We’re already operating at a financial loss as it comes to the Eastern Magistrate, and this isn’t meant to be permanent to keep the nobles there, it’s just meant to not completely btfo them and create political blowback on us.

As for the foreign advisors, we really don’t know what the foreign situation looks like, for all we know the forest Germans and well educated Jew could very well be from the same confederacy of tribes.
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>>5234742
I'd like to add that as far as the east goes, doing such a thing would completely blow any chance of diplomatically bringing them back into the fold. I'm firmly against the idea, we should do everything we can to bring as many of them back to the empire without wasting manpower fighting one another.
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>>5234742
Speaking of the foreign situation - QM, is the map we've seen the entirety of the known world or are there known far-off lands like a not-China?
>>
You sit pondering, slowly taping the quill in your hand, droplets of ink now staining the edge of the parchment you’ve been writing upon, as means of composing your thoughts and gathering them in a systemic way.

As you watch the ink slowly flowing, a series of questions you had written down and answered, again, a means of organizing the numerous ideas restlessly bouncing in your head. Your eyes go wide, and a small smile is on your face.

“Tell me, [i]kanikleiou[/i] (keeper of the imperial inkstand). Are you aware that to become a priest you have to pass a series of tests ?”

“More or less, your majesty.”

“You would be question about your knowledge in the holy text, your ability orate, your skill in writing and reading. All that so that you could become a simple priest.” You say, your mind racing, at this point and time, you are merely thinking out loud.

“I see, your majesty.”

“Now, if such stringent examinations are required for such a humble posting. What must a prospecting governor do in order to receive their post ?”

“They must earn the approval of the emperor and the senate.”

“That’s all ?”

“Yes, your majesty. It is assumed that the esteemed men of the senate are virtuous and wise.”

[blue]More like they have deep enough pockets to buy the post.[/blue]

“Do they know how to farm ?”

“Excuse me, your majesty ?”

“I asked if the governors know how to farm ?”

“Perhaps some do, your majesty.”

“So if there is a loss of crop, due to the spread of fungus, would these governors listen to the local farmers ? Would they even bother to go to the affected fields ? Would they stop the spread of it to other fields ? Would they even know how, other than simply burning them ?”

The man remains silent, seemingly working over the words that you had spoken, before he finally says. “I believe that most would simply do what their advisors say, or they themselves think is right, whether or not it is an action tempered by knowledge.”

“I want for you to gather farmers, fishermen, craftsmen, previous governors whose records show great rise in prosperity in their owned territories. I shall prepare a line of quarries for you, have those persons questioned about their knowledge, and any other nuggets of wisdom they are willing to share.”

“As you command, your majesty. This task shall be done as swiftly as possible.” The man says with a bow before departing.
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>>5234776

You simply nod absentmindedly, your entire self, consumed by the words currently being laid upon the piece of parchment. For now, it is a basic line of questioning that you yourself could answer, that any man or woman within your village could answer. Simple questions, easy even, but crucial, and from what you’ve seen in the sheer distance in wealth between the nobility of the empire compared to the average man, you doubt that most of them could answer something so easy. At the end of your scribblings, which you’ve redone, reworded, and then reworded again, you think you have something great here, something capable of changing the course of the Empire. Though at the tail end of your work, you feel a little embarrassed, as you included questions about theology and philosophy, that shouldn’t be an issue, should it ?

Still, with the great endeavour underway, you suddenly feel hungry, only now that you realize just how great your concentration is. Candles are light in your office, the Sun had long since went for its rest and the moon hangs high. It seems that you had not even noticed the servants that had ensured that your work went on uninterrupted. This fact, does startle you a bit, the paranoia in your blood flares. [blue]if I can be so consumed to lose track of my surroundings, an assassin could easily end my life. I need to find a remedy for this, maybe a hound ? Its growls and barks could always warn me, and it would be far loyal than any man.[/blue]

As this line of reasoning continues, you realize another great task that you must solve. Courtly intrigues. You are not strong enough to terrify with your mere presence, nor are you a skilled diplomat able to calm even the most riled of nerves. It is something that had to be one away with, but in your way, whatever that way may be.
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>>5234778

>You had these thoughts for a while. Asceticism. You are not used to these luxuries, and you fear the possibility of them turning you into a slothful emperor as some had in the past. Less and cheaper food, not so many servants, no more incense burning day and night. These candles ? it could be a simple and cheaper oil lamp instead. And most importantly, these methods mean – less courtiers. Fewer ambitious men and women, the less of a threat they are for you. Though, that means that they could simply continue their schemes away from the court, away from your gaze and your guards.

>The empire is soaked deep in ceremony and tradition. You could kick it up a notch, make more pointless titles, let entertainment run, make yourself the eye of the storm, where the smallest of morsels you give away would be fought over ferociously by your courtiers. If their minds are filled with petty rivalries, they will have no time to plan anything else. Hopefully. At least as long you can maintain the façade.

>You will follow your late father’s advice. The palace will run red with blood. Fear shall keep your courtiers in line. Simple, effective, and it will cost you nothing. Inspire such fear, that your courtiers will start believing that you can read their minds, that you can tell if they are rebellious. The fear in their own minds shall be greater than the threat you could pose. It is all about presentation, after all.

>(Write in)
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>>5234757

>Speaking of the foreign situation - QM, is the map we've seen the entirety of the known world or are there known far-off lands like a not-China?

There are other lands that you are aware of. It is far enough away to not matter, at least for now.

To your southwest is a massive continent, most of it is covered in jungles and deserts. Inhabited by savages, as far as you are concerned. Most spices also come from those distant lands.
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>>5234779
>>You had these thoughts for a while. Asceticism. You are not used to these luxuries, and you fear the possibility of them turning you into a slothful emperor as some had in the past. Less and cheaper food, not so many servants, no more incense burning day and night. These candles ? it could be a simple and cheaper oil lamp instead. And most importantly, these methods mean – less courtiers. Fewer ambitious men and women, the less of a threat they are for you. Though, that means that they could simply continue their schemes away from the court, away from your gaze and your guards.

We need cash. This will give us some inmediate cash, cash that can be put to use.
It also fits with our boy, and ensures he doesn't just cut his roots. More importantly we can use this for look, like a better man. A modest emperor, something that both church and people can like. They will like it, because we don't look like the usual noble spending and spending and spending.
Also do take a dog, it can be of use. It also a companion of sort, a loyal animal for a man.
We will rebuild our cloak and daggers, but it will take time and money. They can't be remade in a day. Though at least there should be some structures left for their training by their dead predecessors.
>>
>>5234779

>You had these thoughts for a while. Asceticism. You are not used to these luxuries, and you fear the possibility of them turning you into a slothful emperor as some had in the past. Less and cheaper food, not so many servants, no more incense burning day and night. These candles ? it could be a simple and cheaper oil lamp instead. And most importantly, these methods mean – less courtiers. Fewer ambitious men and women, the less of a threat they are for you. Though, that means that they could simply continue their schemes away from the court, away from your gaze and your guards.

>The recreation of imperial spies and assassins, our father's mistakes must be rectified before we come to the same end. Our enemies may stay away but our new and loyal spies and assassins will always keep them in the light.

The second option doesn't make sense, we're a reforming bastard, and by definition traditions don't change much. They would be more of a delay than an advantage.

The third and worst option, our paranoia cannot grow much or we will be consumed and nothing good will be done. We must follow our own example of destroying only what is necessary.
>>
>>5234779
>You had these thoughts for a while. Asceticism. You are not used to these luxuries, and you fear the possibility of them turning you into a slothful emperor as some had in the past. Less and cheaper food, not so many servants, no more incense burning day and night. These candles ? it could be a simple and cheaper oil lamp instead. And most importantly, these methods mean – less courtiers. Fewer ambitious men and women, the less of a threat they are for you. Though, that means that they could simply continue their schemes away from the court, away from your gaze and your guards.
>a dog and a most trusted bodyguard (which has to be an orphan of humble origin).
>>
In regard to the hound/dog to take if everyone is ok with such an idea, since our family symbol is a wolf we could go for a wolf dog cub or a wolf cub. For symblism, and also because it s cool. Though an hound is fine as well.
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>>5234779
>You had these thoughts for a while. Asceticism. You are not used to these luxuries, and you fear the possibility of them turning you into a slothful emperor as some had in the past. Less and cheaper food, not so many servants, no more incense burning day and night. These candles ? it could be a simple and cheaper oil lamp instead. And most importantly, these methods mean – less courtiers. Fewer ambitious men and women, the less of a threat they are for you. Though, that means that they could simply continue their schemes away from the court, away from your gaze and your guards.
>>
>>5234779
>The empire is soaked deep in ceremony and tradition. You could kick it up a notch, make more pointless titles, let entertainment run, make yourself the eye of the storm, where the smallest of morsels you give away would be fought over ferociously by your courtiers. If their minds are filled with petty rivalries, they will have no time to plan anything else. Hopefully. At least as long you can maintain the façade.

This is what the real Byzantine Empire was like. If we start living like less of an Emperor, we are going to lose prestige in the eyes of nobility, other royalty, and even our own subjects. The demarcation between us and regular men must always exist else once we pass, the peasants will have lofty ideas about how the empire should be run.
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>>5234778

>The empire is soaked deep in ceremony and tradition. You could kick it up a notch, make more pointless titles, let entertainment run, make yourself the eye of the storm, where the smallest of morsels you give away would be fought over ferociously by your courtiers. If their minds are filled with petty rivalries, they will have no time to plan anything else. Hopefully. At least as long you can maintain the façade.
>You will follow your late father’s advice. The palace will run red with blood. Fear shall keep your courtiers in line. Simple, effective, and it will cost you nothing. Inspire such fear, that your courtiers will start believing that you can read their minds, that you can tell if they are rebellious. The fear in their own minds shall be greater than the threat you could pose. It is all about presentation, after all.
Carrots and stick anons. I’d rather have our enemies close than plotting afar.

>>5234754
You can’t bring them back into the fold diplomatically without serious concessions from the Emperor, which will make us look weak and invite others to take advantage of said perceived weakness.
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>>5234860
I agree, appearances are important, and showcasing our wealth just as important as the wealth itself.
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>>5234860
Do you know how living a simple life is still keeping the loyalty of the nobles? A network of spies and assassins loyal to the Imperial house. My option gives us the chance to balance the accounts and recover one of the most important tools that was stolen from us by the madness of the previous emperor. And the idea of endlessly creating new titles in the hope that it works every time is an even worse idea, I prefer a more definitive solution.

>>5234888
"Carrots and stick", unless it's time to reform the administration right?
Pushing the problem forward until it fails and becomes a new crisis. And succumbing to paranoia what a wonderful plan isn't it?
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>>5234779
>>The empire is soaked deep in ceremony and tradition. You could kick it up a notch, make more pointless titles, let entertainment run, make yourself the eye of the storm, where the smallest of morsels you give away would be fought over ferociously by your courtiers. If their minds are filled with petty rivalries, they will have no time to plan anything else. Hopefully. At least as long you can maintain the façade.
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>>5234860
We are still an emperor anyway. Peasants don't live in a giant palace surrounded by guards. They don't command everyone. The differences are simply too many really.
This changes are small and allow us to get more money, and cut on things that we don't need.
Plus it shows we aren't drinking or throwing feasts like other nobles all day. Or having an incredible large court for no reason and need, that takes away money that could be used by us. A monarch that can make sacrifices in this times would be appreciated, probably respected by the people. No doubt even the military.
Prestige right now ?
At the moment we need other things, such as money for all the things we need to do for ensure the empire can stand again and also because we need them, since we don't have much in our treasury. Stupid spending is exactly what we don't need now. Or going like our father with paranoia and madness. Our character has an education connected to learning and religion, and a peasant background why not using that instead of throwing it away like is trash ? Let's become an example and a good morale figure. This would also help us in gaining a better standing with the religion.
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>>5234779
>You had these thoughts for a while. Asceticism. You are not used to these luxuries, and you fear the possibility of them turning you into a slothful emperor as some had in the past. Less and cheaper food, not so many servants, no more incense burning day and night. These candles ? it could be a simple and cheaper oil lamp instead. And most importantly, these methods mean – less courtiers. Fewer ambitious men and women, the less of a threat they are for you. Though, that means that they could simply continue their schemes away from the court, away from your gaze and your guards.
We must be careful to not let this go too overboard, it will be useful to curb the excess of the imperial court but not if we enrage the nobility and make them think us a simpleton. A level befitting a minor lord should be good, enough to keep some of the luxury befitting our position, and ensuring we do not live so ludicrously better than any other man. Moderation in all respects, even in simplicity.
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>>5234779
>>The empire is soaked deep in ceremony and tradition. You could kick it up a notch, make more pointless titles, let entertainment run, make yourself the eye of the storm, where the smallest of morsels you give away would be fought over ferociously by your courtiers. If their minds are filled with petty rivalries, they will have no time to plan anything else. Hopefully. At least as long you can maintain the façade.

The French method is proven.
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>>5234860
Agreed, these fools trying to isekai this shit will wind up having us killed. Stop trying to put modern morals into it.
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>>5234888
>You can’t bring them back into the fold diplomatically without serious concessions

You don't know that. The attempt must be made, if we can preserve the our own and their manpoer we must.
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Just going to say, if you make the emperor look like a poor while we are actually poor we are going to invite people to challenge us. We need to keep appearances and keep nobles busy
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>>5234779
>The empire is soaked deep in ceremony and tradition. You could kick it up a notch, make more pointless titles, let entertainment run, make yourself the eye of the storm, where the smallest of morsels you give away would be fought over ferociously by your courtiers. If their minds are filled with petty rivalries, they will have no time to plan anything else. Hopefully. At least as long you can maintain the façade.
There's strong arguments for both sides. However, right now we have low legitimacy and few expectations, so we have to lean in to the things an emperor is expected to do in order to make up what essentially amounts to a deficit of Emperor-ness, which we're probably only going to be adding to later. While being the Peasant Emperor is all very well and good, there are shoes we must fill even if it's a bitter pill to swallow.
Still, in this kind of environment, as well as people being distracted by plotting against each other and fighting over our favour in a court of nobles we're sure to antagonise later, it's also a lot easier to make people disappear and get up to cloak and dagger schemes of our own. And speaking of that, reforming the Imperial spies is also a priority.
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>>5235093
>anons think they can autist min max their way through things with modern sensibilities

I hope they can see reason
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>>5234779
>You had these thoughts for a while. Asceticism. You are not used to these luxuries, and you fear the possibility of them turning you into a slothful emperor as some had in the past. Less and cheaper food, not so many servants, no more incense burning day and night. These candles ? it could be a simple and cheaper oil lamp instead. And most importantly, these methods mean – less courtiers. Fewer ambitious men and women, the less of a threat they are for you. Though, that means that they could simply continue their schemes away from the court, away from your gaze and your guards.
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>>5235228
I'm not sure what you mean by that, I assume that's meant to be a statement that my logic is faulty.
You are right in that modern sensibilities will have to go, but anons will doubtless still slip into this way of thinking. Still, there's plenty of things I'm sure we will get up to later that will antagonise people that don't require acting like we were sent by truck-kun (we are a former commoner after all). This is more a concession to the "way things are supposed to be done" camp to soften political opposition later, one of many we will have to do and to build upon a first impression that we aren't about to discard everything traditional about the office. We may choose to change tack at a later date, or if I get an idea of the sort of bill this entails in the grand scheme of things.
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>>5234779
>You had these thoughts for a while. Asceticism. You are not used to these luxuries, and you fear the possibility of them turning you into a slothful emperor as some had in the past. Less and cheaper food, not so many servants, no more incense burning day and night. These candles ? it could be a simple and cheaper oil lamp instead. And most importantly, these methods mean – less courtiers. Fewer ambitious men and women, the less of a threat they are for you. Though, that means that they could simply continue their schemes away from the court, away from your gaze and your guards.
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This has nothing to do with modern sensibilities and whatnot btw.
I prefer the first option simply cause that seems like what Manuel would be likely to do. Feels more in character to me.
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>>5234779
>You had these thoughts for a while. Asceticism. You are not used to these luxuries, and you fear the possibility of them turning you into a slothful emperor as some had in the past. Less and cheaper food, not so many servants, no more incense burning day and night. These candles ? it could be a simple and cheaper oil lamp instead. And most importantly, these methods mean – less courtiers. Fewer ambitious men and women, the less of a threat they are for you. Though, that means that they could simply continue their schemes away from the court, away from your gaze and your guards.
It is rare but not actually unheard of.
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>>5234779
>>You had these thoughts for a while. Asceticism. You are not used to these luxuries, and you fear the possibility of them turning you into a slothful emperor as some had in the past. Less and cheaper food, not so many servants, no more incense burning day and night. These candles ? it could be a simple and cheaper oil lamp instead. And most importantly, these methods mean – less courtiers. Fewer ambitious men and women, the less of a threat they are for you. Though, that means that they could simply continue their schemes away from the court, away from your gaze and your guards.
The humble emperor.
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>>5235093
Actually, screw it. While the points still stand, austerity is the more in-character and practical choice right now. May as well go all the way on the peasant emperor shtick, so
>You had these thoughts for a while. Asceticism.
Rebuilding the spy network remains a priority, though.
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>>5235036

"Stop trying to put modern morals into it."

>Marcus Aurelius one of the five good emperors would like to discuss this notion.
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>>5235556
Philosophy is useless bullshit, as are philosophers.
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>>5235601

>Don't you know who he was? My God in heaven, you might be the most brainless incestuous beast that has ever cursed the forums on this site.

A study of your life could be used as propaganda for abortion, in addition to the justification for printing inedible signs on cigarette packets. I genuinely think your mother should be sued for lowering the national IQ index for failing to abort the mistake you are.
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>>5235601
Weak bait mate.
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>>5235601
Ignorance isn't something to be proud of, mate.
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>>5235556
Modern morals != morality of an emperor from medieval or antiquity era
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>>5234916
Anon, I’m realistic about out chances of survival, let alone our chances to revive the Empire. If you don’t give the couriers something to focus on, and nothing to deter them, then your the one putting a bandaid over a crippling wound, not I.

>>5235037
Anon, if we make serious concessions to the Eastern Magistrates it will be taken for weakness. We’ll be dealing with opportunistic fucks that will be subverting the Emperor’s authority because they feel like they can get away with it, and we still can’t trust the Eastern Magistrate’s not to rebel again because there were no consequences for their first rebellion. The only way to resolve this without a multitude of serious problems is to kill the Magistrates and retake control of the lands with brute force.
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This is basically the Sun King option and he lived for 76 years!
Besides the other Anons are right. We avoided being wasteful but not too humble in previous ceremonies because we are an emperor first not a holy man. We are going to end up undercutting the places of the Nobility by appointing the ACTUALLY COMPETENT people to the IMPORTANT jobs THEREFORE it would do well to distract them and keep them blissfully appeased with the useless positions that won't compromise our empires runnings.
>The empire is soaked deep in ceremony and tradition. You could kick it up a notch, make more pointless titles, let entertainment run, make yourself the eye of the storm, where the smallest of morsels you give away would be fought over ferociously by your courtiers. If their minds are filled with petty rivalries, they will have no time to plan anything else. Hopefully. At least as long you can maintain the façade.
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>>5235814
How about if we do the bare minimum of diplomacy by just sending a letter to one magnate at a time. We can send in imformants to look over the situation and offer help to one of the weaker magnate in exchange of loyalty, if it works we could get a foothold in the area.
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>>5235942
I’d be more willing to do that, but it will have to be targeted. It may end up backfiring on us as well, just fair warning.
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>>5235921
This.
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Asceticism 10

"Sun king" 5

Kill 'em all 1
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>>5235814

I'm not going to assume you've read my entire vote but, I didn't tell us to make a helpless emperor.

I suggested that we should restore the imperial spies and assassins, remember we just wiped out half an enemy faction, in our first month of reign.

The threat of any plan from them being discovered and them being killed will be our shield, seriously dude this eighteen years old brat, managed to take the throne, discover the old emperor's assassins and kill them all in tribute to his death, that's not the picture of a weak leader.

By the way, whoever suggested ending the rebellion diplomatically doesn't have my vote, they have to die and we have to be there symbolically leading the army.
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You were raised a peasant’s son, no matter how your noble bloodline would say otherwise. All this luxury, all this opulence, all this prosperity. It is all decadence. Plain and simple. You were told not desire for such a sinful life within the church, and avoid you shall. You shall cut spending for the court. Not only will it be good for your soul, it will also be good for your pouch.

The candles burning right now, they could buy a week’s worth of food, good food, to sustain and keep you healthy. Yes, that is what shall you do. As for the courtiers ? They are merely leeches, draining the lifeblood of the empire as it is sick and wounded. Those truly loyal, those truly devote and dedicated to the empire shall no doubt remain. It is only with those pure souls inhabiting the court of a pure emperor, will you be able to bring your domain from the precipice of annihilation.

Most importantly, unlike the great examination that you had in mind, this action can be carried out immediately. For tonight, allow them to celebrate your coronation, for tomorrow, they shall sustain themselves on rye bread like you had for most of your time.

With those thoughts in your mind, you rise wearily from your desk an you make your way towards your bed chamber. No matter how much you may preach asceticism, you have to admit, that a mat stuffed with hay does not compare to the cloth, silk, and feathers that are currently engulfing you.
.
.
.
Despite the time you spent deep into the night in work, you still awaken as sunshine pours into your room. Despite the fact that you still feel slightly sleepy, your body is sued to waking at such an early hour. You may have been of a bookish disposition, but you still had to till the fields early in the morn’.

You are about to start dressing yourself, but looking at the sheer pile of clothes in front of you, each and every with its own intricate bunch of knots, it would probably take you all day to figure out where goes where. So, with great reluctance, you ring the bell in your room. And as if awaiting for your signal, servants rush in to swiftly dress you. There is a pang of guilt in your heart as you watch them work, many of them will lose their work after you issue today’s decree. But you are not God, nor are you in position to do great deeds of charity, as such, these people will have to fend for themselves. You can only hope that with the experience they had no doubt earned here, they will quickly find work somewhere else.

“You look wonderful this fine day, your majesty.” Gallienus’s honeyed words greet you as the final brooch is pinned on your fine dress, as you look at it, with belated horror do you realize, the entire thing is just one single, massive piece of emerald carved into a shape of a wolf.

“Greetings to you to, eunuch.” You half-mindedly respond. “Assemble the court, I have something to announce.”
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>>5236017

“So early in the morn’ ? Would you not like to have breakfast first, your majesty ? A pig had just been slaughtered for your enjoyment.” Responds Gallienus.

“No, it is a matter of great import.” Only know do you realize what Gallienus had tried to imply, there was a banquet yesterday, most of the courtiers are probably hungover. “I do not care how rough you have to be. Rouse the courtiers and prepare them for court, this matter shall not be put away for even a moment further.”

“As you command, your majesty.” With a deep bow, the eunuch quickly departs the room to carry out your decree.

You yourself begin to slowly meander towards the throne room, taking slow and steady steps, admiring the rising Sun as her light continuously brightens up this chilly winter. For a moment you wonder how Avienus is doing, the man had been spirited away by a dour priest assigned by his all holiness, to ensure that he arrives at the monastery as intended, hopefully he will see the error of his sinful ways and repent. You will also have to find a replacement for him, but that will be done in the near future.

Thinking of which, you should ensure that his all holiness attends the court today, his presence should give more credence to your claims of piety. No indulgent wastrel would dare to question your words if the holiest man in the world supports your claims.

“Your majesty.” The words finally snap you out of your ponderous thoughts.

“[i]Domestikos[/i] (domestic, commander).” You respond to the greeting. “Just the man I wanted to see. Go to the cathedral and invite his all holiness, I wish for his presence, immediately.”

“As you command, your majesty.” Bowing, he responds.

You nod towards him, as the man departs. With the momentary distraction now gone, you continue onwards. You can already imagine the storm your announcement will cause. Outraged courtiers, nobles sneering to such an extent that they will fall over themselves in contempt, surprised and perhaps devastated faces of the eunuchs and the menials. You do, however, wonder about the guards, what they will think ? Knowing that they will get no more bribes, no more extravagant foods. A slightly unnerving thought, but they had proven themselves loyal to you so far.

Finally, you reach your goal. The throne room is still asleep, no incense burns, no lamps are lit, the guard are at half strength and other than a few servants here and there, the place looks desoletly empty, surrounded by reaches, yet alone. Is the only thing you can think, as the men snap to attention, as you gaze upon the throne.

Sitting upon it, you wait, pondering about your examination plan, whether or not you should announce it at the same time as your plans for the palace. No, it is far too early. The idea may well be change long before you reach its final form.

“Your majesty.” Dammit, you really shouldn’t return from your thoughts only when people call for you.

“What is it ?”
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>>5236018

“The courtiers have been roused as you commanded.” Responds Gallienus.

“Excellent, inform them that we shall start when his all holiness arrives at my request.”

“As you wish, your majesty.” Retreating, his body bent, he responds.

You sit, waiting for a good twenty minutes, until finally the armoured figure of Armentarius and the white robes of Anatolius come in your sight. With them present, the meeting can finally begin.

A quick exchange of greetings later, the courtiers begin piling into the room, most have eyebags, they look tired and dishevelled, some, you notice, are swaying on their feet. You cannot begin to imagine just how much drink had been consumed to make men like these groggy so late after. Hiding the disgust you feel, you get straight to the point.

“Hear our words !” Your voice loudly echoes.

”We hear !” The gathered people respond in a rather disorganized manner. You see some wincing at the loud noise.

“It has come to our attention, that while our glorious empire braves great dangers, funds essential for its continued prosperity are being squandered !”

The gathered crowd looks upon you in confusion and some wear expressions of distress, uncertain about what you exactly mean by “squandering” and if they shall be punished for it.

“As such, we, after much contemplation, had come to a single decision. The court, from this day hence, shall no longer indulge in endless luxury. The lavishness, which merely throws away coin for a single meal for one that could feed a hundred shall no longer be accepted. The waste I had seen displayed before, too shall be ridden of.” You pointedly call out, watching one of the courtiers, a wealthy noble no doubt, wipe away some sweat with a silken handkerchief, worth more than some houses in which your people live.

“No more shall we tolerate decadence clear before our eyes. No more shall we turn away from the suffering of our people while we live in plenty.” You are out of breath. Half-way through your speech, great rage had built up within you, the words spoken now were those truly from you heart. You can sympathize somewhat with your madman of a father, perhaps some blood should have been shed.

“Hear our words !” You shout out.

It takes a moment for anyone to respond. The response of “We hear !” Is half-hearted, barely spoken, and even then, said primarily out of instinct.

“[i]parakoimomenos[/i] (one who sleeps nearby) Gallienus. I charge you to rid the court of excess. Those that are not needed, or those whose tasks could be easily done by others, are to be let go.”

The somewhat shocked man falls to his knees and kowtows, receiving your order. “And as to showcase my dedication to these changes.” You say, trying to maintain the same zeal in your voice. “I shall donate this.” You take off the emerald wolf brooch. “Your all holiness, please, use the wealth provided by this to feed the destitute and the starving.”
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>>5236019

“Thank you, your majesty. An orphanage shall be fed for a year thanks to your generosity.” He says whilst bowing.

“The court is dismissed.” You finally call out, rising from you seat.

“[i]Domestikos[/i] (domestic, commander) Armentarius, come with me.” You quickly say afterwards.

Marching into a side room, you state. “The navy is in a dire need of reforms and rebuilding. I am not a man of a martial disposition and [i]Megas doux[/i] (Megaduke) Mundus is gone. Do you have any ideas ?”

“I could get people from the docks for you to inquire with, your majesty.”

“But would they not fear to speak the truth ?”

“None would dare to lie, your majesty.”

>”Very well, invite those of knowledge to the palace.”

>”No, I shall visit the docks myself, in secret, prepare those guards that can move discreetly.”

>”No, I shall go there myself, prepare the guard, the people shall meet their emperor.”

>Perhaps you have some other idea about naval reforms ? (Write in)
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>>5236021
>>”No, I shall go there myself, prepare the guard, the people shall meet their emperor.”
The people need to see their ruler.
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>>5236021
>>”Very well, invite those of knowledge to the palace.”
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>>5236021

>”No, I shall go there myself, prepare the guard, the people shall meet their emperor.”


>Perhaps you have some other idea about naval reforms ?
>Create a system of Privateers with the pirates that plague our coasts, transforming one of our problems into solutions. In times of peace they will not be required to serve properly in the navy, but in times of war they will serve as auxiliaries to our main fleet.

For those who don't know what Privateers are, here's the basics:

https://youtu.be/583XfL94_gY

Just imagine Constantinople in place of tortuga.
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>”No, I shall go there myself, prepare the guard, the people shall meet their emperor.”
If we are playing the down to earth saint might as well get everything we can out of it
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>>5236021
>>”No, I shall go there myself, prepare the guard, the people shall meet their emperor.”
Being a man of the people requires us to interact with the people. We should also plan ahead public acts of charity later on.
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>>5236021
>>”Very well, invite those of knowledge to the palace.”

Hurr durr autist emperor
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>>5236021
>”No, I shall go there myself, prepare the guard, the people shall meet their emperor.”
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>>5236021
>”No, I shall go there myself, prepare the guard, the people shall meet their emperor.”
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>>5236159
Sir, I think you are projecting.
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>>5236021
>”No, I shall go there myself, prepare the guard, the people shall meet their emperor.”
Perhaps some work could be done for create lighter ships based on the ones of raiders and fishers ? It's an idea but we need people that know about ships and seas on hand first, then we see the options. It's certain we need boats both for war and patrols, or one for war and one faster.
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>>5236021
>No, I shall go there myself, prepare the guard, the people shall meet their emperor.”

Also, even with our decree to end excess - we need to look to our own safety.

Increase the wages of our guard by 20%, and the wages of the Domestikos by 50%

Should buy some loyalty
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>>5236021
>”No, I shall go there myself, prepare the guard, the people shall meet their emperor.”
>>
”No, I shall go there myself, prepare the guard, the people shall meet their emperor.” You remark. “I shall be no aloof tyrant or an uncaring master. My people will see me, and they shall know me.” You finish with great confidence.

“As you command, your majesty.” Armentarius bows at your words.
.
.
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This will be your first time outside of the palace district as emperor. You had lead your father’s funeral procession, but there were thousands of guards around you, the path unobscured and empty of any soul that could delay the final duty you had to carry out for your father.

You cannot help but feel giddy. To actually talk to the common man, a man you had been a bit more than a week ago. To listen to their worries, dreams, hopes, and desires. Though you preferred the company of books, you still conversed and got to know your neighbours, a necessity in a small village. And now finally, you will be able to converse freely.

Though you still have a worm and thick cloak of purple, as well as a bear fur coat, you’ve forgone most decorations other than those, and of course, your diadem. The annoying hat has to be worn by you as a symbol of authority. You have no doubt that if you try to take it off, the eunuchs, your guards, courtiers, and who would not be lazy, would drown you in complaints and grievances.

But your great desires are quickly dashed, as a carriage with four horses had been prepared for you. Its design clearly subdued due to your preference, but you do not see much difference between a carriage decorated by gold and diamonds, compared to the one in front of you, which is decorated in silver and rubies.

“Would it be possible for something even more “subdued” ?” You question.

“Your majesty, even this is barely acceptable for a person of your status.” Gallienus carefully tries to persuade you. “Of course, if you’d prefer for so, your majesty. I could have a palanquin prepared if you so desire. It is wonderfully decorated with gemstones, so as to keep it weight down.”

Sighing, you move your feet onto the carriage step, before going into it entirely. You are greeted by soft cushions and a small furnace providing heating. The furnace itself seems to be well isolated to ensure that no fire accidentally spreads. You will be kept warm in journey, if nothing else.

Moving away the curtains, you observe the well-kept gardens of the royal district, you do notice that a lot of the workers are huddled together around eunuchs, whom appear to be proclaiming something, but you cannot exactly make it out, but most of the men appear to be rather listless. Eventually, your gaze is disrupted as the carriage passes through the gates of the palace district.
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>>5237043

The sounds, stifled by the glass windows and the wooden doors, clearly greet your ears. The noise of other carriages and carts impacting the road, people conversing, merchant shouts about “fair prices and high-quality goods”. You also see as a general hush comes over the people, as your bodyguards, sixty in total, all on horseback, clear way for you.

Suddenly, the shouts of “Long live the emperor !” begin to fill your surroundings. The hope of a new emperor, of a new reign. The people seem excited to see someone new upon the throne. You cannot help but smile. So much hope, so much anticipation to see whom you will become. You cannot disappoint these people, your people.

Eventually, your procession, in a rather swift manner, reaches the docks. The smell of salty air, fresh fish and their guts, the smell of spices and the scent of oil burning also greets your nostrils. Food stands for hungry sailors, busy merchants, or simple people on their way to purchase their daily necessities. Since the docks lead directly to the grand market plaza, it is full of people.

With the carriage coming to halt, the carriage driver hops down and opens the door for you. Half of your guards dismount and form a circle around. You do feel a bit awkward as the gazes of everyone gathered here fall upon.

“[i]Domestikos[/i] (domestic, commander) Armentarius, begin to search for these wizened men. I care not about their status, as long as they wisdom to offer. I shall walk the stalls.” With a smile you say.

“Right away, your majesty.” Bowing once again, the man departs with a couple of your guards.

You yourself being to wander the stalls, and you are shocked by the sheer number of merchants dressed in foreign clothing. Men from Rogarus, the western continent, lost to your empire centuries ago. Looking over the stalls, they offer exquisite spices, furs of beasts and tusks so long they reach from your shoulder to your wrist. As for the docks themselves, they are half-full, at least the area designated for merchant and citizen shipping. Most of these vessels appear strange to your eyes. They have an extra floor, they are greater in length than the vessels you’ve seen depicted in the drawings of the imperial fleet. Numerous holes to allow even more numerous oars to propel these ships onwards and mighty double sails able to carry the vessels at speeds undreamt of on land.

As for the section dedicated to military vessels, it is a depressing sight. It is almost entirely empty. The imperial vessels that are still moored appear rotten and unmaintained. Like small children compared to the mighty ships of mere merchants.

“Tell us, how are you able to build such great ships ?” You question one of the merchants/

In a slurred and horribly accented Thephian, he responds. “Your most regal majesty, these fine vessels are built in [i]Grande Arsenale Tarrizo[/i].” With a smile he responds.
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>>5237047

Seeing your confusion, he simply gives a sheepish grin. “Ah, please excuse this humble one your majesty. I shall translate. Their made in the Grand Arsenal of Tarrizo. A ship like this can be built in but a single day there !” Exclaims with pride.

“A day ?” To make a galley alone it would take at least a week by skilled and experienced craftsmen provided with plentiful material and locale for production. “How is such a thing possible ?”

“Please excuse me, your most regal majesty, but I cannot reveal the secrets of my homeland. Just now, that in the wars of the Patera, our most ever stalwart republic produced a flotilla to rival all those on Rogarus combined in but three months !”

“I see, then does your republic take orders for ship production ?” You question, your gaze falling unto the merchant’s ships.

“Of course, your most regal majesty, for a fair price, we make ships for all that require.” You notice a glint in the man’s eye as you mention the idea of purchasing ships.

“That is good to know, but now our attention is drawn by other matters.” You say before leaving the man to his work.

“Your majesty, I have brought great men of wisdom, as you had decreed.” Armenius says as a small grouping of men kowtow on the filthy ground.

“Rise our good fellows, rise.” You say holding off awkwardness from the still strange situation, you hope that in time, you shall become numb to it. “For now, we have questions for you concerning maritime matters. Whom amongst you is the most skilled in ship making.”

Risen from the ground, the rather strong looking man continues to stare at the dirty floor. “That would be I, your majesty.”

“Tell us, how long would it take to build the imperial fleet back to strength before the unfortunate disaster.”

“To rebuild it all, your majesty ?” The man seems startled. “Years, decades even. Most facilities for ship building fell into disrepair as the Usu-“ The man silences himself.

“Continue.” You call out.

“The previous emperor did not fund the facilities necessary for ship construction. We would have to refurbish them, import trees from deeper inland. We would need to find workers, but most skilled craftsmen when it comes to ship building went to lands abroad. To find work there.” Fearing your wrath, the man once more falls to the floor.

“Rise, you’ve done nothing wrong by simply telling us the truth.” You feel pity for the person.

“I heard of pirates, ransacking our shores. Do any of you know about them ?”

An uneasy silence descends upon the crowd.

“As we said before, speak freely, we wish to know if there are anyways to combat them even without a powerful navy.”

Eventually, one person works up the courage to stand out of the group, that or he is pushed out, judging by him trying to balance himself, it is most likely the latter.
>>
>>5237049

“Y- Your majesty, I, I heard that the Erugians of the north allow pirates to rest in their ports as they raid the Rogarus’ kingdoms and republics. Because of so, not only are their merchants and lands safe, but the pirates fill their treasuries with their booty.”

The man is quivering on the floor, and you can tell why. Armentarius appears to be in a fit of rage, his hand on the handle of his sword. “You dare, wretch !?” His angry voice bellows. “To stain the glory and honour of our empire ? To cause all to hate us like those reavers masquerading as noble lords Erugians ?!”

Even you are scared by the man’s rage. It is only now do you realize that he could probably cut you down with ease, if he wanted to.

“Calm yourself Armentarius. I shall have no innocent blood spilt this day.” With s shaky voice at the start, transitioning into a more self-assured voice, you say.

“As you command, your majesty.” He responds, an edge of fury in his voice.

“As for sailors.” You try to quickly change the topic, the man that had been kowtowing on the floor melting back into the crowd. “Do we have any ? If not, how do we get some ?”

An experienced looking man, dressed in bright cloths and furs, a successful merchant no doubt, steps forward. “There are few options, your majesty. If I may speak of my experience.”

“You may.”

“Thank you, your majesty. The first would be to simply gather men from the towns, cities and countryside. It would take much training and time for them to become true sailors, but with your authority I have no doubt that it would be a trifling matter.

Then, of course there are mercenaries, just like there are on land. Experienced and capable, but expensive I’ve come to realize.

Finally, there are the condemned, captured pirates, criminals, slaves, and so. You could employ them. It costs nothing, but their enthusiasm can be lacking.”

“We thank you for your council, wiseman.” You state. “With your great experience, I assume you have the same to say about potential ship captains ?”

“Yes, your majesty.” The man bows and returns back to the crowd, pride clear on his face, as you dismiss him with a nod.

Decisions, decisions.
>>
>>5237052

How shall you solve the issue of the lack of proper warships ?

>The Tarrizans will make ships quickly and of high-quality, probably better than what you can hope to achieve by yourself, but it will be costly, very costly.

>As the strongman stated previously, you could rebuild the necessary facilities and hire the necessary workers to make ships, not as expensive, but it will take time, a lot of time, and the quality is not guaranteed, but it is an investment. In time, you will make great fleets of fine ships without outside influence.

>The merchant gave you an idea, you could just press into service their ships. Promising compensation in due time.

As for the crews:

>Mercenaries, whilst expensive, are experienced and skilled, the best men you could probably get.

>It will further drain the countryside, but trade is too important to simply allow for it to be cut off. Issue a decree and conscript men into the navy.

>The dregs. They only cause issues, and no one will miss them. An easy solution, a quick solution. Hopefully the taskmasters can keep them inline.

>There is one option the merchant did not mention, you could always force the crews of your merchants to fight in your warships.

And the officers:

>You can never go wrong with mercenaries. They shall demand a premium, but the service that they will deliver will be with no end.

>There are people skilled in the arts of the seas, no doubt. You just have to find those of minds fitting for the task. Though, they will need time to gain experience, most of your captains met their ends in a watery grave.

>Offers of clemency for those pirates that are willing to take them. Their quality will be…questionable, but they shall be experienced men who own their everything to you.

>Merchants, whilst not skilled in war, can be made to lead your ships. They posses the basic knowledge of ship command after all, how hard for them will it be to lead a naval battle ?

Finally, a possible solution for the pirate question presented itself.

>Offer them safe haven. They shall fill your coffers yet. This should clear your trade lanes too.

>Armentarius is right. Supporting pirates will see you alienate all civilized nations of the world. It too, shall sully the empire’s honour.
>>
>>5237054
Could we perhaps do a combination?

Half and half mercs and dregs? Order a handful of ships to be built and also invest in shipbuilding?
>>
>>5237054

>As the strongman stated previously, you could rebuild the necessary facilities and hire the necessary workers to make ships, not as expensive, but it will take time, a lot of time, and the quality is not guaranteed, but it is an investment. In time, you will make great fleets of fine ships without outside influence.

>It will further drain the countryside, but trade is too important to simply allow for it to be cut off. Issue a decree and conscript men into the navy.

>Merchants, whilst not skilled in war, can be made to lead your ships. They posses the basic knowledge of ship command after all, how hard for them will it be to lead a naval battle ?

>Offer them safe haven. They shall fill your coffers yet. This should clear your trade lanes too.

Combination of these four will kill two birds with one stone.
The restoration of the boat industry plus the wages that our citizens will receive, will increase trade in our nation and tariffs.
Merchant commanders will follow the natural Darwinian process, they will become effective captains but with preservation instincts in addition to creating a possible middle class in the future as trade improves, and the whole system is going to be supported by the tributes of our allied pirates.
Practically speaking as long as they don't kill our citizens they won't be a problem.
>>
>>5237054
>>As the strongman stated previously, you could rebuild the necessary facilities and hire the necessary workers to make ships, not as expensive, but it will take time, a lot of time, and the quality is not guaranteed, but it is an investment. In time, you will make great fleets of fine ships without outside influence.

Though perhaps ordering a few ships to jumpstart our navy would be a good idea.

>>Mercenaries, whilst expensive, are experienced and skilled, the best men you could probably get.
>>The dregs. They only cause issues, and no one will miss them. An easy solution, a quick solution. Hopefully the taskmasters can keep them inline.
Being able to blend the two, perhaps 1/3rd mercs 2/3rd dregs would give us a core of professionals without being overly reliant on those only loyal to coin.

>>You can never go wrong with mercenaries. They shall demand a premium, but the service that they will deliver will be with no end.
>>Offers of clemency for those pirates that are willing to take them. Their quality will be…questionable, but they shall be experienced men who own their everything to you.

I don't see why we couldn't offer amnesty and also hire some professionals. Some of those offered amnesty would also come with ships and crews I imagine.

>>Armentarius is right. Supporting pirates will see you alienate all civilized nations of the world. It too, shall sully the empire’s honour.

Those who won't accept amnesty must be destroyed.
>>
>>5237091

For the sake of autism, unfortunately no. I am already getting pretty detailed, and we go any further, I do not think we will get any progress.
>>
>>5237118
Very well then disregard>>5237116

>>5237054
>>As the strongman stated previously, you could rebuild the necessary facilities and hire the necessary workers to make ships, not as expensive, but it will take time, a lot of time, and the quality is not guaranteed, but it is an investment. In time, you will make great fleets of fine ships without outside influence.

>>Mercenaries, whilst expensive, are experienced and skilled, the best men you could probably get.

We should save the countryside for the army, lets get some professionals on the boats since they will be hard to replace, may as well crew them with the best.

>>Offers of clemency for those pirates that are willing to take them. Their quality will be…questionable, but they shall be experienced men who own their everything to you.

Lets try and win over some experienced captains and reduce the number of pirates. I still say it is logical that this should bring in some ships and crews.

>>Armentarius is right. Supporting pirates will see you alienate all civilized nations of the world. It too, shall sully the empire’s honour.
Those who won't take amnesty must be destroyed.
>>
>>5237054
>As the strongman stated previously, you could rebuild the necessary facilities and hire the necessary workers to make ships, not as expensive, but it will take time, a lot of time, and the quality is not guaranteed, but it is an investment. In time, you will make great fleets of fine ships without outside influence.
>Mercenaries, whilst expensive, are experienced and skilled, the best men you could probably get.
>There are people skilled in the arts of the seas, no doubt. You just have to find those of minds fitting for the task. Though, they will need time to gain experience, most of your captains met their ends in a watery grave.
>Armentarius is right. Supporting pirates will see you alienate all civilized nations of the world. It too, shall sully the empire’s honour.
>>
>>5237054
>>5237118 If we can't do combinations then
>As the strongman stated previously, you could rebuild the necessary facilities and hire the necessary workers to make ships, not as expensive, but it will take time, a lot of time, and the quality is not guaranteed, but it is an investment. In time, you will make great fleets of fine ships without outside influence.
Long term investment

>Mercenaries, whilst expensive, are experienced and skilled, the best men you could probably get.
Though only hire them when needed

>Offers of clemency for those pirates that are willing to take them. Their quality will be…questionable, but they shall be experienced men who own their everything to you.
Cuts down on piracy a bit and they should be very experienced though a bit unwieldy.

>Armentarius is right. Supporting pirates will see you alienate all civilized nations of the world. It too, shall sully the empire’s honour.
Privateering is a good tool but not actually going full pirate haven is not.
>>
>>5237116
>>5237134
>>5237136
>>5237149

We don't have the money to improve the fleet, in fact we are already very indebted. The pirates' tribute will fund the entire navy reform, and frankly it's better to have a hated empire than a honored memory, not to mention we don't have allies around us anyway.
>>
>>5237116
>The Tarrizans will make ships quickly and of high-quality, probably better than what you can hope to achieve by yourself, but it will be costly, very costly.
This is pretty much this worlds Venice and they always had reliable ships. We do need them quickly to control the ocean, consider it an investment.
>The dregs. They only cause issues, and no one will miss them. An easy solution, a quick solution. Hopefully the taskmasters can keep them inline.
>Offers of clemency for those pirates that are willing to take them. Their quality will be…questionable, but they shall be experienced men who own their everything to you.
The Pirates.. I mean Privateers, should have experience in keeping these kinds of savages in line. Besides it should end up reducing crimes and other activities in our cities by making a use out of these 'problem children'. Conscripting good men can be reserved for our actual land army which will be tasked with the rebels.
>Offer them safe haven. They shall fill your coffers yet. This should clear your trade lanes too.
Just make sure to keep these dealings secretive.
>>
>>5237054
Can we at least begin the investing in shipbuilding production while we buy Tarrizan ships in the short term? If so, I’d prefer to do both.

>Mercenaries, whilst expensive, are experienced and skilled, the best men you could probably get.
I don’t like this option, but the countryside does need rejuvenate before we start draining it again. Maybe we can find a better solution later on, something like a partially volunteer force.

>There are people skilled in the arts of the seas, no doubt. You just have to find those of minds fitting for the task. Though, they will need time to gain experience, most of your captains met their ends in a watery grave.
Not ideal short term, but I consider these growing pains inevitable.

>Armentarius is right. Supporting pirates will see you alienate all civilized nations of the world. It too, shall sully the empire’s honour.
I like the hutzpa, but we shouldn’t start making too many waves straight out of the gate.

>>5237156
While I agree that the money incentive is quite enticing, the bigger issue is the prestige involved here, an unseen, uncountable, but tangible part of power politics. The prestige loss from going into bed with pirates will effect a lot more than just our treasury, but it will create resentment in the higher echelons of our society, especially among our military and personal guard. I’d suggest waiting until we can ensure that we won’t get a knife in the back from this decision.
>>
>>5237156
If we couldn't afford it I don't imagine we'd have the option for the reform to begin with.

Being known as a haven for pirates will only further dash our reputation and prestige. Who will want to trade with us if we're harboring pirates? Hell we'd be embolden all sorts of criminals in our lands as well. Its a foolish notion.

We'll end up having our trade income dwindle away and likely have our own navy hunted down.
>>
>>5237054
QM is this true?:

>>5237179
"If we couldn't afford it I don't imagine we'd have the option for the reform to begin with."

We are a dying empire that has the right to conquer the entire map, we are already hated and on top of that we sell ourselves silk and purple dye. No nation will stop buying these products from us. Seriously, do you think that paying for expensive mercenaries to fight pirates that we can pacify without a drop of blood shed other than making a profit is a good idea?

>>5237178
The nobles who won't be attacked by pirates without losing money for their merchant ships being attacked? Or the clerics who can be pacified on the grounds that we are protecting our people as well as giving these criminals a chance to redeem themselves by attacking our enemies?
>>
>>5237192
>>5237179
>"If we couldn't afford it I don't imagine we'd have the option for the reform to begin with."

Your resources are limited, and based on what you pick it may strain you in one place or another. But thanks to your negotiations with house Maniakes, you have a little more breathing room for the negotiations.

So yes, you do have the cash or the debt celling to push through a reform of this nature. Whatever it may be.
>>
>>5237192
>We are a dying empire that has the right to conquer the entire map, we are already hated
Proofs? We are not so hated that foreign merchants won't do business with us, either selling their wares here or us selling our wares abroad.

and on top of that we sell ourselves silk and purple dye. No nation will stop buying these products from us.
You assume that just as you assume a bunch of pirates will simply do as we say because we let them operate out of our ports. Not only would this foolish idea destroy our trade income in exchange for "pirate tribute" you would be destroying the income of our own people, from the poors to the nobles. Even if you believe they won't molest our own people you can't believe their activities would not have economic consequences.

The nobles are already going to be upset about the administrative reforms, they're going to be upset about the asceticism autism, and now you're proposing we shelter and encourage pirates. Are you attempting to act out your namesake?

Let's not forget that we've squeezed and disgraced the most prominent merchant family in our lands, I wonder how this would make them feel?

I'm sure they and the nobles would love to talk about it.

Seriously, do you think that paying for expensive mercenaries to fight pirates that we can pacify without a drop of blood shed other than making a profit is a good idea?

And you think we will pacify pirates without a drop of bloodshed while thinking it would be impossible to win over the eastern rebels diplomatically?

>The nobles who won't be attacked by pirates without losing money for their merchant ships being attacked?
So you're going to pretend they simply won't attack our own peoples ships ever because reasons? What about traders that come to our lands to purchase the nobles goods? Or who bring items our people buy and resell at a profit? Trade does not only flow in one direction.

Or the clerics who can be pacified on the grounds that we are protecting our people as well as giving these criminals a chance to redeem themselves by attacking our enemies?
Oh please.

Offering amnesty is reasonable, inviting them to set up shop is retarded.
>>
>>5237212
Excuse the formatting errors
>>
>>5237054
>As the strongman stated previously, you could rebuild the necessary facilities and hire the necessary workers to make ships, not as expensive, but it will take time, a lot of time, and the quality is not guaranteed, but it is an investment. In time, you will make great fleets of fine ships without outside influence.
>The dregs. They only cause issues, and no one will miss them. An easy solution, a quick solution. Hopefully the taskmasters can keep them inline.
>Offers of clemency for those pirates that are willing to take them. Their quality will be…questionable, but they shall be experienced men who own their everything to you.
>Armentarius is right. Supporting pirates will see you alienate all civilized nations of the world. It too, shall sully the empire’s honour.
>>
>>5237212
I want you to understand something, why pirates don't attack our lands is very simple. For a pirate it is almost impossible to find a place to repair or buy new boats. It's even if they find this location it's going to be very far from the trade routes. Having access to the largest and best-placed port in the world would be far more valuable than attacking a suffering land in decay, plus all the necessities they want to be there, drinks, whores and repairs.
The capital would be filthy rich with the pirates and their treasures that we would receive a portion of.

Another thing, the autistic person who voted to reform the administration without any concessions was not me. Yeah, I voted for us to recreate the imperial spies and assassins, nobody backed it up, this shit isn't my fault.

In short, the pirates would not attack our lands, but they would certainly attack and keep all other fleets of our enemies well occupied.
>>
>>5237224
>In short, the pirates would not attack our lands, but they would certainly attack and keep all other fleets of our enemies well occupied.

You simply CANNOT guarantee that. You're inviting scum and villainy to take root in our lands, officially sanctioned. There will be ones who don't give a shit and do whatever they want, either way traders WILL be deterred from entering our lands. The economy will suffer immensely. Crime will only invite more crime.

And what will you say when the fleets of foreign nations enter our waters with the intent of clearing out pirates? When a bunch of dissatisfied nobles and merchants decide to replace us? Whose support will we have if either comes to pass?

Making our lands a haven for pirates will only bring us ruin.
>>
>>5237192
And what about those who are obsessed with honor and prestige? Those are the only two things that we have in relative abundance, and if those go, will the loyalty of our military go with them as well? Will our personal guard be more loyal without prestige of protecting the Emperor?

Unfortunately, this is one of those things that we shouldn’t mess with right out of the gates of our reign.

>>5237224
While I’m not opposed to creating a spy network, that will be a long and exhausting process, and even them may not be totally loyal to us personally.
>>
>>5237054
Ships
>>As the strongman stated previously, you could rebuild the necessary facilities and hire the necessary workers to make ships, not as expensive, but it will take time, a lot of time, and the quality is not guaranteed, but it is an investment. In time, you will make great fleets of fine ships without outside influence.

Crews
>>Mercenaries, whilst expensive, are experienced and skilled, the best men you could probably get.

Officers
>There are people skilled in the arts of the seas, no doubt. You just have to find those of minds fitting for the task. Though, they will need time to gain experience, most of your captains met their ends in a watery grave.

>Armentarius is right. Supporting pirates will see you alienate all civilized nations of the world. It too, shall sully the empire’s honour

Love Arm, demanding respect for our honour is always a good thing. He is right, and it would be best to ensure we are considered respectable.

It will take some time but is balanced. We do have some money with us thanks to what we did so far, and the mercs are probably the more expensive thing here of the options. This said, a safer trade means more cash. So this investment will be of great aid.
Beyond that Admiral Mundus will probably help with the training of the officers and in other matters regarding this action for the navy, and should be happy of this development.


>>5237054
Completely unrelated qm & other anons, but since we talked with this man and this encounter looks like an oppurtunity to me and since we can spend some free time, why not talk more ? If anyone is interested of course.
>Write in
Talk with the Tarrizan merchant about his city, and the western continent. What s the reason for the war against Patera ? What's the official position of Tarrizo with the empire, beside trade ?
Also allow the other men that talked with us to say their own opinion on this. Be the strongman or the wisemen.
This doesn't mean we need to have a immediate political stance with Tarrico, but it allows us to know things we wouldn't know from being in the court. For example what our people would think if the empire did more than trade with Tarrico.
>>
>>5237403
>If anyone is interested of course.

Sure I'm game. If we can expand trade in some way or another we absolutely should.
>>
>>5237054
>As the strongman stated previously, you could rebuild the necessary facilities and hire the necessary workers to make ships, not as expensive, but it will take time, a lot of time, and the quality is not guaranteed, but it is an investment. In time, you will make great fleets of fine ships without outside influence.

>The dregs. They only cause issues, and no one will miss them. An easy solution, a quick solution. Hopefully the taskmasters can keep them inline.
We're already going to spending too much as is, mercenaries will only balloon the cost even more. We need money to unfuck the rest of the empire too.

>Offers of clemency for those pirates that are willing to take them. Their quality will be…questionable, but they shall be experienced men who own their everything to you.

>Armentarius is right. Supporting pirates will see you alienate all civilized nations of the world. It too, shall sully the empire’s honour.
>>
>>5237054
>As the strongman stated previously, you could rebuild the necessary facilities and hire the necessary workers to make ships, not as expensive, but it will take time, a lot of time, and the quality is not guaranteed, but it is an investment. In time, you will make great fleets of fine ships without outside influence.
>The dregs. They only cause issues, and no one will miss them. An easy solution, a quick solution. Hopefully the taskmasters can keep them inline.
>There are people skilled in the arts of the seas, no doubt. You just have to find those of minds fitting for the task. Though, they will need time to gain experience, most of your captains met their ends in a watery grave.
>Armentarius is right. Supporting pirates will see you alienate all civilized nations of the world. It too, shall sully the empire’s honour.
Rebuilding the navy will be a long and slow process, we can afford the time investment to get it right and stand on our own two feet. Historically, many militaries had a large proportion of press-ganged criminals and navies were no exception - especially in the latter Age of Sail, many captains were uniformed pirates as well, but they acted like pirates as well and this often showed in fleet battles.
Ideally, I would like to mix the scum with mercs to (literally) show them the ropes and keep them in line, but if the QM can't handle the autism then so be it.
>>
>>5237054
>As the strongman stated previously, you could rebuild the necessary facilities and hire the necessary workers to make ships, not as expensive, but it will take time, a lot of time, and the quality is not guaranteed, but it is an investment. In time, you will make great fleets of fine ships without outside influence.
>Mercenaries, whilst expensive, are experienced and skilled, the best men you could probably get.
>Offers of clemency for those pirates that are willing to take them. Their quality will be…questionable, but they shall be experienced men who own their everything to you.
>Armentarius is right. Supporting pirates will see you alienate all civilized nations of the world. It too, shall sully the empire’s honour.
>>
>>5237054
>As the strongman stated previously, you could rebuild the necessary facilities and hire the necessary workers to make ships, not as expensive, but it will take time, a lot of time, and the quality is not guaranteed, but it is an investment. In time, you will make great fleets of fine ships without outside influence.

>The dregs. They only cause issues, and no one will miss them. An easy solution, a quick solution. Hopefully the taskmasters can keep them inline.

>There are people skilled in the arts of the seas, no doubt. You just have to find those of minds fitting for the task. Though, they will need time to gain experience, most of your captains met their ends in a watery grave.

>Armentarius is right. Supporting pirates will see you alienate all civilized nations of the world. It too, shall sully the empire’s honour.
>>
>>5237054
>Invest
Its gonna suck for now but better for the future, also depending on another naval power for our fleet would bite us in the ass later. We should see about rebuilding our spy network to get some ship building tech or someone willing to spill the beans.

>Dregs and partial conscription
Offer freedom to these sorry chucklefucks after X years of service in the navy, the officers will still bitch but its better than having no manpower.

>Sadly this is gonna have to be 2, maybe 1 as a temporary solution.
This is the one thing we have to do right, without proper officers we are fucked.

>Offer them safe haven
In an attempt to save face, lets us employ our bookwormyness to make a connection between a feudal contract and our pirate solution. What is this called in modern times? A Corsair patent, give safe haven and free reign to those willing to be pointed at our enemies and collaborate with the navy.
>>
If we acquire ships from NOT!Venice could we see to recreating their designs or improving our own based off them later?
>>
>>5237832
Probably, depends on how is education in our empire. From what they said we had a massive brain leak so its unlikely we will get very far unless we find the ones who stayed.
Ship production has some factors regarding architecture but its also a matter of production technology. How are we making the planks? do we have drydocks? How is our wood quality. Etc
>>
>>5237255

The system in question is not a universal invitation for anyone, it is a government-approved document that chooses which pirates will be able to use our services, which means they will have nowhere to go if they attack us. The pirates working for us satisfied, will not accept the actions of the traitor pirate, the unchosen pirates will see this traitor pirate as a little bitch of the state and will attack him, the other nations will not forget that they attacked them, which is guinify that the worst decision a pirate under contract can make is to attack our nation.

>>5237291

The official navy will not disappear, the intention is to use pirates as militias in times of peace, and as auxiliaries in times of war.
The honorable officers will have ample opportunity to choose their course in the navy, which was not long ago abandoned, were they before the renovation?

If the spy network is going to be a long project, why are we putting it off, besides we're not sure of anyone's loyalty.
>>
Ships:

Homemade 11

Tarrizans 1

Crews:

Countryside 1

Mercs 6

Dregs 6

Officers:

Merchants 1

Clemency 6

Locals 6

Pirates:

Safe haven 3

No haven 10

Need tie breakers
>>
>>5237054
>As the strongman stated previously, you could rebuild the necessary facilities and hire the necessary workers to make ships, not as expensive, but it will take time, a lot of time, and the quality is not guaranteed, but it is an investment. In time, you will make great fleets of fine ships without outside influence.

>Mercenaries, whilst expensive, are experienced and skilled, the best men you could probably get.

>There are people skilled in the arts of the seas, no doubt. You just have to find those of minds fitting for the task. Though, they will need time to gain experience, most of your captains met their ends in a watery grave.

>Armentarius is right. Supporting pirates will see you alienate all civilized nations of the world. It too, shall sully the empire’s honour.
>>
>>5238176
>>5238178
Actually, wait, I'll switch to...
>Offers of clemency for those pirates that are willing to take them. Their quality will be…questionable, but they shall be experienced men who own their everything to you.

Having experienced men right away will be important, and they'll be loyal.
>>
Ships:

Homemade 12

Tarrizans 1

Crews:

Countryside 1

Mercs 7

Dregs 6

Officers:

Merchants 1

Clemency 7

Locals 6

Pirates:

Safe haven 3

No haven 11

Locked in
>>
“Before we let you go, fine citizens. We would like to hear your opinions on the Tarrizans.” You state with curiosity in your eyes.

The faces of them in the crowd curl up in scowls at their mention.

“Liars, thieves and opportunists, your majesty.” As politely as possible, the wiseman responds. A raised eyebrow from you indicates him to continue. “They, like me, are merchants, but they hold no honour. They trade and they sell to all and everyone, for anything and everything. It is, in fact, something they take great pride in. One day, they could proclaim to be devoted followers of the Shepherd, even though heretics they are.”

Sensing that he is about to go into a rant, you quickly interject “Believing that the Shepherd was but a man even after his death and not the son of God, but still dying to protect all hope, yes, I am aware, continue.”

“As I was saying, your majesty. On one day, they will proclaim their religious devotion and assist all to bring down the pagans, and the next, they shall sell the pagan ships that they are now lacking, ships that they destroyed previously, now giving them even more vessels with which to prowl upon the faithful.” He finishes his rant.

“I too view them with mistrust, your majesty.” The strongman interjects. “It is they who built the Akeoinians their fleet, with which they had brought upon us the great disaster of bitter defeat.”

“But it is also they that brought supplies to Myralos, when ocean was crossed by those heathen Iwaads over a century ago. Saving the empire.” Once more, the man who offered to give safe haven to pirates speaks up.

“And they received special tariff exemptions since ! They flood the markets with their goods, to the point where even I find it difficult to make a profit.” The wiseman interjects.

Cowed, the other man remains silent.

“We thank you for your words.” Hoping to prevent any possible incident, you call out. “And dismiss you. May your path be forever enlightened.”

The men bow deeply, nearly impacting the ground.

[blue]Seems like I will have to question the Tarrizan merchant some more after all.[/blue]

Turning around, you slowly meander back to the merchant, keeping your own haste and curiosity in check. It would be unbefitting for you to run.

“Our good man, we once again have questions for you.” You say with a smile as you return.

“Your most regal majesty, this humble one is more than willing to answer any questions you have !” He says with great joy. Looking over his goods, you realize that in scant few minutes, most of them had been bought up.”

[blue]Was it because I came around here ?[/blue]

“We wished to learn more about your great city and Rogarus as a whole. From the perspective of man from it.”
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>>5238355

“Of course, your most regal majesty. The great city is the jewel of the thousand islands ! Its mighty walls cover the entire island upon which it rests, the plentiful bustling city built atop of it. Our great port invites ships all across the world and sees the most trade than any other in the world, I dare so to claim. Our mighty fleet holds sway over the isles and its surroundings, our brave marines ensure that said islands are safe and prosperous and untouched by the chaos of war. The halberdiers that make up our army, are valiant as any knight and just as well armed, if preferring to fight on foot, but their might at arms should never be underestimated !” With a bright smile he proclaims.

“As for the continent.” His enthusiasm instantly dies off. “Well, the lands of E’fostye are as always at the throat of their rivals Jaykins. I do believe that their little war this time has been going on for about, hmmm…, maybe fifteen, sixteen years ?” As if unsure himself, the man states. “A usual occurrence. Both had been at each other’s throats for a while now, two centuries I believe. Bleeding and dying, fighting over some fertile valley or another. No natural borders to keep them safe but to annihilate each other, you see.

What next.” He begins thinking. “Ah ! Escuratans ! Yes, they’ve devolved into a civil war. Old king died with nothing but bastards to his name, all whom in an act of piety he legitimized before his death. Thus, dragging many more to meet the Shephard.”


“Rogarus sounds like a tumultuous place of strife and war.” You way with mild shock, for you, the heartland was always safe, no matter what.

“Oh it is, your most regal majesty, but what else is there to do when every family has at least ten grown children with more on the way, but to fight war ? Besides pestilence and famine, that is, those two being punishments from God and a sign for all conflict to cease, after all.”

“Indeed, may man remain virtuous and free of sin, to earn his grace.’ You reply almost out of instinct, heretic the man in front of you may be, but at least he is no pagan. “And what about this, Patera ? And the war you waged.”

The man’s face darkens. “Those are villainous people, your most regal majesty. They hail from the south of Rogarus, their city built as the river Lectus meets the sea. They had directed much of the trade coming from the South, selling it to us at greatly inflated prices to propagate their own influence and expand onto the continent, over throwing many a legitimate ruler. Such vileness could not be tolerated by the most honourable lords, as such, we assisted them by destroying the greatest lifeblood of Patera. With no more money, they could not afford to pursue war, and they ended up collapsing. Ensuring, that us, proud and true, honest merchants of most gentle and beautiful Tarrizo, would be the one plying the trade routes !” Again, with excitement he proclaims.
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>>5238359

“Impressive. To crush one’s foe so thoroughly. Speaking of defeats, I’ve recently come to learn that you assisted our mighty empire centuries ago, and earned some great privileges because of so.”

“That is correct, your most regal majesty. We were given the right to trade without the levying of tariffs upon our ships, and the exclusive right to trade your fine silks with the west. Speaking of which, would you be willing to give us the right to trade your purple dye ?”

“Unfortunately, no. Such a matter has to be discussed at length.” You instantly shoot down the mans offer.

“Ah, saddening indeed, your most regal majesty. But if you change your mind, just know that we Tarrizans are your greatest allies and friends !” He exclaims as befitting of a merchant.

“It is good to know, but now, I grow weary and must depart. Go with God, our friend.” You excuse yourself, unwilling to be dragged unwittingly into negotiations by the man.

Instead, you hurry, whilst still appearing carefree, to your carriage. A mountain of documents awaits you, the reforms of the administration need to be solidified, corruption found and uprooted.
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And what corruption there is. You’ve located four focal points of issue in the days spent digging through the documents. An oil lamp burning slowly, illuminating your surroundings allows you to see the neatly stacked documents. A plate of lightly roasted nuts and a goblet of wine being your only company in such late night. Especially when half of all of the servants in the palace were let go, including three fourths of the courtiers. You have to admit, that the halls feel empty, besides your stoic guards standing in absolute silence.

Between your intensive work, you had announced decrees issuing the reconstruction of drydocks, harbours and ports to kickstart ship construction. Hopefully some of the let go servants will find work there.

Foreigners also flooded into the city, in the past few weeks, mercenaries smelling gold, as you commanded to find skilled men to crew the soon to be built ships, a season or two later, hopefully. But for now, they sit and wait, spending their silver and gold on baser pleasures of life, as befitting men of such low moral standing, you can only hope that their officers, whom admittedly come from low stock, will deal with them. As there already are former pirates accepting offers of clemency, swearing undying loyalty and promising to rid of their once kin that plague your seas. And all the better, as you will not welcome criminality and lack of morals by allowing safety for pirates in your lands. The empire is weak, but not weak enough to debase herself as such.

Whilst the naval reform is under way, the four different stacks haunt your eyes. Four powerful noble families, deeply enmeshed in society. Holding governance over their provinces for generations, each with their own issues.
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>>5238360

At present, you can only tackle one safely. [red]Your lack of tact, and the reduction of prestige from your, granted pious, austerity measures. Mean that you risk significant backlash if you tackle more than one of the families. However, if you are willing to take the risk, you can do so.[/red]

>House Kurkuas. For the longest time they had been made governors over [i]Movmetáxinisiá[/i] (Purple silk islands). The reports you’ve red show discrepancies in both purple dye and silk production, no doubt funnel into the family’s private coffers. You cannot allow such a vital trade resource to be allowed to be misused.

>House Bardanes. They hold the most fertile lands within the empire, the most populous as well, the [i]thémata[/i] (placement, district) of [i]Chloerógi[/i] (Verdant land). Yet the amount of men provided for the army are always lacking in quality, old and sickly, poorly equipped, if they show up at all. You need fighting men, and you will get them.

>House Ingerinus. The mines of northern [i]Orospulón[/i] (east mountain) are rich in ores, and their exploitation is commendable, but house Ingerinus is singularly obsessed over it, to the point where slave revolts are common, not only that, but the fortification there are languishing due to a lack of maintenance. No even that, despite the impressive numbers, the actual amount of ore, needed to equip your armies, that reaches the ever-hungry forges, is but a fraction. The lands of [i]Asímiaima[/i] (Silver blood) shall receive new management.

>House Staurakius. Governors of Kósmosaspída (World shield). They govern the lands closest to the capital, although not the greatest in anything, their strategic position means that they always had the ears of emperors, this allowed them to build up a frightening amount of influence in the courts of other nobility and the senate. They shall be crippled, for they can be a potential threat.
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>>5238362
>House Ingerinus. The mines of northern [i]Orospulón[/i] (east mountain) are rich in ores, and their exploitation is commendable, but house Ingerinus is singularly obsessed over it, to the point where slave revolts are common, not only that, but the fortification there are languishing due to a lack of maintenance. No even that, despite the impressive numbers, the actual amount of ore, needed to equip your armies, that reaches the ever-hungry forges, is but a fraction. The lands of [i]Asímiaima[/i] (Silver blood) shall receive new management.

Considering our political situation, in my opinion we should start with the "easiest" family to take down, (in theory), the others are too sensitive to be touched at the moment.
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