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      Hello new member   02/03/2018

      Welcome to Europa. This site is part of the region of Europa in the online game NationStates. The region of Europa is a diverse community of nations, with a wide range of political and ideological values, working together through various institutions and alliances - at least when they're not threatening to go to war with each other. Whether you want to play it safe with a liberal democracy, set up a communist regime, or rule your citizens with an iron fist and the threat of turning them into dog food, Europa is a great region to play in. As one of the oldest regions in the game, everybody who's anybody wants to try their hand at ruling their own country right here in Europa. Just head on over to the Forum and have a read through the sticky threads. If you're curious about how all of this work, we've included some helpful links to get you started. A good place to start is our Hitchhickers Guide to Europa. Roleplayers will be glad to see our honest and fair RP rules. Check out our map versions and discover how to apply. Experiencing problem with this website? Our helpdesk is always open. Have fun! -- The Europans Team

Tagmatium Rules

The 500 Club
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About Tagmatium Rules

  • Rank
    "If it had worked, it would have been perfect!"
  • Birthday 01/31/1988

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    The United Kingdom
  • Interests
    Archaeology, the Byzantine Empire and various incredibly nerdy activities.


  • NS
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  • HoS
    Kommodos III
  • HoG
    Kommodos III

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  1. The Leopard's Roar

    “Send them in.” Kommodos didn't look up from his desk as he said the words. He didn't need to check to see whether one of his aides walked towards the doors of the Imperial Office and opened them. He knew that he would be obeyed. To the right of the Holy Emperor's chair stood Mystikos Boionnanes, who surreptitiously looked at his watch, carefully out of the line of Kommodos' sight. The meeting was exactly on time, five minutes past ten in the morning. To the left and slightly behind stood Protospatharios Hadrianos of the Spatharokandidatoi, Kommodos' chief bodyguard. The Holy Emperor had been steadily working since seven o'clock in the morning, after being awoken by a ceremonial three strikes upon his bedroom door. Then followed a moment prayer within a private chapel and then breakfast, traditionally taken on the Leopard Throne itself. At first the entry of those outside was barred by two members of the Maghlabitai, who stood in the way of the doorway until a priest stepped forward and blessed them. The bodyguards then stood aside and allowed the group to enter the room. They walked forward for several metres until they came to the large mosaic of Europa on the floor of the room. At this point, the group of uniformed officers and a suited man gave a deep bow to their monarch. A second priest stepped forward from the right of the room and made the sign of the cross over them. “You may rise,” came the voice of Kommodos. There were some parts of the multitude of ceremonies and traditional Boionannes knew that Kommodos didn't like but in the aftermath of the Civil War of 2005, the Holy Emperor thought that it did no harm for the armed forces to know their place. In theory, the ceremony actually called for the full prostration on the floor before the Holy Emperor, but that was thought to be too much. The sound of footfalls echoed across the wide expanse of the room in front of the Imperial Desk, the silken wall hangings not doing much to soften the noise of four pairs of shoes walking across the mosaic floor. The bodyguards ranged throughout the room snapped to attention as the party of four walked through the room towards the far end. That would have informed those who didn't know those attending the meeting were of a high rank within Tagmatium. Most of them wore uniforms, but three of them had were of especially high rank. Of these, one in the black of the Basilikoploimon, the Navy, the second in the blue/grey of the Basilikoaeroporia, Air Force and the third in the khaki of the Strates, the Army, although the black trousers marked him out as from the Paramonai. The man in the suit of dark grey had the badge of the Greater Holy Empire pinned to a lapel. They walked towards the Imperial Desk in an order described by protocol – the soldier was on the Holy Emperor's right, as the representative of the senior service of Tagmatium, with the suited individual to the left from Kommodos' point of view. Behind the soldier walked the naval officer, as a member of the next branch of the armed forces. The air force officer was at the rear left, as the Tagmatine air force was the youngest of all the branches of the armed forces. All of them were of four star rank or above – it was considered beneath the dignity of the Holy Emperor to be briefed by anyone of a three star rank or below. As the group reached the end of the mosaic on the floor, they stopped and fanned out into a line. They then gave the Holy Emperor a deep bow. They held it until Kommodos spoke. “Be seated.” At that command, they stepped forward to the four chairs that had been arranged in front of Kommodos' desk. The suited man stepped forward first, taking the seat to the Holy Emperor's right, breaking the arrangement that they had moved towards the desk in. The officers then sat in the places in order of precedence of their branch whilst their aides stood behind them. Despite this being an informal briefing for the Holy Emperor by the representatives of the Epistrategai on the plans that they had been preparing for the northern area, the start of it was dominated by ceremony. It was designed to remind the members of the armed forces that it was the Holy Emperor who was in charge of them and that he was appointed by God. That to undertake a coup against him was going against God's will. Boionannes knew that the three officers had been through it many times before and he also knew that he couldn't count the number of successful military coups against Holy Emperors in the past on the fingers of both hands. “Megas Logothetes Kontarian, Domestikos Mesardonites, Navarkhes Ethelred and Doux Spondyle,” said Kommodos, looking at each of them in turn. “May the blessing of Christ be upon you. I thank you for coming. May I offer you some refreshment?” Again, it was still part of the ceremony. It wouldn't be until after a cup of tea, a glass of water and a sweet pastry had been put in front of them all that the meeting would actually start. It was supposed to represent the Holy Emperor as provider to all of those in the Greater Holy Empire. It didn't actually matter whether any of them even wanted the refreshment – to refuse would be a gross breach of protocol and tradition. One that would undoubtedly have deep repercussions on the one who did it. “We thank you for allowing us some of your precious time, O most Christian majesty. We hope that it will be a fruitful meeting, God be willing,” intoned Mesardonites. As the most senior figure from the meeting, it was his duty and honour to reply.. He and the rest of them stood again and bowed. They returned to their seats as four functionaries stepped forwards and placed their refreshments in front of them. With that, it was almost like a switch had been turned off. The formal air didn't so much dissipate but it certainly dropped several notches. Kommodos sat forward in his chair and assumed his habitual pose, steepling his fingers and looking at the others over the top of them. The Mystikos met Kontarian's eye and gave him a friendly nod of greeting. “Since the Epistrategai's last meeting on the subject, it seems that the situation has moved forward,” said Mesardonites. He was a man of aquiline features, haughty and proud, dark hair greying at the temples. A true member of the Greater Holy Empire’s military aristocracy, right down to the fact that he was in the Paramonai Koursores, the prestigious cavalry. “ @Adaptus has begun to make moves towards the areas in the north of the Occident. Their plans have undoubtedly crossed your desk, your majesty. Personally, I think they are... somewhat ambitious. Their military hasn't fought a proper war since the AdSoc War and, even then, it was alongside several other major Europan powers. Precisely what sort of resistance they will face will be unknown until it happens. They attempted the same under Magnus the Aggressor. The Adaptons present it as merely border skirmishes but our analyses suggest that they were actually turned back by the resistance that they met.” The cavalryman leant forward and picked up the cup of tea that had been placed before him. It would have been done to his taste, Boionnanes knew. Exactly to his taste. Years ago, when Kommodos had just attained the Leopard Throne, this had been done as the implication of a threat. If one's tastes had been known like that, then what else was known? The military aristocracy had loathed that the grandson of a coal merchant had attained the highest position in the Greater Holy Empire. Now, however, it was almost a courtesy. Taking a sip, the Domestikos sat back in his chair before continuing. “The operations put forward by the Epistrategai remain almost the same as the thought experiments put forward over a decade ago, when we thought we might face Machina Haruspex.” The Domestikos motioned forwards one of the aides, who came forward and handed a briefcase to Boionnanes. Mesardonites then continued. “The main elements remain the same – a major push across the Jaehos river, towards the capital city, another one from the direction of Kalamanon and a large-scale landing from Glevokastron and Trapezon on the northern coast, accompanied by several smaller-scale advances from the direction of Trapezon.” He reached forward again and replaced his cup back on its saucer. Although Mesardonites' face was calmed, Boionannes realised that this was the point that the army officer was building to. “We think that at least a Thematon Bandon is needed for each of the major attacks, and a Thematon for each of the smaller-scales ones. And a reserve likely of at least half that many again.” The Mystikos looked from Mesardonites' face to that of the Holy Emperor. Kommodos had remained silent as the officer was talking, taking it all in. In his own head, Boionannes did the maths with the vague numbers of the sizes of those units that he himself knew. It sounded like it was a lot of troops. “If we begin the preparations within the week, it will take several months before we are ready,” Mesardonites said. “And one of our main concerns will be what, if anything, the warlords that have risen out of the ruins will do. There is even the possibility of a spoiling attack.” He reached forward again, this time picking up the glass of water and drinking a mouthful. As if this was a cue, the naval officer to his left started to talk. “The main concern of the Basilikoploimon will, of course, be protecting the landing attempts,” said Ethelred. He was a tall man, standing over two metres tall. Blond haired, blue eyed, he was clearly a barbaros, a foreigner, but Ethelred had risen through the ranks of the Tagmatine navy through his ability. “However, after our experiences at Karthay, I believe we can surmount these obstacles. Our northern neighbours don't have much of a naval presence but forcing a landing will always be difficult. What does worry us somewhat is our ally's current commitments. “The Adapton navy likely will have its attention split three ways, once their invasion begins – undertaking their usual tasks, their @Derthalen operation and then carrying out operations against the petty states that have sprung up in the former Beautancus.” Like Mesardonites, Stylianos was a veteran of the AdSoc War and had worked closely with the Adaptons before. “We will only have to split our attention two ways – guarding our own shores and any attempted landings against the northern warlords that we might face. Which is why the Epistrategai suggests that we offer the Adapton Government that we take over some of their home defence tasks, in order to allow them to continue their actions.” The Holy Emperor nodded. “That will be discussed by the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion.” “Finally, your majesty, there are the weapons of mass destruction that the Haru used to hold.” Now it was the turn of the Doux to speak. The officers had likely thought long and hard about how to address the meeting with Kommodos, thought Boionannes. Although the best tactic might have been to address the most important issue first, rather than leave it to the last. “We have performed numerous aerial reconnaissance missions in the last few weeks, in order to determine the state of the sites we long suspected were the main stockpiles of nuclear, chemical or biological weaponry. Some of them appear to be reasonably well protected by the warlords, others... less so. There have been no indications that the warlords have been using them against each other but the Epistrategai feels that the risk of that will only increase in time. That, and the chance of them falling into the hands of other, unsavoury groups will also become more likely. The older plans had rendering these sites either inoperable or in our hands very quickly once the invasion started and the newer plans have these as an even higher priority.” The Mystikos looked at the air force officer as she said these rather chilling words. She didn't seem particularly moved by them, sitting as she was almost impassively. Neither had Kommodos batted an eyelid at them. Only Kontarian seemed to shift uncomfortably in his chair as the Doux told the Holy Emperor one of the high command's biggest fears. It would probably worry much of the wider region, too. The movement caught the Holy Emperor's eye and he turned his attention to the Megas Logothetes. “And you, Megas Logothetes Kontarian,” he said. He had not swapped position since he had placed his elbows on the arms of his seat. “What does the Logothesion think?” The civilian shifted in his chair again. Until recently, the Epistrategai had been fairly hostile towards Kontarian, Boionannes knew. They regarded him as almost a traitor, rejecting his family's history as one of the main aristocratic military clans and joining the ministry of the armed forces. These days, they still saw him as something of a black sheep but were less overt in their contempt for him. “Your majesty, mobilising on the scale that the Domestikos has outlined will likely reduce our ability to project any force across the wider region,” said Kontarian. “I have been assured – and I have reviewed the numbers involved myself – that our defensive commitments will not be compromised in any way. Along with the Logothesion for Foreign Affairs and the Tagmatine Intelligence Network, my Logothesion feels that there will be no large crises surfacing at least until the initial part of the invasion has been completed. That may, however, change, although your majesty knows that.” He repeated the gesture of Mesardonites and reached for the cup of tea that had been served to him. “I feel...” he paused and sighed quietly to himself. “I feel that we need to act now. The Adaptons will be advancing very soon and they will cause enough disruption that our invasion will probably benefit from it. We also need to be mutually supportive – both of our armed forces will be in a position to come to each others' aid, if need be. But I think we also need to put feelers out to see if we can subvert some of these warlord factions to ourselves.” The Megas Logothetes turned in his chair and motioned one of his own aides over. Boionannes took the proffered briefcase and put it with the one from the army officer. “There is at least one of them calling themselves the 'Christian Warlord'. He seems to be in the habit of baptising his soldiers with a fire hose. I wouldn't go as far as to suggest that that one might be a possibly ally, but I think that it warrants investigation. There are others than might be subverted, too.” Once Kontarian had finished speaking there was a moment of silence. Boionannes knew that this was a momentous occasion. What the Holy Emperor chose to do from here would have a vast impact on the progress of Tagmatium and, indeed, Europa for years to come. The decision would not come now, though. “My children,” said Kommodos, breaking the silence and abruptly starting the ceremony for the group to leave the room. “I thank you for bringing this to my attention. May the blessings of Christ be upon you.” The military officers and the Logothetes got to their feet and bowed deeply to their sovereign and backed out of the room in a reverse of the ceremony that they had performed whilst moving towards the Imperial Desk. Picking up the briefcases, Boionannes opened them and extracted the USB drives from within them. There would be much to do over the next few days.
  2. Protecting the Past, Securing the Future

    To: Her Majesty, Queen Julia III of Morheim From: Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion of the Megas Agios Basileia Arhomanion The Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion salutes the noble venture that you are starting upon. Europa is blessed to be the home of many and varied cultures and a wide range of historical sites and artefacts. To endeavour to protect them is to not just preserve what has gone before, but also to enlighten those who will follow on afterwards. It is an aim that will help bridge any chasms that may spring up between the nations of our great region and the sharing of knowledge, culture and history can only help with that. Tagmatium has many archaeological and historical sites famous across the region and it is that it is felt that many across Europa would be edified to see and experience. From the glorious sites of the Queen of Cities, Tagmatika, to the rock-cut churches in the northern foothills, Tagmatine culture shines out, glorifying Christ and the region of Europa. . However, in recent years, it seems that the world has, perversely, become larger. Fewer people seem to be travelling than before, and so many miss viewing sights across the region. It is said that travel broadens the mind and anything that helps to stimulate this would go a long way to making the region a more peaceful and cultured place. The aim to reduce the barriers to scholarly cooperation is a worthy project, as education is key to building our future together. Without such understanding, the region may slip once again into ignorance and from there it would only be a matter of time before we see the sort of strife that blighted the region in the not so distant past. To this end, the Greater Holy Empire will dispatch a delegation in order to discuss this treaty with yourself and the representatives from other nations that will be attending. Undoubtedly, it will be a fruitful occasion for all of those present. May God favour the work that your majesty is undertaking. Surprisingly for a member of the Logothesion (Ministry) for Foreign Affairs, Konstaninian Makarios hated travel, especially on diplomatic missions. He liked it well enough for holidays, but he knew that as soon as he was out of the Greater Holy Empire, then the rivals within his Logothesion would be plotting against him, just as surely as he would have been plotting against them. His aim was to one day replace the Megas Logothetes and in order to do that, he had to make sure that his name was out there. And not being undermined at home within the Logothesion. Whilst the Greater Holy Empire expected cooperation within its various governmental bodies, there was always a level of infighting, as the ambitions of many of those within them was to rise to the top. Makarios was no different in that regard – indeed, he had built up something of a reputation for being a schemer. But to be an under-minister in a foreign affairs ministry meant that some travel to other lands had to take place, especially if one's title was Logothetes for Wider World Affairs, and this almost certainly constituted that. So, here he was, sat on an aircraft taxiing along the runway of some God-forsaken barbaroi realm. He scratched at his scalp and stretched his arms. Although he thought of himself as handsome, few others would have agreed. Those that didn't agree would have described the Logothetes as having “rat-like” features. He had a short, neatly-trimmed beard in the Tagmatine style, although his blond hair and blue eyes made him stand out from the rest of the delegation. Those blue eyes swept around the cabin of the airliner that had taken the Tagmatine delegation to Morheim. For a moment, they rested on the other two leading members, Kalixta Palama and Tribonianos Khalkokondyles, the representatives from the Logothesia for Culture and for Education respectively. Makarios shuddered. They had spent most of the trip gushing effusively about the opportunities that this treaty might afford the Greater Holy Empire – far beyond just educating foreigners about the beacon of light and culture that was Tagmatium. He shook his head. He had read through the treaty, but it didn't particularly interest him. It sounded far too academic and wishy-washy, something that he felt that he had left behind when he finished his masters' degree well over a decade ago. The blue eyes then travelled out of the window to his left. It looked like the aeroplane was coming to a standstill. He picked up the sheaf of material on Morheim that the Logothesion had furnished him with. It wasn't all that much, which the professional side of Makarios found somewhat disconcerting. The nation had been quite isolationist until very recently, escaping the notice of the Greater Holy Empire. It seemed to be a constitutional monarchy, with a Prime Minister, but it seemed that the new queen, Julia, was the driving force behind this treaty. Cynical and somewhat bitter though he was, Makarios was prepared to admit that it was quite impressive. Most constitutional monarchs were merely figureheads. Presumably she was trying to put her stamp on the world and the treaty was an extension of that. And, as she had said herself, that she was a student of archaeology. And she liked her dogs, especially huskies. It had been suggested that, as a diplomatic gift, the Tagmatine delegation present her majesty with a typical Tagmatine dog breed. That had been quashed by Makarios. Whilst he liked dogs, he could just see an incident flaring up if Julia's current dogs took a dislike to the new arrival. And he just thought it a bit cruel to keep a dog cooped up for the length of the flight. It was bad enough for a human. Instead, several mosaics involving dogs, hunting scenes and the like, had been loaded onto the plane. They were copies of genuine examples, as the Logothetes for Culture had pointed out that sending a real one might be somewhat against what the treaty was about. Still, Makarios imagined that these barbaroi would have lots of fun trying to put them together again, although under the direction of the mosaic specialists that had accompanied the delegation. The Tagmatine airliner, coloured in the blue-grey of the Tagmatine Air Force, with a red stripe painted along the fuselage and the tail painted with the Greater Holy Empire's flag, drew to a halt. The delegation stood and began to shuffle off the aeroplane. Leading the way were two guards of the Ikanatoi, in red armour and cream robes. They stood either side of the gangway whilst the Logothetai left the aircraft and a pair of guards from the Athanatoi, wearing green robes and blue armour. All carried shields showing the Chi-Rho and Leopard of Tagmatium. They weren't there because the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion distrusted the security arrangements of Morheim, but to emphasise the dignity of the Tagmatine delegation. And to try to dazzle the barbarians with the splendour of the Greater Holy Empire. “It is a shame that courtly dress was decided against,” said Khalkokondyles with a sigh as he climbed down the stairs towards the tarmac behind Makarios. “It would have certainly made an impact on the people of Morheim.” We would have looked like complete fools thought the Logothetes for Wider World Affairs. Instead, they were dressed in sober business suits with small badges on their lapels showing the flag of the Greater Holy Empire. “It certainly would have, Logothetes,” was what Makarios actually said. “However, it was feared that it would have detracted from the mood of this meeting.” “Still, that they have got the anthem right is a good sign,” continued Khalkokondyles. “Although I imagine that they would have worked long and hard at that. It wouldn't look too good if they messed one up.” Makarios just nodded, not quite trusting himself not to say anything that wouldn't be mean spirited. At the bottom of the stairs, they were greeted by Prime Minister Martin Dries. After the prime minister finished speaking, the three Tagmatine ministers gave him a half bow, the traditional greeting. However, before they could really say anything more, they were whisked away to their allotted vehicles. The drive towards the palace was clearly designed to show off the capital. Thale was pretty, Makarios thought, although it wasn't really a patch on any of the cities of Tagmatium. The other two were making appreciative noises. The new National Archive demonstrated that Morheim was trying to build up the idea of it being some sort of cultural centre of the world and it occurred to Makarios that this treaty put forward by Queen Julia was the logical extension of this. The contrast between the modern buildings and the old part of the city was quite marked. Shining steel and glass gave way to white painted wood and the almost unnoticeable noise of tarmac under the vehicle's wheels was replaced with the rumble of the tyres over cobbled streets. The vehicle wound up towards the palace, passing an honour guard of cavalry, which seemingly gave way to an honour guard of children with stalls once they were in the plaza in front of the palace. They seemed to be having their own cultural festival. “I wonder what those children make of all of this, Logothetes,” Khalkokondyles said to Palama, perhaps sensing that the Logothetes for Wider World Affairs wasn't the person to say it to. “I can imagine that all of this must be very exciting for them. It also presents a very good view of Morheim to all the visiting delegates.” “It does,” replied Palama. “I hope that if the Greater Holy Empire can put on a similar show if we ever host a meeting of the Treaty.” I don't doubt that we'll put these savages to shame thought Makarios. But before he could actually say anything, the vehicle stopped and the door was opened by a smartly-uniformed soldier. Makarios exited the vehicle first, followed by the others. The Queen herself strode forwards and offered a hand to the Logothetes for Wider World Affairs. He almost failed to return the gesture, as it wasn't the way of greeting that he was most familiar with.. The hesitation was imperceptible and he took the offered hand. “The pleasure is ours, your majesty,” said Makarios, a smile breaking through his beard. “The trip was pleasant and it was delightful to see your beautiful capital, short though our drive was. Perhaps we can see some of your city's interesting sights later on.” The Tagmatine stepped back from the handshake and all three of them gave a half-bow at the same time. “I am Logothetes Konstaninian Makarios of the Logothesion of Foreign Affairs, and these are my colleagues, Logothetes Kalixta Palama from the Logothesion of Culture and Logothetes Tribonianos Khalkokondyles Logothesion of Education.” He gestured to the other two in turn. “If you don't mind, some refreshment would be appreciated.”
  3. Communist Takeover

    Goulielmos stopped and waited in front of a large pair of elaborately carved wooden doors at the entrance to the Imperial Office. As the name implied, this was where the Holy Emperor regularly carried out the tasks that required his personal attention. The Megas Logothetes had been asked to discuss the next reply to the Socialist Federation of Ahrana with Kommodos personally. He wasn't quite sure what that would entail, as it appeared that Ahrana responded most reasonably to the Greater Holy Empire's original communication. Either side of it stood two member of the Spatharokandidatoi, their medieval-looking close helmets entirely obscuring their identities. They wore golden plate mail and lamellar and carried pistols in finely-worked but discreet leather holsters, as well as the swords that, along with their white robes, gave them their name. Large oval shields could be used to block access to the door that they guarded. Both pairs of bodyguards snapped to attention as the Megas Logothete approached, in recognition of his high rank within the Tagmatine government. They would not have reacted to lesser mortals at all. He didn't have to knock at the door, as a functionary stepped forward and knocked on the door for him. There was a brief pause, during which Goulielmos could hear nothing from the room within. However the functionary moved forward again and grasped the highly-polished brass handles and pulled the door open. The man bowed deeply into the room and as he did so, the Megas Logothetes saw a small, flesh-coloured earpiece behind the man's left ear. As he moved out of Goulielmos' way and bowed to him, less steep an angle as he did towards the occupant of the room, but still significantly deeper than the ordinary Tagmatine greeting. The floor of the room was covered by a giant mosaic of the region of Europa. It wasn't just an artwork – it was constantly changed as the political map of that area shifted. Some parts of the map had stayed the same for generations, whilst others were almost constantly in flux. It was probably a good thing that the Holy Emperor did not carry out all of his work in the Imperial Office – it would likely undoubtedly get rather tedious, what with the in-house mosaic layers coming in every so often to painstakingly pry up the minute tesserae in order to reflect the most recent changes. At the other end of the room, opposite the door, was an ancient oak desk. On its surface were neatly bundled paper sheaves as well as the golden pot of ink, shaped in the form of a dog, that was one of the symbols of Imperial power. It contained the purple ink that only the Holy Emperor was allowed to use. For anyone else to use it would be treason. Somewhat uncharacteristically, Goulielmos had always thought that it wasn't the best executed of sculptures – something about its face just didn't look right. Admittedly, it wasn't as bad as some medieval paintings that had cats with the faces of humans. The desk was in front of a large glass window which overlooked the Square of St Konstantinos. Each corner was marked by a statue of a Holy Emperor who was considered to be instrumental in making Tagmatium what it was. It started off in the eastern corner with a statue of St Konstantine, not of Constantinople, but the first Holy Emperor of Tagmatium. Then, counter-clockwise, was Basilikos, who died trying to defend the Greater Holy Empire from barbarian invasion. The west held Kommodos II, who pieced together the shattered nation in the 1500s. Finally, in the south, stood Leo III, who introduced the idea of true democracy after a long and arduous war. The Imperial Palace Complex covered the entire mile between St Konstantine and Basilikos and more beyond. Members of the elite Tagmata stood at every entrance and watched the square impassively. The Megas Logothetes walked towards the desk, across the mosaic. He ignored the robed officials that stood at ceremonially- and traditionally-determined places about the room, just as he ignored more bodyguards that stood to attention as he passed them. The Imperial Office was not a cosy room. Once he was close enough to the desk, at a distance prescribed by again by tradition, Goulielmos offered his monarch a deep bow. Behind the desk sat the Holy Emperor, reading through a document. He had not yet deigned to notice that Goulielmos had entered the room. It was the sort of odd power play Kommodos seemed to carry out. He had, after all, been the one who requested Goulielmos' presence. Mystikos Boionannes handed Kommodos another sheet of paper and received one in turn and gave the Megas Logothetes a nod of greeting. “It is immaterial whether the Communists killed the Ahranaian king or not.” The Holy Emperor hadn't looked up from the document he was reading yet. He made a mark or a amendment to it and placed it on the desk in front of him before looking up at Goulielmos. “The General Secretary is adamant that he was murdered by their opponents,” the Megas Logothetes said, feeling that it was somewhat redundant. “We just have their word for it.” Kommodos sat back in his chair and leant his elbows on the desk, resting his hands together in his habitual manner. He nodded at Goulielmos to sit and a robed minion came forward and moved out one of the chairs across the desk for him to sit in. The Megas Logothetes sat down but the Holy Emperor continued to speak before Goulielmos could reply. “And it is unlikely they will decide to launch an international investigation into it. We just have what they say, as you highlighted, and it is convenient for the Greater Holy Empire to regard that as the truth. If only for the time being.” If, Goulielmos supposed, the Communist regime should tumble any time soon, then Tagmatium could just claim that it had never believed that the Socialist Federation wasn't guilty of the regicide. Perhaps it would have mattered more if Ahrana wasn't on the other side of Europa, if it was a country that the Greater Holy Empire had regular contact with. Nations that were there were probably a lot more worried about the spread of Communism than one half the world away. “Of course, your majesty,” said Goulielmos. “And our offer help re-build any damaged religious buildings was accepted by them.” “That is is not surprising,” remarked Kommodos. “They feel that theirs is a new sort of Communism, without some of the baggage that the old forms had. And they likely realise that they are in a world that views their ideology hostilely. We shall work with the Ahranaian government and ideally come to an agreement that surveyors can be sent in order to assess the situation.” Goulielmos nodded. “They do seem to be keen for us to work with them. I can imagine that there might be people who wouldn't be particularly pleased about Tagmatine workers carrying out repairs on... less orthodox places of worship.” “There is the historical precedent for that happening, even if people might be against it for their own foolish reasons,” the Holy Emperor replied. He took his elbows from the desk and sat up straight in his chair. “The quality of Tagmatine mosaics have long been acknowledged throughout Europa and exporting mosaics is a fairly lucrative trade, both secular and religious. Although you would have to speak to Megas Logothetes Khalkeos for the details on that. I would imagine that many of these barbaroi would leap at the chance.” And it would be no bad thing to spread Tagmatine influence, even if it was just architecture, thought Goulielmos. “It will also allow us a reason to send observers along with the workforce,” continued the Holy Emperor. “That will have to be discussed with Kephale Keftedes once at a later date.” Nodding along to Kommodos, Goulielmos scratched at his chin. It would be interesting, if nothing else, to see how the Ahranaian government reacted to foreign citizens. Past Communist societies tended to view them with hostility, wary that they might “infect” their own people with ideas counter to the revolution. The Greater Holy Empire was ideologically quite different from the Socialist Federation, possessing a state religion and an aristocracies, albeit non-titled. “If there is nothing else, your majesty, shall I reply to the General Secretary?” Goulielmos asked. “No, there is nothing else, Megas Logothetes,” said Kommodos. “You may go.” To: the Office of the General Secretary of the Socialist Federation of @Ahrana From: the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion of the Greater Holy Empire Honoured Sir, First and foremost, Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion requests your forgiveness for our confusion over the true culprits of the murder of his majesty, King Gustov XVII of Ahrana. The events moved very quickly and the trickery of the prefidious Democratic Socialist Alliance has meant that the real nature of events has been somewhat obscured to observers from outside of the continent of Argis. We did not mean to blacken the name of the Socialist Federation with the accusation of such a crime. The Greater Holy Empire applauds that the constitution of the Socialist Federation upholds freedom of religion. It says much about the enlightened approach that Ahrana is taking under the guidance of its new regime that the people of Ahrana have thrown aside the anti-religious and atheistic slant that often dogs the development of Communist nations. Continuing in that light, the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion sees no reason that all damaged places of worship can be repaired. After all, in moments of crisis, it is better for people to pitch in together and make sure that everyone pulls through, rather than divide ourselves along any lines, whether they be ideological, national, ethnic or religious. The Greater Holy Empire is willing to provide workers, machinery, funds and materials in order to foster this attitude of togetherness. It is hoped that this means that both of our great nations, despite our obvious differences, can see this as the start of a long and fruitful relationship. May God give his blessings to this new beginning.
  4. Hi I'm Toirse

    Hello! Welcome to the region!
  5. Communist Takeover

    A slow tattoo, caused by a pen tapping against a desktop, echoed across the office. Although the noise was somewhat drowned out by rain hitting the windows behind the man seated at the desk, it spoke of his unease. The room was well lit despite the dark sky outside and cold weather. It was late winter and the rain was tinged with sleet, making an already miserable day's weather even worse for those outdoors. Indoors, however, the office was warm and sumptuously decorated in the grand style of the Greater Holy Empire. Marble and mosaics predominated. As this office was that of the Megas Logothetes for Foreign Affairs, it was decorated in a style that displayed maps and artefacts from foreign climes. Many of the artefacts were priceless, diplomatic gifts given to the Holy Emperor by envoys, either trying to curry favour for their nation or impress their power and wealth on Tagmatium. Slowly, the pen-tapping stopped and the person at the desk straightened up and let out a sigh. He picked up a telephone handset from its cradle on the desk and spoke into it. “Can I get a cup of tea, please? Thank you.” There had to be some variation to the procrastination, after all. The truth was that Eugenios Goulielmos, the Megas Logothetes for Foreign Affairs, was uncomfortable with the message he was being asked to write on behalf of the Holy Emperor. Pragmatism was a policy that Tagmatium favoured – as it was, Ahrana had been taken over by Communists and the remains of the royal government had fled into exile. Whether it could be returned to power remains to be seen, or even if such a thing would be desired. As yet, the Tagmatine Intelligence Network and the military intelligence units of the Epistrategai had not detected any indigenous resistance to the new regime. Attempts to foster such a thing would only cause more strife in a country that had already seen a fair amount. Anyway, what would that achieve? More bloodshed? Peace ought to be cherished and fostered. And the Greater Holy Empire needed more contact with the nations in the west and this seemed like a way to begin to cultivate relations. There was also a nagging worry within the Aigos Basilikon Kounsistorion about the fate of any members of the Iconoclastic Orthodox Church and how they might fare under an atheistic regime. Specifically, the Holy Emperor wanted guarantees for their safety and their freedom of worship and it was felt that recognition of the new regime might help with that. And any such guarantees would lessen any murmurings from the Church about recognition of the Communist regime and possibly provide a starting block for proselyting within the Aharaian populace. Even though their new General Secretary had announced that their constitution guaranteed religious freedom, it was feared by the Church that this was merely lip service to appear more civilised to the rest of the world. Nonetheless, it wasn't even three months since the Communists had forced everyone not of foreign birth out of the country. Less than six months since they had murdered their king and started a civil war. Of course, they painted overthrowing the monarchy with the usual Communistic bluster to be expected – throwing off the chains of oppression, smashing the bourgeoisie and the rest. They claimed that it hadn't been them that murdered the king, but it had been the royal government itself. That sounded like nothing other than dissimulation on the part of the new government. Likely they were guilty of the murders, as well as the blood on their hands for the civil war that their uprising had kick started. There was a knock at the door to the office and an aide came in, bearing a pot of tea, a jug of milk and a cup on a silver tray. “Thank you.” The aide placed the tray on the desk, gave the traditional Tagmatine half-bow, and left again, leaving the Megas Logothetes to his own thoughts. Goulielmos frowned to himself as he poured himself a cup of tea and added milk to it. It wasn't as if the Greater Holy Empire had much love for Communists – after all, it was less than a decade ago that the worst terrorist attack in Tagmatine history had gutted the heart of a city. And then there was the Long War, a generation-long struggle against another revolution in another monarchy that had left Tagmatium on its knees, despite never being invaded itself. Fighting a war for so long had devastated the economy and the war had gone on for so long that children born after the start of the conflict had served on the front lines before it ended. Granted, it was Tagmatium that had been the aggressor in that instance, but memories still remained. And Communism was perceived as something of a dead-end by most Tagmatine experts – it had had its day and been shown to be nothing more than a fad. Admittedly, it was a fad that was taking a long time from finally dying out but it was fading away nonetheless. It was suspected by Goulielmos' own Logothesion that before long, the new Ahranaian regime will have crumbled and a more realistic one will have taken its place. He sighed to himself and took a sip of tea. Ultimately, his hands were tied. The Holy Emperor had commanded that it happen, so as a loyal minister, he had to make it happen. It wasn't as if this was the first time that Tagmatium had turned a blind eye to something like this. It certainly wasn't the first time that he had to compose a friendly communication to a regime that he, personally, found very distasteful. The old League of Imperial Nations had some awful states within it. And realpolitik meant that moral considerations had to be swept aside sometimes. As as bit of a subconscious habit, Goulielmos used his thumb to push his glasses back up his nose. Taking another sip of tea, he paused for a moment before sliding his hands towards the keyboard and starting to type. To: the Office of the General Secretary of the Socialist Federation of @Ahrana From: the Aigos Basilikon Kounsistorion of the Greater Holy Empire of Tagmatium Dear Sir, It can often be a shock when a revolution topples an established regime, sweeping away what has gone before in favour of something new and different. The Greater Holy Empire had not had much contact with the Kingdom of Ahrana, but nonetheless the stories that have unfolded about the indignities heaped upon the brave people of your nation have shocked the world. If even half the tales that have been told are true, then the actions of the workers and people of Ahrana are no surprise. The Aigos Basilikon Kounsistorion cannot condone violence and Tagmatium has always worked towards a peaceful end to any crisis – after all, the way of peace is the way of God. However, the armed struggle that the people of Ahrana undertook is understandable considering the history of neglect, mismanagement and repression by the old royal regime. As such, it is felt by the Aigos Basilikon Kounsistorion that to continue to recognise the so-called Government-in-Exile, led by the Lady Madeleine, is nothing more than a fool's errand. Such actions deny the peace-loving people of Ahrana their freedom. Such a course of action may also endanger peace in Argis. To this end, the Greater Holy Empire of Tagmatium recognises the Socialist Federation as the true government of the nation and people of Ahrana. The Aigos Basilikon Kounsistorion will not support the so-called Government-in-Exile, and believes them to be nothing more than reactionaries who cannot stand to see the people of Ahrana free. However, if members of the Government-in-Exile do find themselves on the shores of Tagmatium, the Greater Holy Empire does will offer them sanctuary, if it sees fit. The Aigos Basilikon Kounsistorion also requires guarantees that when the Socialist Federation speaks of religious freedom, that it is meant. In times past, regimes of a Communistic slant have harried and pursued those who put their faith in our Saviour, Jesus Christ. They have torn down churches, murdered priests and despoiled monasteries. They have also attacked other, less correct faiths. To this end, the Greater Holy Empire asks that the Socialist Federation acts in accordance with its own constitution. If it appears that your new regime is not living up to the religious freedoms laid down in your constitution, that it is not worth the paper it is written on, then expect the harshest of repercussions. Similarly, it is expected that the Socialist Federation investigates the scale of damage inflicted upon religious buildings and communities during their recent struggle for freedom. If it is so wished by the people and workers of Ahrana, then the Greater Holy Empire would be willing to send workers, materials and funds in order to repair the destruction caused, inadvertently or otherwise, during Ahrana's fight for freedom. May the light of Christ shine upon the people of Ahrana and their new found freedom from the oppression of the old regime.
  6. Signatures

    Cheers, O. Some of the ones on the website I looked at were pretty bloody awful. "Childlike" is the only way to describe them. Which understandably isn't what I want to go for for the important people of my nation
  7. [HELP] Currency?

    What!? And lessen the dignity of the ancient Greater Holy Empire by having sharing the same coinage as those two pale imitations!?
  8. Signatures

    I'm trying to make signatures for my ministerial characters, as a way of signing off messages and such. Does anyone have any tips? I found an online signature generator and I'm not sure if it doesn't look a bit sh*t or not. Example: And the website: https://www.mylivesignature.com/ I'm not as creative as many of the people on this forum and I don't know whether I have the time or the money to invest in something better.
  9. The Leopard's Roar

    If the Leopard Throne was the heart of the Greater Holy Empire, it was not its brain. The throne was rarely occupied, even if the pomp and ceremony that surrounded it still went on as tradition dictated. Instead it was deep within the bowels of the building, in one of the many rooms that were often used for meetings of the Agios Basilikon Vestiarion, the Holy Imperial Cabinet. That was the group of close advisers to the Holy Emperor, who dictated policy and actions undertaken by Tagmatium. After all, one of the titles was “autocrat” and that title was lived up to. The room in use today was much like all of the others and something of a mirror of Tagmatium itself – a fusion of the ancient and new, antique and cutting edge. The room was likely below ground level, although due to the labyrinthine corridors of the ancient building, it was easy to lose sense of direction. The only way to truly tell where the room was would be to climb out of one of the windows near the ceiling. And that would be rather beneath the dignity of any of the important figures present at the meeting. The room was dominated by a large oak table, probably older than many nations in Europa. However, that didn't stop it from being updated. At regular intervals along its surface, flat screens had been built into its surface adjacent to each seat. This was so that the occupants of the room could scroll through documents as necessary to what was being discussed. The floor was, again, decorated with a mosaic design, this time being geometric rather than illustrative. The walls were covered in wooden panelling, a design fad dating from the 18th Century – or 73nd Century by Tagmatine reckoning. When renovations were made, they often stayed. Other than that, the room was almost spartan in comparison to many of the richly, and somewhat gaudily, decorated rooms in the rest of the palace. It almost made the room suited to clandestine and secretive meetings, although that was not really the nature of what was taking place there. The wood panelling did give the room a slightly claustrophobic air, in the opinion of the Megas Logothetes for War, Honorios Kontarian. It definitely was one of his least favourite meeting rooms. He much preferred the ones on the upper floors, or at least with bigger windows. They let much more light in. He had no idea why the Holy Emperor would have chosen this one. But, Honorios supposed, it was pretty much like all of the others. He shuffled his bum on his seat and reached for the glass of water in front of him, draining the last of it and replacing it back on the table. “Ultimately, @Adaptus once again becoming stable has made the handling of future events significantly easier,” he said. Other heads at the table nodded, especially the Megas Logothetai for Foreign Affairs and Internal Affairs. “It likely means that the only true local threat that we might face would be from the Great Queendom of @Suverina. And even then, they have been quiet of late.” Whilst Kontarian personally had some old suspicions about Tonaras of Internal Affairs, he knew that Goulielmos of Foreign Affairs was sincere. All three of them, alongside the Tagmatine Intelligence Network and Epistrategai, the General Staff, had worked hard on various plans for the stabilisation of the Greater Holy Empire's western neighbour as it went through the period known within the Federal Kingdom as the “Great Lull”. As Adaptus became increasingly chaotic, it began to seem that direct intervention in the country would be within the best interests of Tagmatium, if only to stop the disruption to the economy of the western portion of Tagmatium's territories. Whether the grand invasion of Operation Flavios or the smaller schemes of Operations Georgios and Mikhael, the projected outcomes were not good. The former would have had vast resources thrown into it, including large scale amphibious landings, paradrops and massed advances by land-based forces. The latter were more concentrated, aiming to penetrate and seize regional capitals with seaborne landings or the national capital with an airborne operation respectively, both coupled with large scale ground operations. However, no matter which of the options selected, the projected outcomes had varyingly been to ignite strengthening resistance against Tagmatine operations and then a tumble into all-out war between the nations or to precipitate a genuine civil war, into which Tagmatium was dragged. So the Greater Holy Empire had been content to watch as Adaptus managed to settle itself onto a much more steady course, even with a couple of stumbles. But the untimely and somewhat suspicious death of King Jovian and the election of King Magnus caused consternation in Tagmatium. As the border war that Magnus had almost entirely caused himself began to intensify, a decision was made to try to stabilise the Occident and bring down the king-turned-military dictator. Operation Mikhael was given the green light. When news reached the Agios Basilikon Vestiarion that Magnus had been deposed, there was perhaps the most genuine panic Kontarian had seen in the Tagmatine capital since the rebels had marched on it during the Civil War. He, in his own words, “shat a brick” when he had been told. The order to cross the Adapton border had already been given and the first units were beginning to advance beyond their start lines within Tagmatium. 'Large scale military exercise undertaken at short notice' was probably one of the pleasant euphemisms for what could have been the biggest clusterf*ck in Tagmatine history. The sudden order to halt had caused the largest number of related fender benders in the history of humanity as several army groups were brought to a sharp halt just short of the border. “It does mean attention can be turned to our most pressing concern,” Kontarian continued. He tapped the touch screen in front of him and brought up a picture of the northern part of the Occident, focussing on both Beautancus and Machina Haruspex, an image that was mirrored on every screen in the room. It was likely redundant. Everyone within the room already knew what the concern Kontarian was talking about. “We have not heard from our ally for some time now. We – that is, the Logothesion of War and the Panstrategeon, have been hesitant in carrying out active reconnaissance towards our ally, just in case we provoked something in return. However, both intelligence within the Logothesion, the military and the Tagmatine Intelligence Network have detected nothing from the Haru government in some time through passive means.” Out of the corner of his eye, he could see Andronikos Keftedes nodding along. Kontarian didn't like the pale spymaster all that much but this had been causing the pair of them not a little lost sleep. Precisely what was going on to Tagmatium's north and east needed to be investigated. Rumour did have it that the semi-civilised hill tribes had been crossing the border more and more regularly. That they were able to cross back at all was something of a surprise. Not like the Haru at all. “Essentially, Imperial Sovereign, we need to undertake active recce towards the Haru, if they are still there,” said Kontarian, addressing Kommodos directly. Again, the spymaster nodded, as if his agreement somehow added more weight to the Megas Logothetes' words. Kontarian felt himself somewhat irked by it. “We will likely start off with high altitude overflights and then move from there. Small-scale foot recce is something that we have considered, but we will need to see if the Haru react to this. Our relationship had significantly improved because of the Karthay Incident, so we could get away with foot recce without anything untoward happening but I think that we should play it safe.” The Holy Emperor had sat with his elbows on the table with his fingers steepled together, leaning slightly forward in his chair. Like everyone else in the room, his eyes had been flicking from the images on the flat screen in front of him, which had been showing images pertinent to what Kontarian was saying, and to the speaker himself. Once the man had finished speaking, the Holy Emperor sat up straighter in his chair. “Megas Logothetes Kontarian, that will be a sensible path to take,” said Kommodos. “Have that actioned as soon as possible. The quicker we get to the bottom of that, the better.” “Thank you, your majesty,” Kontarian gave a nod of acknowledgement. Merely calling the Holy Emperor 'your majesty' might have struck some as too informal for the Agios Basileos kai Autokrator Arhomanion, but Kommodos allowed his more trusted advisers more leeway. “Is there anything else that needs to be discussed at this meeting of the Vestiarion?” asked the Holy Emperor. “Imperial Sovereign, two nations in Argis have suffered from Communist revolutions,” Goulielmos spoke. The images on the touch screens split, showing a map of Argis with the nations of @Ahrana and @Astriedan highlighted. “As yet, we don't know whether they are connected in any way. However, the reports from Astriedan are somewhat... confused.” Goulielmos shrugged, the gesture causing enough movement for his glasses to slide down his nose. He paused for a moment as he re-seated them. “It appears that it wasn't an actual Communist uprising, but something engineered by their monarch and his son. The former has been deposed and the latter is on the run.” There was a pause for a moment. It struck Kontarian as quite a strange circumstance. After all, why would a monarch try to use Communists for their own end? It wouldn't likely go well. And, seemingly, it hadn't. Barbaroi were a strange breed. “And in Ahrana?” asked Kommodos. “The Communists overthrew their old king and they seem to be making a fairly good go of it,” the Megas Logothetes for Foreign Affairs answered. “Nothing seems to have put any Tagmatine citizens in danger, although I'll admit that I don't know how many are there, if any at all. I'd recommend that we towards normalising relations with them, even if they are Communist.” “Is there any indication that the Ahranaian Communists had any outside help?” This question from Kommodos wasn't aimed at Goulielmos but they Kephale of the Tagmatine Intelligence Network. However, Kontarian was not the only person at the table who inferred what Kommodos was referring to. A decade before, a terrorist attack had caused widespread destruction in Easteia and the Communist Party of Tagmatium was to blame. Despite outlawing and then crushing the party, the leader had never been caught, even nearly ten years later. “No, your majesty,” rasped the spymaster, shaking his head. “We have investigated all as closely as we can, but no links have yet to come to light.” Kommodos gave a curt nod, apparently satisfied with the answer. “Then I see no reason for not recognising the new regime as the legitimate one.” The Greater Holy Empire was pragmatic, even if the atheistic ideology ran counter to everything that it stood for. “One more thing, your majesty,” interjected Goulielmos. “It appears that Adaptus has recently butted heads, along with a handful of other nations, with a nation called @Derthalen. The Federated Kingdom went so far as to put a blockade in place against them.” Kontarian looked down at the map now showing on the screen. It focused on this new nation and displayed the area it had occupied, as well as a smaller inset map showing Adaptus. A few boxes also mentioned the nations that had protested the expansion. It noted that Derthalen was both expansionist and isolationist – a bit of a strange combination and one that hardly boded well. “It is perhaps worth discussing the situation with Adaptus and the other nations involved, Megas Logothetes,” replied the Holy Emperor after a moment's consideration. “It is time that we contacted the Adapton government. I shall adjourn this meeting here and we will examine our response later.” The Holy Emperor stood and the rest of the room got to their feet at the same time. They bowed to their sovereign, who returned the gesture. “Good morning, Endoxotatoi.” One of the Holy Emperor's personal bodyguards stepped forward and moved the chair back for him. There were eight of them, four from the Maghlabitai, who were akin to the ancient Lictores of Arome and four from the Spatharokandidatoi. The former were dressed in red robes and golden armour and carried maces in the manner of the fasces, whilst the latter wore pure white robes and golden armour. Along with them was the Mystikos, Nikephoros Boionnanes, the Holy Emperor's private secretary. They formed up in a group around the Holy Emperor and swept out of the room. Bending forward to gather up his papers from the table in front of him, Kontarian resisted the urge to shake his head. Even after working closely with the man over over a decade, he wasn't sure whether the use of the title of' “Endoxotatoi” was ironic or sincere. It was a title due to the members of the Agios Basilikon Vestiarion and it meant “most glorious”. However, it was a senatorial title and Kommodos had not called that organisation together for years. Despite being democratically elected, the Tagmatine leader showed no love for democracy.
  10. The Leopard's Roar

    The Leopard Throne. One of the most important symbols of Tagmatium. It stood on a dais of porphyry that was covered with a cloth of gold, under a canopy of the same, at the end of the grand state throne room of the Imperial Palace Complex. The heart of the Greater Holy Empire. It was actually a dual throne – the left hand side was the vacant seat of Christ. The Holy Emperor, the Agios Basileos kai Autokrator Arhomanion, the Holy Emperor and Autocrat of Arome to give the more formal title, was the representative of God in Europa, sitting at His right hand. The throne itself was gold and studded in precious stones, a shining example of Tagmatine craftsmanship and nothing that mere barbaroi could hope to imitate. Its seats were covered in leopard skin upholstery and the sides were in the likeness of snarling big cats, ready to pounce. The teeth of the leopards on the sides were ancient elephant ivory, the red tongues made from coral, their spots picked out in pieces of carved jet and the eyes were crafted from amber. This imagery gave the throne its name. To enter the throne room, two vast gold-plated doors had to be opened. These magnificent works of art were perfectly balanced and swung outwards smoothly and silently. They were kept oiled and were polished regularly by one of the myriad of servants within the Imperial Palace Complex. It was considered a high honour to be selected to carry out the task. Once inside the room, a visitor would be greeted by one of the most striking sights within the entirety of Europa. The walls of the throne room were a shining white, representing the purity and holiness of Tagmatium. The floors were a gilded mosaic, breathtaking in its magnificence. Glass, gold and ceramic tiles displaying proud moments in history, fearsome hunting scenes and the glory that was embodied by the Tagmatine people. Behind the throne was a multicoloured stained glass window of vast size which bathed the room in jewelled light when the sun shone through it. Unlike other, more heterodox Christian nations, there were no recreations of heavenly scenes or the Saviour Himself – depictions of holy figures was considered to be idolatrous by Tagmatium's particular brand of Christianity, the Iconoclastic Orthodox Church. Great pillars held up the high roof. These were alternatively shining white marble or porphyry. Beyond them, the walls were as richly decorated as the mosaic floor and more large windows of stained or clear glass, alternating in the opposite way to the pillars, allowed light to flood into the state throne room. It was designed to overawe any visitor to the throne room, as if being in the presence of the Holy Emperor wasn't enough in itself. The throne itself, on its raised dais, sat under a semi-dome at the apse end of the room with the words “Christ, King of Kings” inscribed across the conch of the apse. It was no mistake that the throne was under the eastern end. The ruler of Tagmatium was appointed to this role by God Himself, manifesting His will in Europa. As a sign of the Holy Emperor's lofty position as the Thirteenth Apostle, those that approached the Leopard Throne's occupant were expected to acknowledge their lowly position. This act, called Proskynesis, signified the subservience of the one doing it and the recognition that the Holy Emperor was their rightful overlord. The act involved throwing themselves to the floor and kissing the Holy Emperor's feet with their arms outstretched. It had, however, become impolitic to expect foreigners to perform it these days. The overly proud Barbaroi found it very offensive, as they often did not recognise the primacy of the Tagmatine ruler over their petty overlords. And as there was one Kingdom in Heaven, there was one Empire in Europa. That Empire had stood for centuries as a bastion of civilisation in a world of barbarism, a beacon of faith and light shining out and inspiring the lands surrounding it. It was a centre of culture, ever changing and evolving, and yet maintaining a link to the glorious past of the Aroman Empire before it, even if that past had yet to find the enlightenment of Christianity. This cultural heritage meant that it was Tagmatium's duty to shepherd the rest of Europa towards that enlightenment and the civilisation that it brought with it. The throne was flanked by guards from each of the four guard regiments of the Tagmata, the Palace Guards unit that inadvertently gave the common name to the Greater Holy Empire. They were kept in a strict rotation to avoid one being favoured over the others. The Exkoubitoi, their name meaning “Sentinels”, currently stood on the right of the throne. Perhaps the most famous of the units from the guard corps, their red robes and black lacquered mix of lamellar and plate mail made them a distinctive sight throughout the capital of the Greater Holy Empire. They regularly accompanied members of the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion, the Imperial Government, abroad on diplomatic missions. To the left of the throne stood members of the Athanatoi, “Immortals”, in green robes and wearing a similar mix of lamellar and plate, although their armour was coloured blue. Unlike the Exkoubitoi, these soldiers were armed with short-shafted axes as well as swords. Behind the Athanatoi were the Teikhistai, the guardians of the walls of Tagmatika. They were armed with heavy iron maces, dressed in blue robes and steel armour buffed to a mirror shine. Despite such defences being more or less redundant in the modern era, they were still amongst the most impressive sights visitors to the capital would ever see and were famous throughout Europa. Finally, behind the Exkoubitoi were the Ikanatoi, the “the Able Ones”, wearing red armour, cream robes and carrying spears. The bodyguards were all brightly dressed, with horse hair plumes on their sallet helms the colour of their robes, clothes embroidered with golden thread and carrying shields decorated with symbols of Tagmatium. Their appearance might be deceptive - they were drawn from decorated combat veterans from the Tagmatine army. They would die to protect their charges and took their roles extremely seriously. As well as soldiers from the Tagmata, at all times dignitaries and attendants from the Court Aristocracy waited on the throne, even if it was vacant. They were dressed in jewelled robes of ancient, although not out of date in Tagmatine fashion, style. Whilst the positions within the Court Aristocracy were not hereditary, members of it were often granted great estates within Tagmatium. This meant that they would have the time to wait on the Holy Emperor without having to worry about money or the ability to afford the splendour in which they would have to dress. They may not have been as powerful as the Military or Bureaucratic Aristocracies in the reign of Kommodos III, but there was power in proximity to greater power. They were the cup bearers, the concierges and ushers, with their families having been in the service of the Greater Holy Empire for generations, even centuries. Being close to the Holy Emperor for many hours meant that they often had his or her ear and even become valued confidantes. They might be perceived as useless hangers-on by some but that often couldn't be much further than the truth. The Greater Holy Empire would last, and they would have their day again. With the guards around the throne and the attendants surrounding it, completing the groups within the throne room were a choir of monks, chanting praise to Christ. Dressed in black clerical robes that were a sharp contrast to the sumptuous dress of the courtiers and the elaborate uniforms of the bodyguards. Bishops and other prelates were often in the state throne room too, as the Holy Emperor had such an important role within the affairs of the Church. The smell of incense permeated the cavernous room. If the Holy Emperor was present, then the chanting would cease and a respectful silence would dominate the room. Only if the Vice-Gerent of God willed it would that be broken. Court ceremony was entirely designed to emphasise the dignity and prestige of the monarch and to imply the superhuman nature of the one that sat upon the Leopard Throne. Recent years had seen little in the way of activity from the Greater Holy Empire. At first, its attention had been focussed beyond Europa, then Tagmatium turned somewhat quiet. Unlike Adaptus, Tagmatium's closest neighbour and long time ally, the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion had not become destabilised. It would take more than a period of quietness and relative isolation to shake the ancient nation in such a way. Several programmes to improve Tagmatium's environmental impact had taken precedence over the military actions that had seen the nation's international prestige increase over the years. Sustainable power generation had been stepped up, from wind farms to hydro-electric power stations had been built across the country. There had been some rumblings within the nation's borders, primarily from pro-democracy campaigners, although these had been dealt with peacefully. They did not shatter the tranquillity and prosperity that had been earned after the hard shock of the Civil War in 2005 and the struggle of the nation finding its feet again in the years that followed. Now the attention of the Agios Basilikon Kounsistorion had been dragged from its own introspection and towards the west. Countries that the Greater Holy Empire had never had much contact with had started to rise and Europa was once again becoming a vibrant and active region. Tagmatium could not afford to slip into the background, even if it was self-evident that it was the centre of culture and civilisation. As yet, it remained to be seen how this most ancient and glorious nation would deal with those around it. The leopard's fangs were still sharp, its claws keen and its roar mighty. It would be heard across Europa once again.
  11. Hello I'm Flusseland,Land of rivers and Woods

    Hello! If you have any questions, please ask! And it looks like you've got lots ideas about your own nation already thought out. That's a good start.
  12. [HELP] Currency?

    I suppose if tea was the basis for this theoretical international currency, whether your people drank tea or not would be immaterial. It would still have worth due to its use as a currency. It'd be fundamentally better if no one drank it - they won't be tempted to take money out of circulation by having a brew up.
  13. [HELP] Currency?

    No, you're right. I just like the idea of blocks of tea as a currency.
  14. [HELP] Currency?

    The Chinese had blocks of tea as a currency at one point.
  15. Tagmatium Rules