I have been doing some initial contemplation over what a prospective expansion of the Republic may look like. Given that Aurelia is rather devoid of nations, it may be prudent to become the 'big' nation. None of this is set in stone but it would occur in two parts over the next year. The map below is for discussion purposes only.
Part 1: The area between the current red border and everything within the expanded yellow line would occur during the course of the next six months. It is within this area that involves 'Enolia,' a people the Republic attempted to conquer, only be to defeated horribly in what ultimately became a war of attrition. Tensions will rise with Enolia along the eastern borders and this only one element of the political game that will be occurring. As many of you have seen, there is a hidden war between ambitious senators over replacing Terix, the current Praetor. Whoever succeeds him may use the tensions with Enolia to bolster their political fortunes, and secure more support by promising the wealth of the land in exchange for funding the war which they, the Republic would win. As you can see, this land would also look to be heavily fertile, making the Republic perhaps one of the most extensive food exporters. This yellow-area expansion would also unlock new mineral resources to further accelerate industrialization and additional ore exports to more industrial-heavy states. I would be kinda be treating this expansion in the same way as the Roman Republic expanded into Spain or Asia. I am also contemplating a situation where the Praetor who led this war may inevitably be removed by a more 'consensus' individual in due time because they are discovered doing some less than 'honorable' things. This could also be an opportunity to provide the region with a Tiberius/Gaius Gracchus moment of very, very influential commoner magistrates demanding more from the far more powerful Senate.
Part 2: The area between the current red border on the north and all the land within the teal line (including an unseen section at the top of the forked rivers) this would happen at towards the end of next year. It is my current inclination for a different individual or perhaps even a yet-to-be-created Senate faction will convince enough members in the chamber to emancipate all the remaining Zelvorians [who make up the largest contingent of remaining slaves], and give them an opportunity to resettle, abet far from the center of the Republic, to the more less agricultural nice and far more mountainous north. They would be given some level of political autonomy as a client state, though they would still be dominated by the Rihannsu. Again, this would allow the Republic to triple, if not quadruple mining potential, giving the state a massive cash cow.
Some of you are probably asking why I am not looking instead to the west of the Republic? There are two reasons: firstly, based on what I've read of Kipan's factbook, I have the inclination to believe that his former Imperial colonies are probably over there and I foresee him as a long-term trading partner and would prefer to have a friendly relationship rather than a potential rival. Secondly, Asgeirria and the Republic have a mutual understanding concerning the Aurelian continent that seems to have an interest in the western coastline.
This is just the beginning of the conversation and I welcome everyone to help me develop/refine/suggest - or even participate to some extent. I firmly believe that this two-part expansion (which would be dubbed the 'Second Expansionst Age') will have profound impacts on Aurelia and the wider global community.
By Proclamation of the Rihan Senate
The Senate, at the behest of the Rihannsu people, do hereby affirm their intentions of developing meaningful relations with nations of the wider world. With the Senate's declaration, the Praetor, Mathon Terix, will comply and immediately begin to make all preparations related to this. He has appointed Senator Tevus Pranara to be responsible for representing the Senate and the People, alongside his ongoing Senatorial duties. The Rihannsu, united as one, is ready to talk, to trade, and to learn.
thei'mnei iemhiedh irrhmhiohs
"May Our Discussion Succeed"
Rihannsu politics is a dangerous game. Formal coalitions existed in the chamber, but their membership was always in flux, a senator cooperating with Jaridan one day may be helping the far-right Jol Tan the next. Every move, every vote was carefully taken, not so much for the masses they represented, but for their own personal self-interest and desire for further influence and power amongst their colleagues. There were 300 of these individuals, of both genders, seated in the round Hall of State, at the very heart of the capital. Presiding the Senate was none other than the Praetor, the effective head of state of the Republic. They had near-dictatorial power, such authority was the dream of every senator. Most would never get it as many Praetors were highly popular both with the military and the lower classes and taking action upon them could potentially lead them to political suicide.
Praetors, on the other hand, may have had considerable leverage over the senators, they were not sacrosanct. Two Praetors had been assassinated within a three-year period because of their intended policies had tilted more so in favor of the commoners than the aristocratic Senate was willing to accept. The recently appointed Terix knew his position was tenuous at best. He was secure in the knowledge that he had the support of the military and a slim majority of the chamber to get some of his policies adopted, but it would be folly of him to assume that he absolutely safe. Prior to his appointment, the now-Praetor, he was an Admiral in the Navy. He suspected his appointment to the highest position was merely one of keeping the factions in the Senate in a temporary truce while they evaluated their next moves following the dual assassinations of Praetors Vrax and Gaius.
The Praetor's Palace complex was across the Forum of Caliax from the Hall of State. One of his servants had put on his formal toga of state. He looked out the window and saw that it was another sunny day over the capital, Dartha. Two Praetorian Guards entered the chamber he was dressed in and escorted him to several others waiting for him for the walk across to the Senate meeting. As he descended one of the marble staircases, his advisor and confidant Miral Avelik, stood ready to meet him.
"Daise (foremost), I have been informed that a small majority of senators exists to pass the law on implementing the establishment of a food program for low-income citizens in the capital," he reported as the two exited into the central courtyard of the complex, Praetorians surrounding them.
"Avelik, which senators were the holdouts who finally joined?" he asked while they approached the gates.
"Senators Hexce Amarok, Vaebn Lareth, and Gathan Darok."
The group had now emerged from the Palace and into the buzz of activity that was the forum. It was another day of normalcy in the capital. The walk between the two buildings would take no more than four minutes.
"Darok you say?" he questioned, "he's certainly been very generous lately," he mentioned to his aide.
"Do you want me to get someone to keep an eye on him?"
"Not yet." He said quietly as they approached the steps of the Senate. "Inform the senators that they have my gratitude that they would support this common-sense proposal."
"Yes Daise," he acknowledged and allowed the Praetor and his guards to ascend the steps and through the main door into the round building. Miral would proceed to complete the task given to him. He would enter the building from a side entrance and try and look for them. A bell rang, signaling the start of the Senate session, keeping the aide from doing his job until the conclusion of the session.
Senators began streaming into the chamber, taking their seats. The Praetor took his seat upon the Eagle Chair, eyeing the room.
On the right-hand side, he could see Senator Gathan Darok, the second-richest man in all of Rihan taking his place. Darok's family was not initially aristocratic. Rather, they bought their way to influence. The family possessed many thousands of melakols (acres) of farmland on the Aihai outside Dartha, growing vitally important wheat. His grandfather had invested the wealth generated from it to purchase two profitable iron mines in the D'Kalla Mountains. Between the farms and the mines, he possessed tens of hundreds of slaves. Garthan's father, Kaol, had converted their wealth into power. When Aerv Nanclus passed away, his seat opened up. Kaol would spend hundreds of thousands of Chaks in bribes to several senators with clout over the Continuing Committee to get himself appointed. Just after he was formally confirmed by the committee, he passed away. In recognition for his dedication to the state, the seat was allowed to pass onto his son, Gathan. He was not content with his family's holdings when he became the head of the family and immediately went about gaining another hundred thousand melakols of farmland and more slaves to cultivate the fields. Using the new land, he would curry favor with the military to make him a preferred provider of foodstuffs to the army, giving him a tidy profit. As his fortunes grew, he decided to exchange it for influence. He alongside two others close to him would pool their money into bankrolling much of the Festival of the Republic, including a 15,000-person banquet and five days of entertainment in the Orventis Arena. His decision to back the Praetor's plan to provide food for free to many low-income people in the capital was just another step. The latter ran up against the more 'free' market elements of the Senate, abet 'caring' for the people, the Nej'ahar.
Terix then turned his gaze to the upper left benches where he could make out the beautiful Liviana Charvanek. She was gorgeous, attracting the attention of many male senators and nobles outside the chamber, attempting to get her attention. The Charvaneks were a noble family, tracing their lineage all the way back to the Arrival. They were the rulers of the city-state of Calanista, the heart of Rihan's wine country. At the conclusion of the Clan Wars, they decided to accept the dissolution of their 'absolute' power over Calanista, and submitted to unification into the rapidly forming Republic in exchange for being given a Senate seat, a seat they've had within the family since their signing of the D'Vatta. Although not as wealthy as Darok, her family did retain control of a substantial vineyard and attached villa on the outskirts of Calanista, as well as a smaller urban villa in Dartha. Over the generations, the Charvaneks would be patrons of the arts and education, sponsoring the construction and eternal endowment of the Beryk Institute, the greatest school in the Republic. Other members of the family over time had been dedicated officers in the military, and every second son in the family had maintained a full career in the service. Liviana did her required duty but serving long was not in her interest. Liviana had lived a pampered life, and due to her family's fortune, she never needed to work. She was given the family Senate seat when her mother Isha decided to step down to enjoy the final years of her life in the countryside and her father decided to not take it as he had just completed his fourth tour in the military, wishing to join her in retirement. Since joining the Senate, she would use her beauty and charisma to get what she wanted. In regards to the proposal on the docket at the day's session, she was fully onboard with it. The Charvaneks had been firm members of the militant Jaridan, the largest coalition, urging for greater expansion of the military for defense and always seeking opportunities to grow the territory of the Republic further. Liviana would bolster her feminine advantages by invoking her family's respected military history when needed.
The Praetor once again turned his attention to the middle of the chamber. Sensing that most of the members were in the room, he motioned his Praetorian to bang the bottom of his Litesh polearm against the floor several times, calling for order. "This session will now come to order," Terix said. He readjusted himself in his seat before continuing. "The matter before the Senate today is for the allocation of monies sufficient for the implementation of a free food program for low-income citizens here in our glorious capital.." For over an hour, senators would generally speak in favor of the motion, including Darok and Charvanek. The Praetor listened to every word they had uttered. The speeches would eventually cease and a division would be called for. It would pass 154-146. Upon hearing the result, Darok was the first to stand and clap, not to be outdone, Charvanek, joined in as did the rest of the individuals supporting the motion. Both gave glances at each other and then at the Praetor as they clapped. They both wanted the Praetorship, by whatever means.
A lunch recess had been called, lasting an hour, before they would return for an afternoon session on matters related to foreign affairs. The Praetor prepared to leave the chamber with his Praetorians, both senators would approach him just as he had reached the door and commended him. He thanked them and continued on his way. Gathan and Liviana looked at each other once more, coldly, before leaving the Senate chamber.
Rihannsu politics is a dangerous game.